Do Electric Fences Hurt Animals? (7 Tips For Dealing)

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 02/12/23 •  6 min read

Electric fences have been used for decades and it’s indeed an easy method to keep animals within boundaries. However, a debate is going on over whether it hurts animals or not. So, do electric fences hurt animals?

Yes, it does! When the fences are electrified, that hurts animals. However, low-voltage electricity doesn’t harm animals. 

Whatever it is, go through this comprehensive guide to know more about electric fences and how you should deal with them. 

Do electric fences hurt animals?

The goal of electric fences is to contain animals in a fixed area and prevent other wild animals from entering the confined space. As the name suggests, these fences use electric shocks to create psychological barriers for the animals. 

When animals touch the fence they receive an electric shock and this unforgettable shock prevents them from further trying to cross the fence. 

As mentioned before, these shocks do hurt animals. But the level of pain animals will go through depends on the intensity of the shock. One should always keep the shock intensity very low because the goal is to train the animals not to harm them. 

High-voltage fences can kill animals and humans as well. According to a study conducted in 2008, more than 21,000 reptiles die each year due to electric fences.

Not only reptiles, but many wild animals such as tortoises, coyotes, and birds are also dying each year due to uncontrolled voltage in the electrical fences.

Do electric fences hurt animals

Related: Protect your electric fence charger! Learn how to waterproof and make it rainproof with this comprehensive guide.

Do electric fences hurt dogs?

Electric fences hurt all animals a bit, and dogs are no exception. Like any other animal, when dogs approach the fence, they’ll get a mild electric shock which is supposed to prevent them from challenging the fence again. 

Generally, the mild shock that electric fences deliver is considered safe, unless the intensity is very high. High-voltage shocks can harm the dog, which is why it’s crucial to keep the voltage low. 

Electrical fences can also harm dogs or other animals if they get themselves entangled with the wires. And when this happens, they’ll keep getting constant electric shocks which can hurt badly. 

So, if you want to keep your dog safe from all these, then a wireless electric fence with a shock collar might be a good option. In case you don’t know, let me give a brief about it. 

A wireless electric fence is like a normal fence but it’s invisible. Traditional fences require wire, tape, etc. But wireless electric fences don’t require anything. It defines a boundary with radio signals. 

They come with a transmitter which is supposed to be installed in the ground. And when activated, it creates an invisible barrier using radio signals. The wireless electric fence comes with a shock collar as well, that’s to be put on the dog’s neck. 

The transmitter and shock collar are connected. And when the dog is near the invisible fence made by radio signals, the collar starts beeping (Audio). When the dog crosses the boundary, a small electric impulse occurs on the dog’s neck. 

However, the owner will have to train the dog at the beginning by walking the dog around the boundary. 

That being said, if there are wild animals that can hurt your dog, then wireless fencing won’t work as it doesn’t prevent anything from entering the boundary. (Read details about is electric fences legal?)

Do electric fences hurt dogs?

Can a dog run through a fence?

Yes, dogs can run through fences! However, not all dogs are likely to do that. 

There are some dogs that are aggressive and get excited very easily. If something catches their attention, whether it’s food or anything else, they may run through the fence ignoring the electrical shock, says VCA (Veterinary Centers of America). 

What’s worse is, once they get out, and get what they want, they’re less likely to get inside the boundary. Therefore, make sure the fence is tall enough so that they can’t jump over it. 

Shorten the gaps between the wires, so that they can’t get through them. Some frustrated dogs might even try to dig under the fence as well, in that case, you’ll use a buried barrier.

Related: Having trouble with a weak electric fence? Follow these 5 steps to make it stronger and keep animals out!

Is an electric fence safe for chickens?

Yes, electric fences are safe for chickens unless the fences are highly electrified. Even though chickens, and ducks, have fur and feathers that works as an insulator, it’d be wise to keep the voltage low to prevent accidents. 

Additional tips for dealing with electric fences.

Whether you’ve already installed electric fences or are thinking about installing them, the following tips might come in handy. 

  1. Disconnect the electricity controller from the power source and fence if you expect a storm. 
  2. Use a lightning diverter to divert the lightning strikes. Otherwise, that can cause a fire.
  3. Installing the cutoff switch will allow you to disconnect the fence quickly from the controller without going near the fence. 
  4. Add a couple of warning signs to the fence, and clearly state that the fence is electrified. 
  5. Install powerful lights that will illuminate the fence at the night
  6. When touching the fence, always keep one hand inside the pocket. Touching the fence with both hands will make current travel through your body. 
  7. Make sure to keep flammable items far from the electrified fences. 

Related: Having your electric fence click? Don’t worry! Learn the 5 simple steps to troubleshoot and stop the clicking of your electric fence.


Wrapping up this guide on doing electric fences hurt animals with a few last words. Check the voltage on a regular basis, and it’s best to keep the voltage low. And always keep an eye on the fences, as animals can get entangled with the wires. 

Zunnun Ahmed

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