February is Unchain A Dog Month. This is a very important message, and one that we definitely want to help spread! Keeping a dog chained is becoming illegal in more and more places, which is one change we are happy to see. Fido belongs indoors, with the rest of the family! A vet offers some information on this below.
A Harmful Practice
Chaining dogs outdoors is nothing short of cruel. Not only is this very uncomfortable for Fido, it’s also dangerous. Chained dogs are extremely vulnerable to illness, parasites, and disease. Because they are exposed to weather and elements, they are also susceptible to frostbite and heatstroke. There are also the dangers of strangulation and/or attacks from wild or stray animals. Dogs that have been chained are also at higher risk of being stolen, though likely some of these ‘thieves’ are actually rescuers.
Chaining is also terrible for dogs emotionally. Our canine companions need exercise, stimulation, interaction, and, most of all, love to thrive. Understandably, being lonely, bored, unhappy, and uncomfortable can cause even the sweetest dogs to become aggressive, fearful, and/or dangerous. In fact, pups that have been chained up are three times more likely to bite than unchained pups.
It is worth mentioning that, when talking about chained dogs, we’re referring to pups that are kept chained for long periods of time. Tying Fido up for a short time isn’t automatically abusive in and of itself. For instance, someone with an unfenced yard may put up a cable run so their pets can have some outside time. You may also tie your pooch up when you’re camping, or just to keep him out of the way while you’re grilling, working on a project, or have a young child running around.
A New York law passed back in 2011 made it illegal to tie dogs up for more than three hours in a 12-hour period. That’s a good rule of thumb. Fido should spend the rest of his time with you, collecting ear scritches and belly rubs.
If you know of a chained dog, speak up! Your best bet is to contact local authorities or animal rescues. You should be able to make the report anonymously, which is a good idea if you’re concerned about retaliation. You can also help by supporting anti-tethering laws in our local community. Of course, a big part of the focus on Unchain A Dog Month is on raising awareness about the topic. Spread the word!
As your animal clinic, we’re here for you. Contact us anytime!