Do Shock Collars Hurt Dogs?

Do shock collars hurt dogs? Unfortunately, they do, shock collars hurting dogs physically and psychologically. They are unpleasant, painful and frightening, and make them discomfort.

In some countries shock collars are banned as a negative impact on welfare of dogs. Any changing natural behaviour is already stress for the dogs, and shock collars just make that even worse and harder to dogs.

Do shock collars hurt dogs?


As a Vet, I can say that many dog owners ask this question before buying a shock collars, but I’m not sure that they get right answers and informations, or they just dont want to believe that truth about shock collars is, that they hurt dogs.

In this article, I’m going to give answers to frequently asked questions like a do shock collars hurt dogs, and explain how shock collars hurt dogs.

Do shock collars work?

Yes, shock collars work, the manufacturers make them work. In short time any owner or dog trainer can make his dog, or any other dog to stop doing something that they think is bad. It’s a fast way, but not a pleasant way. Some owners trying to change natural behaviour or try to punish his dog for doing things like barking, jumping, aggressive behaviour etc.

That is a little bit difficult, because it’s agains their will. Some of them don’t have so much time, and they want to change behaviour soon as possible. Good side is that shock collars has different levels of electrical stimulations, so the lowest levels, does not hurt dogs so much, but when dogs dont cooperate and owners goes to higher levels to quickly, and that is a one of a bad sides.

Most important thing is that owners need first to be sure that barking or other unwonted behaviour isn’t related with some health problems. If they barking because they are in pain or felling sick, when owner put a shock collar to prevent barking, can harm their dog in very bad way.

A lot of dogs do doggy things and they are healthy, but that changing they natural bihaviour need to be a lot gentle. Shock collars do hurt dogs, and make them fell uncomfortable and unpleasant. Provoke in them fear, pain and in some dogs can provoke also  aggression. Nobody wants to hurt they dog, or make them uncomfortable. That’s why shock collars isn’t the best solutions. There is always a better way that don’t hurt dogs, the way shock collars do.

Do shock collars cause cancer in dogs?


So far, it has not been proven that shock collars can cause cancer. They can cause same other health problems, but cancer isn’t one of them, and that is good side. Shock collars does not have many good sides, but that we can say is good one.

There have been a speculations about connection between shock collars and cancer, because there was a couple cases of dogs that being diagnosed with cancer, and they were wear shock collar, but there was no direct connection between cancer and shock collars. It’s not a clear study, it’s just a assumption, because cancer was on in the neck area. There can be other reasons why that dogs have a diagnosis of cancer, but shock collars are not one of them.

Shock collars are sold as safe for dogs health. We can confirm that, but only for this part, that they don’t cause cancer. There are other ways that shock collars harm dogs, but this luckily cancer isn’t one of them.


Can a shock collars kill a small dog?

No, shock collars can’t kill any dog, big one or small one. They are approved as safe for use. The electrical stimulations in shock collars are not strong enough that can cause death. That electrical stimulation is strong enough to hurt dogs on cruel way, but definitely can’t kill any dogs. There is a shock collars for small and for a big dogs.

Manufacturers are make a different size and strength because big dogs and small dogs can’t be equal in voltage.

Voltage and duration of electrical stimulation can cause pain, fear and stress, but not death. In one study they put shock collar on the puppies 12 weeks old, and they survive of course. Because of the difference in age and size, there is a different type of shock collars, and a different levels of that electrical stimulation.

Luckily they didn’t make shock collars that strong that they can cause a death, but unfortunately, they make them unpleasant that they can hurt dogs and make them fell anxiety, helpless and in pain.

Shock collars side effects


This is something that interests the owners the most. First, as any collars, shock collars are making a pressure on the neck and throat, especially if we put a collars tight up to neck. That pressure can cause damage of the trachea and larynx, and may cause difficulty in breathing, can cause asphyxia that is abnormal breathing. Also that pressure can make a damage on spinal cord in area of the neck. [1]

A dog may develop lesion on the neck if the collar is kept to tight, or if it is kept on the dog too long. That lesion are results mechanical abrasion of the electrodes rubbing the skin, especially in dogs with skin problems, and they can hurt themselves if they wearing shock collars in sleep, because some owners don’t want to be awakened by barking. Also shock collars can cause skin irritation, and can cause alopecia, and that’s a fur lost in areas that usually hear is normally present.

Construction of Shock Collars

Shock collars consists two metal prongs that rest against the dogs skin on the neck, and when that metal prongs send a electrical stimulation into the neck of a dog cause uncomfortable and unpleasant feeling. Dogs are in fear how to avoid that bad experience again, and they can’t understood right away that barking or jumping need to stop.  Dogs then put their head in a position where they think that will avoid that discomfort feeling. The tail is down, the ear is down, and they are frightened, or become aggressive more.

They does not fell safe. If the level of that electrical stimulation is high, shock collars can cause also a pain. They also have shown certain behaviors after electrical stimulations as lowering of ear position, lowering of tail position, lifting a front paw, tongue flicking, licking lips and vocalizations that is connected to the stress and fear. Higher vocalizations are usual cause of pain and wish to stop that unpleasant and uncomfortable feeling.

Stress produces high levels of cortisol, and his high level can increase a blood pressure, also can increase a blood sugar and suppress the immune system. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease. After bathing, if any water stay on the skin and fur of the dog, using shock collars can make a injury. Without residual water, shock collars should not cause burn because discharge does not contain enough energy. Some dogs become more aggressive because they want to make that uncomfortable feeling go away. [2]

Is there a better way?

Of course there is a better way. Using rewards is the best possible way that can make your dog stop doing things you don’t want.

Because shock collars hurt dogs, you can lose connection with your dog. He can become insecure in any actions that can come from you. Your dog can become anxious, can change totally behaviour and can develop some health problems. They can stop eating or drinking water. Stress can be trigger of a lot disease.

We should strive reduce the amount of stress our dogs dealing with. They need to feel that they are loved and secure in our companion. Shock collars does not do that, they hurt them and make feel uncomfortable. Dogs fell pain and fear just like humans. We know how it fell being in pain and fear and it’s not pleasant at all.

Because shock collars hurt dogs, they should not wear them at all. In some countries shock collars are banned, and they have a good reason for that. [3]

We love our dogs and they need to be happy and not unhappy. They are part of our family and we don’t want to hurt them in any way.