Dog Gone with Rob Lowe just jumped to No. 1 on Netflix — stream it or skip it?

Rob Lowe as John Marshall in Dog Gone on Netfix
(Image credit: Netflix)

A new movie has climbed to the summit of the Netflix most-watched list, and while it stars Rob Lowe, you’ll likely want to watch because his co-star is an adorable yellow Labrador.

The film is called Dog Gone and after only a few days on the streaming platform, it’s already rocketed straight to the No. 1 spot. It’s moved past both The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker and The Pale Blue Eye which were previously competing for the spot. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and Transformers Dark of the Moon round out the current top five movies on Netflix. 

There’s no denying that Dog Gone has the cuteness factor in spades, but is this doggy drama worth your valuable time? We’re here to determine whether you should skip or stream Dog Gone on Netflix. 

What is Dog Gone about? 

Inspired by a true story, Dog Gone focuses on the unbreakable bond between a pooch and its owner. The film opens with a socially awkward college kid named Fielding (Johnny Berchtold) adopting a yellow Labrador puppy from the local pound. Naming him Gonker, the duo quickly becomes inseparable.

Moving back home from college, Fielding’s father, John (Rob Lowe), worries that his son’s future is uncertain which creates tension at home. And Fielding’s life is further complicated when Gonker is diagnosed with Addison’s disease which requires a life-saving shot every month. 

Later while hiking out in the woods, Gonker runs off to chase a fox. And when he doesn’t return, Fielding becomes increasingly panicked. Soon a large-scale dog hunt begins in order to find Gonker before his next shot is due. But as the search continues Fielding’s own health starts to deteriorate as he struggles to cope with life without his best friend at his side. Will the pair be reunited before it's too late? 

Dog Gone reviews: What do critics say?  

Dog Gone hasn’t enjoyed the strongest reception from critics. The film is currently sitting at a mediocre 50% on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab). Although that score is only from a relatively small sample size of just 10 reviews. Plus, its audience score is significantly better at 74%, suggesting this is another Netflix movie that appeals more to viewers than critics. 

Amy Nicholson of The New York Times (opens in new tab) said, “even viewers with a tolerance for this kind of saccharine cinema [...] will likely say their favorite part is the end credits” and claimed the movie "offers as much nutrition as a rubber bone.” So it’s fair to say this particular critic was not a fan of Dog Gone. 

But Nell Minow of RogerEbert.com (opens in new tab) wasn’t quite as harsh, saying “As aww-inspiring as the human and dog moments in the movie are, it is the human encounters along the search that are the heart of the film.”

Meanwhile, Arizona Republic (opens in new tab)’s Bill Goodykoontz was critical of Gonker’s lack of screen time and labeled the movie “pretty regular stuff” comparing it to similar doggy flicks like Lassie. Brian Orndorf of Blu-ray.com (opens in new tab) said the movie is “successfully gentle” and praised for its message designed to “inspire warmth with acts of kindness and understanding.”  

Dog Gone outlook — should you skip or stream? 

If you’ve previously enjoyed four-legged-themed films such as A Dog’s Purpose, The Art of Racing in the Rain, A Dog’s Journey and Marley & Me, then you’ll probably find Dog Gone equally as engaging. Its emotional finale may well bring a tear to your eye. 

Even those without a furry friend of their own may still find themselves reaching for that play button. That's because Dog Gone is about more than just canines. The relationship between father and son is also a central theme. But, of course, to get the most from the film you’ll probably need to have an affinity for dogs. 

The underwhelming reviews may give you pause for thought, but it seems that Netflix viewers are quickly taking Gonker into their hearts. So, don’t be surprised if you find yourself enjoying this charming little movie as well. Overall, dog lovers everywhere will definitely want to stream this one as soon as possible.    

Rory Mellon
Deals Editor

Rory is a Deals Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on deals, gaming and streaming. When he’s not scouring retailers for PS5 restock or writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found attending music festivals and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.