Can an Electric Fence Kill a Dog? (How to Keep Them Safe)

can an electric fence kill a dog

An electric fence in your area can be concerning if you have a dog that likes to run free. It likely has you wondering if an electric fence can kill a dog.

It is unlikely that an electric fence can kill a dog since the shock is not long enough to cause any significant effects. However, it is always possible that the electric fence can harm your dog so use your own discretion when deciding if your dog is hurt or not. 

There is a lot to consider when you are dealing with an electric fence and your dog. We will discuss whether or not an electric fence is harmful to your dog and what you can do to keep them safe. 

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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!

Electric fences can create a nerve-racking concern for you if you have a dog that likes to run free. A simple solution is to create a large playpen for your dog that will allow them to be outside and stay safe at the same time.

Here are some of our favorite playpens:

1. Rectangular Dog Fence – Perfect for multiple, high-energy dogs

2. Circle Dog Fence – Ideal for smaller dogs

Can an Electric Fence Harm a Dog?

An electric fence will deliver a quick shock to your dog that will definitely scare your dog but won’t necessarily harm them in the short or long term unless the dog accidentally gets tangled in the fence and is shocked for a long time. 

Electric fences are designed in a way that delivers a quick shock that pushes whatever touches it off the fence. Since the shock is so quick, it doesn’t cause any lasting harm. 

However, sometimes dogs can get tangled in an electric fence if their leash or collar gets stuck on the fence. This will cause the fence to continue to release shocks to the dog which could have fatal effects. 

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Will My Dog Die if He Touches an Electric Fence?

It is unlikely that your dog will die if he touches an electric fence since the rapid shock is enough to scare the dog but not enough to harm the dog. He may identify the shock as pain but he won’t have any lasting effects.

Electric fences are designed to correct negative behavior, not to harm anything.

But, if you are concerned about your dog around an electric fence, ensure that the fence is set up in a way that still maintains the purpose of the fence while also protecting your dog. 

You may have to adjust your charger to make it less strong in case your dog runs into it but still strong enough to keep whatever it is your trying to maintain. 

Do Electric Fences Work for Big Dogs?

An electric fence will work for big dogs as long as the dog is not stubborn and the reward on the other side of the fence is not big enough for your dog to challenge the fence. 

You should ensure that the fence is high enough to prevent your dog from jumping over it. You should also make sure that there isn’t anything around the fence that the dog can use to jump over the fence, such as a tree stump or boxes. 

You might also enjoy our post on Can I Have an Electric Fence Around My Property?

Can an Electric Fence Hurt a Small Dog?

An electric fence will not cause any harm to a small dog but instead just get their attention when the electric shock is delivered. Your small dog will definitely cry out but they are likely not in pain and just scared.

However, if your small dog ran into an electric fence for very large animals such as horses or cows, then it’s possible it received a fairly large shock. If you are concerned about your dog, take them to a vet as soon as you can. 

How Many Volts Will Kill a Dog?

Electric fences release electric shocks in pulses that prevent the dog from being shocked continuously. In this case, the number of volts can be very high before it kills a dog. 

Most electric fences have a voltage level of 3,000 – 8,000 but maintain a low amperage of around 120 milliamps. The amps are what create the power behind the shock, more so than the volts. 

This shock is also released in short pulses, so your dog will likely only feel one shock before it backs off the fence. The amount of electricity your dog will receive is not enough to kill it. 

However, if you sense your dog is in physical pain from the shock, then bring them to a veterinarian to be examined. It’s possible that your dog could have also suffered a burn. 

Electric Fence Voltage for Dogs

An electric fence for dogs should have a voltage of around 700 – 1,000 volts. This is enough to deliver a small, uncomfortable shock to the dog without causing any physical harm, simply just scaring the dog. 

Your fence should also have 3-4 wires and start six inches from the ground. Your fence charger will be the main component of your fence you have to focus on to protect your dog from getting harmed.

The wrong charger will emit a shock that is too strong for your dog and could cause harm. 

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Is an Electric Fence Safe for Dogs?

Electric fences are safe for dogs as long as you take preventative measures to avoid any serious injuries. This includes keeping your dog off a leash at all times while left unattended near the fence.

If you have your dog on a leash for any reason while he is contained within the electric fence, the dog could break free with the leash still on and challenge the fence.

The leash could get tangled in the fence which could be very detrimental for your dog. 

Will an Electric Horse Fence Hurt My Dog?

Electric fences for horses have a high voltage but a low amperage, yet, your dog will still feel a strong shock. However, your dog will likely not have any lasting effects of physical pain.

But don’t be surprised if your dog lets out a terrible sound. They will be very scared when they get shocked. Thankfully, the shock should not have any physical effects other than a quick scare.

However, if you feel like your dog is in pain, then take them to a vet to get a check-up.

Can a Dog Survive Being Electrocuted?

A dog can survive being electrocuted depending on the type of electrocution. Electric fences deliver a pulsing shock that is typically not harmful. But, electric shocks that are continuous can be harmful.

Indeed, it is the continuous shocks you need to worry about since these shocks deliver a non-stop shock that is hard to break free from.

Thankfully, electric fences deliver a pulsing shock that allows anything that is touching it to let go or run free. 

What Happens When a Dog Touches an Electric Fence?

When a dog touches an electric fence, they will receive a quick shock that will likely scare them and cause them to run away. They should not experience any lasting effects of pain.

Electric fences are designed to only scare away any animal and encourage them to avoid the fence in the future. They are not designed to hurt anything.

Although the shock is so scary it can be traumatizing, physically, there should not be any harm. 

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What Happens if My Dog Gets Shocked?

If your dog gets shocked by an electric fence, it’s generally not a cause for concern since they would have only received a quick shock and not a lasting one. However, if you sense your dog is in pain then take them to a vet.

Generally, electric fences should not cause any lasting pain or injuries to a dog. With that being said, you are the expert on your dog and if you sense they are in pain then take them to a vet.

It’s possible that they could have gotten burned by the fence or suffered head trauma. 

What Do I Do if My Dog Got Shocked by an Electric Fence?

If your dog gets shocked by an electric fence, it is best to keep an eye on them and observe their behavior for anything out of the ordinary. Electric fences are not designed to hurt anything but sometimes this can’t always be controlled.

Signs your dog is in pain:

  • unusual panting 
  • moaning or whining
  • loss of coordination
  • drowsiness 

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, take your dog to the vet as soon as you can.

Additionally, having an idea of what kind of electric fence your dog got into contact with will help the vet know what they are dealing with and might be able to treat your dog faster.

What to Do if a Dog Touches an Electric Fence?

If a dog touches an electric fence, generally speaking, they should be fine. However, keep an eye on your dog for any unusual behavior that may indicate they are in physical pain. 

Your dog will certainly be afraid and act uncomfortable. They may retreat to their favorite safe place which is normal.

But, if you notice anything else, such as excessive panting, limping, or loss of coordination, then take your dog to a vet. 

How Do I Protect My Dog From an Electric Fence?

To protect your dog from an electric fence, you should keep your dog on a leash whenever you are walking near one. If your dog is allowed to run free, then it may be more difficult to protect your dog. 

If your dog is an outside dog and you are trying to protect it from a nearby electric fence, this may be very difficult and the dog might, unfortunately, have to learn on its own. 

However, you can create a fence of your own – not electric – for your dog so they are not able to escape and run into the fence. 

We recommend this playpen from Amazon that allows plenty of space for your dog to run free.

Can Dogs Sense an Electric Fence?

Dogs will certainly be able to hear the buzz coming off the electric fence which will make them curious and perhaps cautious. However, it is unlikely they know the fence will scare them until they learn the hard way.

But, once they learn the hard way, the fear memory will be very engraved in the brain and they will likely not go near the fence again because they have associated it with something scary that should be avoided. 

How Do I Know if My Dog Has Been Electrocuted?

You will know that your dog has been electrocuted if they start showing abnormal behavior. If you notice anything off about your dog, take them to the vet as soon as you can.

Keep an eye out for these signs that indicate your dog may have been electrocuted:

  • a superficial burn
  • coughing
  • difficulty eating
  • increased drooling
  • limping
  • loss of coordination.

These symptoms typically arise anytime from the time of shock to three days later. However, keep in mind, that an electric fence does not produce the same type of electrocution as other types of electrocution.

For example, if your dog chews on a wire and gets electrocuted, this type of electrocution will be constant and the dog will have a hard time letting go of the wire resulting in a more severe shock.

Electric shocks from an electric fence emit a pulsing shock that is very quick and then stops before it starts again, giving the dog an opportunity to break free from the shock. 

Electric Shock Symptoms for Dogs

Electric shock symptoms can present in your dog as physical and psychological. They may start to show up 30 minutes after the incident to three days later. If you suspect your dog has suffered from an electric shock, take them to the vet immediately.

If you suspect your dog has suffered an electric shock, monitor your dog for the following symptoms:

  • signs of pain or distress
  • limping
  • coughing
  • excessive drooling
  • collapse
  • unconsciousness.

These signs can be immediate or delayed so keep an eye on your dog for at least three days for any unusual behavior. You are the expert on your dog, so trust your gut if you think something is wrong and don’t delay in taking them to the vet.

Side Effects of Electric Dog Fences?

Electric dog fences are designed to only scare a dog and not cause any physical harm. However, your dog may experience psychological effects caused by the scare of the shock.

Your dog may appear frantic or shut down. It is normal for a dog to retreat to their safe place when they feel threatened, this can be under a bed, in a closet, or in a dark room. 

If your dog has pre-existing heart conditions, it may be more vulnerable to an electric shock. You should have your dog checked out by a vet to ensure everything is still functioning as it should. 

Side Effects of Dog Being Shocked by Electric Fence

An electric fence shock will generally not cause any lasting side effects to your dog. If you notice your dog exhibiting any weird side effects, you should take them to the vet immediately.

If your dog has been shocked by an electric fence, keep an eye out for these side effects:

  • Loss of Coordination
  • Unusual Panting
  • Increased Drooling
  • Limping
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Collapsing

While it’s unlikely that your dog will experience side effects from an electric fence shock, it still may be possible. For your own peace of mind, it’s always a good idea to take them to the vet just in case.

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Dog Traumatized by Electric Fence

If your dog is showing signs of unusual aggression according to its personality, then it’s possible your dog may have been traumatized by an electric fence incident. They may also exhibit signs of being startled from sounds that didn’t use to bother them. 

All dogs react differently to electric fences and it’s important to look out for the signs of trauma to help your dog recover.

You may have to take your dog to rehabilitation classes to undo the negative associations so their well-being can go back to normal. 

Do Dogs Recover From Shock?

If your dog has suffered physical effects from an electric fence incident and has gone into shock, with the right treatment they can recover within 30 minutes to three days. It depends on how severe the shock is. 

If you suspect your dog is going into shock or is in shock, then take them to the vet immediately or call an emergency vet to visit your house. Your pet will need extensive treatment that you are not able to provide yourself. 

How Long Does Shock Last in a Dog?

Shock may last anywhere from 30 minutes to three days depending on the health of your dog and the cause and extent of the shock. Your dog should be under professional medical attention while they are in shock.

Shock affects many organs and tissues of your dog and requires extensive and professional medical attention. The vet will keep your dog in the clinic for as long as needed to recover your dog and maintain proper health. 

Related Questions

Why Are Electric Fences Bad for Dogs?

Electric fences may do more harm than good for your dog. They can cause lasting trauma, physical injuries, severe anxiety, and increased aggression. 

Since your dog is constantly in fear of this fence, it may become aggressive towards other dogs or people. They also may display increased anxiety to stimuli that didn’t affect them before.

Overall, your dog’s well-being may be at risk if you use an electric fence for them. 

Will an Electric Fence Keep a Dog In?

Whether or not an electric fence will keep a dog in depends on the dog’s personality and the reward on the other side of the fence. If the reward is enticing enough, then the dog may overcome the fence.

Dogs who are strong-willed and highly energetic may not be affected by an electric fence. Of course, they will feel the same shock but it won’t phase them as much, especially if there’s a squirrel on the other side. 

However, if you properly train your dog on an electric fence, then it is more likely the fence will be effective. 

Can an Electric Fence Harm Animals?

Generally speaking, an electric fence should not harm an animal but it all depends on how strong the fence is and the health condition of the animal. If the animal is compromised, then it may have lasting effects.

However, electric fences are not designed to hurt animals, only to produce a quick shock that is made to scare them so they don’t approach the fence again. Yet, that doesn’t mean that some animals won’t be harmed.

Can an Electric Fence Kill a Cat?

It is unlikely that an electric fence will kill a cat. The shock is a quick low-amperage pulse that will push the cat off the electric fence immediately. The cat may appear in psychological distress, but shouldn’t be physically harmed.

However, if you suspect your cat is in pain, then take them to a vet as soon as you can. It is possible that the cat got injured either by the fence or after while it was in distress. 

Final Thoughts

Although it is unlikely that an electric fence will kill a dog, it is still important to keep your dog safe from one. The fence may traumatize your dog and affect its well-being in the long run.

If you are concerned that your dog got shocked by an electric fence and is in pain, take them to a vet as soon as you can to avoid any serious consequences. 

Whether or not you use an electric fence for your dog is your decision. If you think you can use an electric fence for your dog while keeping them safe and healthy, then consider it. 

But, if you experience your dog’s well-being declining, then reconsider using the electric fence and try a different strategy. 

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