Barking Mad



Help for UK pet problems; watch out for wounds.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Animals need love, but they also need training and discipline for their well-being.

Violence & scariness

Animals strike at owners. Blood, wounds, and broken bones are shown. Owners also can show fear.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

The show is filmed in England, so some words are different -- for example, "lid" instead of "trunk."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this series focuses on helping pet owners who are struggling with their animals' major behavioral challenges. Some of the pets actually cause fear and/or physical harm to their owners, which may frighten young viewers. But the hosts help solve problems by bringing in teams of behaviorists to work directly with the owners -- each piece ends on a happy note. Pets include cats, dogs, birds, reptiles, horses, and more. Filmed in England, the series also boasts wonderful footage of urban and rural communities.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Filmed in the UK by the BBC, BARKING MAD gives a taste of the challenges faced by everyday pet owners. Hosts Philippa Forrester and veterinarian Mark Evans introduce viewers to different pet owners across Britain, their animals, and the problems they're facing. For example, there's Ralph the iguana, who's grown grouchy in his too-small quarters; Oliver, a Persian cat with an aversion for grooming; George, a Labrador who can't help but jump up to branches and hang on until they break; and a bored penguin at the Edinburgh Zoo.

Is it any good?


Barking Mad is a pretty benign show for young kids -- just watch out for footage of bloody bites and scratches (though what's shown here is nothing in comparison to the real-life surgeries on Emergency Vets). All in all, the hosts' interactions with the owners show great humor and warmth, but they sometimes can't resist casting some snide jokes to viewers about the owners' situations.

For kids who are already wary of animals and/or get upset when observing pet-related injuries, Barking Mad isn't a great choice. But kids who already have animals may get helpful tips on ways to care for their pets (and prevent some of the problem behaviors on display). And for everyone else, if you can stomach the injuries, the information about the animals -- combined with the dry wit of the hosts and owners -- makes the show well worth watching.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the challenges of pet ownership and the specific responsibilities it entails: feeding, grooming, healthcare, exercise, playtime, training, etc. How can you tell if you're a good pet owner? What signs should you watch out for to indicate that your pet is having problems? Kids interested in specific animals that appear in the show can visit their local library to learn more. Also, if their kids are aspiring to work with animals, parents can discuss the careers depicted in the program -- veterinarian, technician, and behaviorist.

TV details

Cast:Mark Evans, Phillippa Forrester
Network:Animal Planet
TV rating:TV-G

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byidealpaints April 9, 2008


Barking Mad is one of the best programs on TV these days. I enjoy watching it and even though I am a professional dog and horse trainer, I still pick up good tips and hints from it. I only wish there where some way to find out where Kelly gets her halters she uses for training her ponies. They must be an "english" thing, I have not seen them here in the States.
Adult Written byadoerfler April 9, 2008

Funny as well as educational

I love the show; I love Mark and Philippa. I love the English jargon (one dog was discribed as having a "dodgey tum"). Really good information about training. The love for animals and the desire to give them (and the humans) happier lives is very evident. Jolly good time.
Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2008

Wholesome entertainment!

This show is very fun and sort of educational. They show great methods of training, and the british lingo really makes me laugh! There are also a lot of exotic animals. In one episode someone actually had a family of MEERKATS!!!!!!Why must they be illegal here? WHY???!! They also train animals that you certainly wouldn't expect to need training like hamsters, ferrets, donkeys, and even iguanas(NOT TO MENTION MEERKATS!!!). This show is great! I reccomend it to all!


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