Why Electric Pet Fences are Harmful (and Safe Alternative Solutions)

Why Electric Pet Fences are Harmful (and Safe Alternative Solutions)

Can you imagine inflicting long-lasting, traumatizing pain on your beloved four-legged family member? This is exactly what an electric pet fence does. Using electric fences to contain pets gained instant popularity when it was first introduced and is still a common containment practice. Once the invisible fence is installed, an accompanying collar delivers an electric shock into the neck of the dog or cat when they attempt to cross the boundary. The harsh shock is meant to keep the pet inside the defined area. However, the truth is that electric fences harm pets physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Physical fences are much safer than electric fences and offer many additional benefits. This is your guide to why electric fences are inhumane and safer alternatives.

Why are Electric Fences Inhumane?

According to a study published by the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, the use of electrical shock on pets has a negative impact on dog health, behavior, and welfare, including electric pet fencing. It also concluded that using an electric pet fence can worsen current behavioral problems and even cause new ones to arise. Let's take a closer look at why electric fences are inhumane and the problems they cause.


Electric fences can cause aggression. Electrical shocks hurt, and over time the pet may feel the need to become aggressive to defend itself against the threat. It is a natural reaction whenever a dog or cat feels threatened and in harm's way.

Loss of trust

Home should be the place pets feel safe and comfortable. The infliction of physical pain makes pets feel unsafe, which causes paranoia and loss of trust with owners. An electric dog fence or cat fence can quickly cause a pet to lose trust in everything and everyone.


Pets do not necessarily understand what they did wrong, so electrical shocks can traumatize them. The punishment feels random to them, so anxiety and fear develop. Experience of getting electrocuted can be associated with just about anything, including a certain person, which is not good for the person or the pet.

Physical Burns

The prongs on e-collars can cause painful physical burns on pets. Untreated burns can lead to very serious skin infections and other dermatological conditions. In worst-case scenarios, necrosis wounds can even form from the prongs putting too much pressure on the neck.

Containment Not Guaranteed

Electric pet fences are not 100% effective. Extremely motivated pets will still cross the boundary. The pet will not feel the shock until they are outside the perimeter. Now they are locked out of the yard because in order to return, they have to cross the boundary, which will shock them again for good behavior. Once a pet crosses the border once, they are apt to do it again, which ultimately makes the electric fence ineffective.

Leaves Your Pet Vulnerable

Electric fencing may be designed to keep your pet in, but they are not at all effective in keeping wildlife, other pets, and intruders out of your yard. Pets are vulnerable to intruders with malicious intentions, including theft. They are also exposed to wildlife, including rabid and aggressive foxes, skunks, raccoons, coyotes, and more.

How Electric Fences Cost More Than a Physical Fence

Many people are attracted to electric pet fences because it is perceived as being cheaper than a physical fence. That's not the case. In fact, due to the maintenance costs of electric fences, they cost more than physical fences in the long run, and here's why.

  • Electric fences require electricity to work, which increases your power bill.
  • The wires of an electric fence are vulnerable to damage or shorting out. If this happens, you will need to purchase a new fence or repair the current one.
  • Solar panels must be kept free of debris and properly rotated toward the sun as the seasons change during the year.

When comparing prices, there is more to consider than the cost of materials and installation. Long-term, electric fences are more expensive than physical fences. There aren't any hidden costs with a physical fence. The total cost of physical fencing is the price of the materials and installation.

Benefits of a Physical Fence Vs. an Electric Fence

Compared to an electric fence, the benefits of a physical fence will ensure your pet is safe and happy while giving you peace of mind. Let's take a look at the most common benefits.

  • Less stressful - Physical fences provide a visual barrier so that your pets can see where their limits are. This reduces fear and anxiety.
  • Keeps your pet safe - Your pet is unable to escape from an appropriately sized fence and wander into your neighbor's yard or, worse, the street.
  • Keep intruders out - Not only does a physical fence keep your pet in, but it is also an effective barrier for intruding wildlife and unwanted people.
  • Harm free - Physical fences do not use electrocution to keep your pet inside, so you do not have to worry about physical or psychological trauma.

Choose a Safe, Affordable Physical Fence

Easy Pet Fence offers a full line of fencing solutions for cats and dogs. Save money while having peace of mind that your pet will be happy and safe in their outdoor space. Browse our full line of affordable DIY fencing solutions for your beloved pet, or contact us for more information.