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Are Shock Collars Cruel? 9 Ways They Can Hurt Your Dog

Are Shock Collars Cruel

No fur parent wants their beloved dogs to get hurt. 

That’s why you’re here… 

Concerned about shock collars. 

Don’t worry, I know you want to prioritize Fido’s safety.

In that case, let me reveal the eye-opening truth behind this product.

Keep reading to learn: 

  • Whether it’s okay to use shock collars or not.
  • 9 alarming ways shock collars can hurt your dog.
  • What to do if your dog gets hurt by a shock collar.
  • And a lot more…

Are shock collars cruel?

Shock collars are cruel for dogs. Not only are these collars harmful, but they can also cause behavioral issues. First, your dog could turn aggressive or anxious. Meanwhile, some canines can develop severe stress. In the long run, dogs will suffer mentally and physically from using shock collars.

9 ways shock collar can hurt your dog

#1: Leads to severe stress 

Imagine there’s someone keeping an eye on you all the time.

And when you make some small mistakes… 

That person immediately pinches you hard.

Stressful, isn’t it? 

Well, that’s exactly what most dogs go through when they wear shock collars.

To explain further, here’s what scientists say about this topic: 

When shock collars are used with poor timing, they can keep your dog on edge. 

Meaning, Fido won’t be able to relax at all. 

And the thing is, this feeling in your pooch won’t go away so easily. 

“Does this mean it’s okay when the collar is used with perfect timing?” 

Places that promote the usage of shock collars would say “yes” to this. 

But many fur parents will disagree.

The fact is, there’s no perfect timing to use a shock collar. No matter the situation, the poor pup will only end up stressed. 

Besides, stress caused by shock collars tends to be long-lasting. 

Unfortunately, that also means Fido will keep suffering too. Just look at these symptoms listed by vets

Note: If you notice these signs, it’s best to visit your dog’s clinic for help. 

Though, how can you relieve your furry friend when they’re stressed out at home? 

Here are helpful tips to ease your dog’s mental state:

  • Take Fido to a quiet room.
  • Stop using shock collar training.
  • Spend time playing with your dog.
  • Call the vet for stress-relief medication.
  • Cheer them up with their favorite doggie treats.
  • Comfort your pooch by giving pets or scratches.

Keep in mind that these tricks are mostly for minor cases of stress in dogs. 

But if your furry pal is always stressed, you should take them to a vet ASAP.

Read next: 17 Clear Signs Of Dog Stress (Stressed Dog Body Language)

#2: Causes aggression 

I’ve met a dog that suddenly bites when they get spooked.  

And honestly, I get it. 

I magically know some karate moves too when I’m caught off guard. 

But in this case, the shock for dogs is no laughing matter. After all, isn’t it traumatic to be always electrified? 

That said, using shock collars on dogs could activate what we call the: 

Fight or flight response. 

And I’m sure you’re already familiar with this term. 

But what exactly happens to your pooch when they activate that mode? 

Well, according to experts at Harvard… 

A stressful situation pumps adrenaline into the bloodstream. As a result, Fido would experience the following: 

  • Faster heart rate.
  • Breathing problems.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Blood pushing through vital organs.

Now, all these things would keep your dog on high alert. 

And that’s also why they’ll be prone to biting. Or even lunging until they’ve calmed down.

But here’s the thing…

Some dogs would stay calm around their fur parents. Or whoever’s in charge of the shock collar. 

However, the affected pooch could be unstable with other people. 

This leaves Fido at risk of accidentally biting someone else. 

Including their fellow animals.

PETA refers to this as “displaced aggression.” 

And trust me, you wouldn’t want that at all. 

I mean, your fur baby could be taken away from you if that happens.

Before that occurs, you’d want to know if your pooch is showing any alarming hints. 

So, here are other signs of aggression in dogs:

These are warnings some dogs would show before they snap. As you can tell, it’s not always about biting

But how can you help your pooch in this situation? 

VCA Hospitals say that it depends on what caused the problem. And for this one, it’s the shock collar. 

So as a first step, don’t use that product on Fido again.

“But what if I’m using shock collars to fix my dog’s aggression?”

In that case, you can only expect 2 outcomes. Specifically:

  • Fido’s aggressive behavior could get worse.
  • Your dog behaves around you or only when they’re shocked. 

This shows that shock collars are just a temporary solution. 

If anything, studies state that the traditional training method is still superior. And I’m talking about positive reinforcement. 

This means your dog has a better chance of learning if you: 

  • Praise them. 
  • Give them treats.
  • Touch them affectionately.
  • Spend quality time with them.
  • Provide them with proper mental stimulation.

So instead of risking Fido’s welfare…

Why not just stick to the old training method? 

First, it’s free. And it only costs time, patience, and love for your pup.

In case you need some guidance for that, just watch this helpful video:

You might also be interested in: 25 Best Ways To Calm An Aggressive Dog

#3: Triggers anxiety 

Shock Collars Can Trigger Anxiety

We just talked about fight-or-flight response in section #2.

But this time, let me highlight the latter. 

Instead of aggression, Fido would start hiding from you. And it’s due to the fear they get from shock collars

At first, it won’t seem alarming at all. 

But you shouldn’t let your dog’s anxiety last for long. 

That’s because they could develop more issues, just like: 

As you can tell, anxiety isn’t a simple matter. Even for dogs.

So, how could you treat them in case they used to wear shock collars?

First, you should take your pooch to the vet. Only experts can prescribe anxiety-relief medicine for your pup.

Next, don’t use shock collar training anymore.

But of course, I still have extra tips to help Fido’s anxiety. 

Based on specialists, you can try the following tricks:

If none of these seem to calm your furry friend…

Then mental therapy from experts is a last option.

Reading tip: 19 Proven Ways To Calm Your Anxious Dog (How-To Guide)

#4: Causes other personality changes 

Aside from stress, biting, or hiding, what else could shock collars do to Fido?

Well, you’d notice changes in their usual attitude. For example, your dog doesn’t happily greet you at the door anymore.

Or Fido could also stop playing with their favorite toys. 

Now, does this sound familiar to you? 

Cause personally, I get it. As humans, we all have our down days too. 

And just like us, your furry friend can end up depressed as well. 

Especially if Fido has long-term, untreated stress from using shock collars. Though, other issues can also lead to depression in dogs. 

Here are a few examples from vets:

  • Injuries.
  • Boredom.
  • Constant abuse.
  • Sudden routine changes.
  • Long-term pain or illnesses.
  • Life changes such as moving away or meeting new family members.

Trivia: Dogs can sense your emotions too. So if you’ve been feeling down, science says your pup could absorb your feelings.

That aside, let’s talk about the cure for your pooch. 

To help a depressed dog, you should: 

  • Take them out for play dates.
  • Give them time to have fun alone with toys.
  • Stimulate their senses by trying brain games.
  • Use positive reinforcement to fix unwanted habits.
  • Encourage them to eat by giving their favorite snacks.

Reading suggestion: 17 Shock Collar Alternatives To Train & Bond With Your Dog 

#5: Shock collars can cause burns

Most places that want you to buy shock collars would say: 

“Our product doesn’t burn or hurt your dogs at all.” 

While that could be partly true…

There’s no denying that these collars can still be risky. Especially if you’re not trained on how to use them properly. 

In fact, a news channel reported a horrifying experience on this topic.

Apparently, a certain fur parent enrolled their dog in training lessons. But after quite some time, they spotted wounds and burn marks on Fido. 

Sadly, it’s the result of using a shock collar. 

Due to that outcome, the dog trainer lost their license. 

Now, if a “pro” can harm a dog with these electric neckbands…

What more could other untrained people do? 

On top of that, Fido’s wounds can get infected by bacteria too. All in all, the harmful risk of shock collars just isn’t worth it.

You might also want to know: 5 Vital Tips To Treat Shock Collar Wounds

#6: There’s also the risk of skin allergies 

Humans aren’t the only ones to have allergies. Dogs can get them too. 

And though it’s rare, some pups could be sensitive to metal. 

Vets refer to this as “contact allergy.” 

This means Fido’s body only reacts once they touch the material they’re allergic to. In this case, metals inside shock collars could affect your dog.

That’s why canines can get irritated while wearing one. As a result, you’d catch your pooch showing signs of: 

Warning: Take the collar off if your dog won’t stop scratching. Otherwise, they could end up wounding themselves. Lastly, if there’s intense swelling, contact a vet for safety.

Now, you probably still have a few concerns about this. Like…

“How to stop my dog’s allergies?” 

As I briefly mentioned above, taking the shock collar off will give Fido relief.

But aside from that, you can also treat your dog by: 

  • Consulting the vet for medicine.
  • Applying soothing cream on the irritated area.
  • Gently cleaning minor wounds from scratches.

Note: If Fido has deep cuts from scratching, it’s best to seek help from a specialist.

With this type of allergy, your pooch will be fine. But only if you keep them away from their shock collars.

#7: Shock collars affect your dog’s pregnancy (miscarriages)

Some dogs are good at hiding their pregnancy. 

But that can be a risky thing. Especially if they’re using a shock collar. 

As you’ve read so far, this product could cause so many issues, such as: 

  • Stress.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Burns or wounds.
  • Aggressive behavior.

Now, imagine a pregnant dog suffering from all that. 

In the worst-case scenario, Fido could have a miscarriage too. And that can be life-threatening for some canines. 

Or even if the puppies turn out safe…

They could still be born with existing health problems. Though, this matter is still being studied. But once again, why risk it?

Anyway, here’s a must-know detail.

Warning: Puppies should never use shock collars. Those products are designed for adult dogs. 

But at the end of the day, no canine should even wear these collars at all. No matter what age they are. 

#8: They’re unhealthy for your dog’s heart

Shock collars can create an adrenaline rush for Fido. 

Just like what I explained in section #2 about aggression.

I mentioned that adrenaline causes so many things for dogs. Such as increasing the heart rate, for one.

Well, that also means Fido’s at risk of having organ-related issues. Which is more dangerous for certain pups. Specifically: 

  • Puppies.
  • Older dogs.
  • Pregnant canines.
  • Dogs with existing heart problems.

Basically, shock collars can make things worse for Fido’s health. 

In some cases, they can strain the heart muscles too. And a cardiac arrest would come after that. 

Now, that’s already a life-threatening situation for any pooch. 

But this is what some people would argue about. They say that shock collars can’t kill canines. 

Well, the neckbands might not be the main cause of death. 

But the adrenaline from these collars can still make things worse. Which is enough for some dogs to be fatally ill.

That’s why many fur parents find this product dangerous.

#9: Worsen existing neurological conditions 

Many fur parents ask this question: 

“Can shock collars damage my dog’s brain?” 

The short answer is: no, they don’t. 

But just like with heart conditions…

The adrenaline from shock collars can make things worse. Especially if Fido already has mental disorders.

This means you should still avoid using these neckbands for any dog. 

Plus, there’s still little research about these products. The reason is most people would rather not use shock collars in the first place. 

That’s why there’s not enough data to determine what else they can do to your dog’s brain.

So, for Fido’s safety, keep them away from shock collars.