By Adam Lee-Smith
Published: 01/31/2022, edited: 11/28/2022
Save on pet insurance for your pet
You don't have to choose between your pet and your wallet when it comes to expensive vet visits. Prepare ahead of time for unexpected vet bills by finding the pawfect pet insurance.
There are over 76 million pet dogs in the US, and unfortunately, far too many of these fur-babies spend most of their time chained up outside.
The second week of February is Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week, and there's no better time to examine whether it's ethical to chain up your dog and what you can do as an alternative.
Is it okay to tie your dog outside?
No, you should never chain your dog up outside. Chaining up a dog for long periods can severely impact their mental and physical health. One of the main issues with leaving a dog tethered is the potential for them to become tangled or hung up on their chain, causing asphyxiation and even death.
Dog chains can also rub a dog's neck, causing irritation over time. Leaving your dog outside all year is also potentially dangerous, especially if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, like 100-degree heat or sub-zero temperatures.
Dogs are pack animals that need to socialize in order to live fearlessly and happily. Dogs that spend most of their time chained up are usually poorly socialized, leading to anxiety, depression, and fear-based aggression.
Dogs that feel threatened need to have the ability to retreat and reassess a situation as needed. Dogs on chains are unable to do so, meaning interactions with strange animals and people often end in aggressive behavior borne out of fear.
According to a 1994 study involving the Center for Disease Control (CDC), dogs on chains are 2.8 times more likely to bite than free-roaming dogs.
Alternatives to dog chains
While there's no problem with letting your dog spend extended periods in your yard, using a dog chain to keep them under control is ethically and morally questionable. You could seriously harm your dog, or your dog could lash out and hurt someone else. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives to dog chains.
You have a yard for a reason, so let Fido enjoy it! Install secure fencing around the perimeter of your yard so your dog can play without escaping.
If your dog is a jumper, consider installing Coyote Rollers on top of your fence. When an animal tries to get traction on the roller, it spins, preventing them from getting a footing.
If your dog's a digger, consider burying chicken wire along the edge of your fence so your dog can't dig through. Just ensure you tuck in any sharp edges so the wire doesn't hurt your dog!
Many pet parents find fencing unsightly, so landscaping might be a better way to keep your canine in your yard. Consider planting thick hedges around the perimeter of your garden, which will stop even the best canine escape artists.
Dogs won't be able to tunnel under these hedges due to the roots. They'll also struggle to jump over the hedge as long as it's wide and tall enough. Just be careful not to plant anything toxic to dogs.
A low-cost alternative to a dog chain is a playpen. You'll find dozens of sturdy and spacious dog playpens on the market that let your dog can play unrestrained both inside and outside.
However, there are a few downsides to a playpen. For example, your dog could easily escape, so they'll need to be supervised at all times. Another downside is that most playpens aren't as roomy as they could be. That said, a playpen is more humane and comfortable for a dog than a chain.
If you don't want to install a new feature around the perimeter of your yard, install a covered patio. A popular option for cats known as a "catio", a covered patio is an excellent alternative to dog chains.
If you already have an awning, a porch, or some coverage in your garden, install some wire meshing so your dog can go out without having free roam of your yard. Plus, a covered patio for your dog gives them some protection from the elements.
Searching for more information on humane alternatives to dog chains? Chat with a vet now to discuss the health risks of tying up your dog and what you can do instead.