Petplay, BDSM and Bondage: Tying it all Together

Petplay is a somewhat unique form of animal roleplay in which the participants are able to completely take on the role of an animal or handler/owner. Some people see it as an escape from reality. Others enjoy the idea of being humiliated or dehumanised. Others still, simply enjoy exploring the headspace of an animal. The reasons people take part in and enjoy petplay are as varied as the people themselves.

While some are able to petplay in a more innocent way, the vast majority of people who take part adopt some level of BDSM practise. In some cases, petplay and BDSM go hand in hand with each other. This is due to the aspects of control and care present when taking care of your “pet”. Through this caring aspect, petplay actually proves to be quite an opportunity for the “owners” to show the “pets” how much they care for and love them.

Sex or no sex?



An important thing to work out right at the very beginning is whether or not your pet/owner relationship is going to be sexual. It doesn’t entirely matter which you go for, but it can be a nasty surprise for one of the two partners to suddenly be thrown into a sexual situation. If you do choose the route of sexual encounters, then you may just take on your animal persona during the scene, returning to normal after being sexually satisfied.

BDSM elements of petplay

In both sexual and non-sexual petplay situations, there is almost always a strong BDSM influence. While petplay isn’t explicitly a part of the BDSM culture, so many aspects of the relationship dynamic overlap with BDSM. It is possible to have a petplay relationship completely free of BDSM influence, but very difficult.

The main reason for this difficulty is the owner/pet dynamic of petplay. With one person taking control of the situation, and being responsible for their pet’s safety and wellbeing, it quite comfortably fits into the domination and submission parts of BDSM. Perhaps a petplay scenario where both partners were playing as wild animals would be free of this dynamic, but this would usually not be advised as having the freedom to explore the new headspace is best done with someone to supervise.

How an owner goes about training their pet bears a stark resemblance to how a master trains his slave. The pet will be taught over time how it is expected to behave, and should they fail during their training then they will be punished. While punishments in traditional BDSM scenes will usually be somewhat pleasurable (whipping or slapping for example), in petplay the punishments will generally be ones traditionally used to discipline the animal in question (hitting a dog or cat on the nose for example). Pets won’t necessarily enjoy the punishments, and it’s important to have boundaries in place as long-term punishments such as being tied up can be damaging for a person’s health and sometimes even abusive.

Communication may also be restricted for the animal. Depending on the decisions of the pair before they start, the animal may only be allowed to communicate in woofs or whinnies. This will usually fall under a kind of sensory deprivation. If you choose to fully restrict your pet’s communication, it’s important to have a safe word in place.

Bondage elements of petplay

Bondage is most simply broken down in the BDSM sense to be a restriction of movement. The reasons for doing this can be wildly varied, but in petplay it tends to follow a bit of a theme. Owners like to restrict the movement abilities of their pets in a way that makes the experience of being an animal more authentic. Pets don’t necessarily dislike these practises, as while they can be unpleasant or even painful, they do help the pet to feel much more like their chosen animal.

Pet bondage can be accomplished a number of ways. The simplest is with traditional rope bondage. With the right knots and rigging, almost any bodily position can be achieved. It’s important to know exactly what you are doing though, as incorrect rope work can put the body into damaging positions. If you’re ever unsure, or would like to learn how to tie people up, be sure to seek out someone experienced and be properly shown rather than just reading about it.

There are a wide range of petplay accessories available which can also help your pet to feel a more authentic experience. These can be very different from piece to piece, and some are more appropriate to one type of pet than another. Some examples are:

  • Tail Butt Plugs: A butt plug with a tail attached will, quite obviously, make it look like your pet has a tail. Butt plugs still carry with them the feelings of ownership and belonging though, and these feelings are still appropriate to your pet just as much as they are with a slave or submissive.
  • Humblers: Humblers are probably the most interesting piece I’ve come across in all my work with sex toys. I’ve seen a lot of things, but these really are quite clever. Unfortunately, they are only really suitable for men. Restraints are attached to the ankles of the pet, with chains joining onto the main body of the humbler. The testicles are also attached, so when a person wearing this tries to stand up, the testicles are pulled away from the body, which is obviously quite painful. This forces the person to remain on all fours, just like an animal.
  • Bondage Mitts/Boots: These are gloves or shoes, which are designed to restrict a person’s dexterity. Both can be designed to look like the paws or hooves of the chosen animal. They restrict the way a person can use their hands or feet, making walking or picking things up more difficult or even impossible.
  • Gags: Fairly obviously, gags will be used to stop someone speaking while in their animal persona. Bondage gags often look like a bit worn by a horse, so these are a favourite in ponyplay.

Bringing it all together.

It’s very rare that an owner will only have their pet doing one or two of these things. In most cases, a range of equipment and practises will be used in combination. This doesn’t even remain entirely physical, but tends to encompass emotional and psychological aspects too. How many, or how deeply each aspect is used is entirely up to the people in the relationship. Additional petplay aspects can include:

  • Collars: While collars are already appropriate to pet animals, there may be a level of progression similar to general collar use in the BDSM community. As the pet becomes better trained, they could be rewarded with better, more elaborate collars.
  • Leashes/Reins: For dogs or horses, these will be very common to lead the pet.
  • Shock Collars: One of the more extreme training aids. A shock collar will be remotely controlled, and if the pet misbehaves, a shock will be delivered. These are dangerous though, so if used they should be used carefully.
  • Public Exhibitions/Performances: Some petplayers like to take their roleplay everywhere with them. This can be simply having to use the bathroom outside like a dog, or a fully-fledged dressage show as a pony.
  • Clothing: The pet’s dress may be chosen by the owner. Many dogs or cats are often left naked. Others might have somewhat limited clothing, often latex, or be forced to wear suits to simulate fur or hair.
  • Training: Almost all pets will go through some sort of training regime, similar to a slave. The extent of this training regime will be based on the expectations of the owner. An animal might be particularly rebellious or difficult to train, but this will usually be decided before the experience begins.

Start with a Contract

As you can see, the possibilities for a petplay relationship are virtually limitless. With so many options available, it’s important to be open and honest with any partners about what you expect from the relationship, and the kind of things you’d like to accomplish. Nobody likes having things sprung on them that they weren’t expecting, and don’t enjoy.

Many petplayers choose to do this through a written contract, signed by both parties. While these contracts won’t hold up in court, they are a good act of trust between people, and clearly lay out what is to happen in each situation. This can include provisions on belongings of the person becoming a pet, and how the owner plans to take care of them.

With a solid contract in place, and an understanding of all the aspects of petplay that they are going to be engaging in throughout the experience, both the pet and owner are able to completely let go and enjoy the experience. It’s really something quite special and unique, so if you’ve found this interesting or tempting in anyway, then you should probably give it a try for yourself!