Dog Shocked by Electric Fence Side effects (DISCUSSED)

If you’re considering an electric fence for your dog so it can roam free without escaping, it’s important to understand the risks if they touch an above-ground or invisible electric fence.

Electric shock side effects, although rare, can include physical symptoms such as limping or coughing and physiological symptoms such as aggression or anxiety.

Depending on your dog’s health and the strength of the shock, your dog might be at risk after they have been shocked by an electric fence.

Continue reading to learn about dog shocked by electric fence side effects and how you can keep your pup safe.


Before opting for an electric fence, we suggest going through obedience training and taking the time to understand the process.

Training your dog can prevent any unnecessary stress caused by an electric fence collar, and focuses on positive reinforcement to set boundaries. 

Your dog will know what to expect from you and its surroundings without fear when it’s properly trained.

While electric fence collars aren’t meant to harm your pet, certain dogs could experience emotional distress if they’re not trained to recognize their new boundaries.

Brain training techniques are a science-backed way to improve your dog’s behavior without the use of force or fear!

Dog Electric Shock Symptoms

 Electric Shock
Dog electric shock symptoms, while rare, should not be ignored.

Electric shock symptoms in your dog can show up in both physical and psychological ways.

They may show up as soon as 30 minutes or as late as 3 days after they have touched an electric fence.

Because of this timeframe, it’s important to always keep an eye on your dog.

Physical symptoms can include:

  • Limping
  • Coughing
  • Drooling
  • Collapse
  • Unconsciousness
  • Pain or Distress

Meanwhile, the psychological symptoms of a dog that has been traumatized by an electric fence can vary.

Sometimes a dog will become aggressive contrary to its original personality, or they may also become scared of sounds they had not been bothered by before.

When first introducing an electric fence to your dog, it’s important to keep an eye on them as they’re getting used to being around it.

If your dog does experience negative psychological symptoms, you might need to do rehabilitation to remove the fear.

Will an Electric Fence Harm My Dog?

Harm My Dog
Used properly, an electric fence will not harm your dog.

Electric fences of any kind do have the capability of harming your dog if they aren’t used correctly.

Although, most are designed specifically to give your dog a quick shock that has no long or short-term effects.  

If your dog gets tangled up in an above-ground electric fence or cannot find its way out of an invisible fence’s field, it’s possible for them to experience some kind of side effects.

So how does a wireless fence work exactly?

Electric fences are designed to give only a quick shock so whatever has touched it is motivated to quickly move away from it.

Electric fences are also meant to keep many different types of animals inside a specific area including:

Because the shock is quick, it prevents any long-lasting harm to whatever came in contact with it.

The overall goal of an electric fence is to correct negative behavior, not harm your animal.

Types of Electric Dog Fences

Dog Fences
There are a variety of electric dog fences on the market. The one you choose will ultimately depend on your situation.

There are two types of invisible electric fencing that have been designed specifically for dogs.

Both of these types of fences use the same methods for delivering an electrical shock to your dog, although the setup is slightly different.


Wired invisible dog fences rely on a wire that is either above ground or buried into the ground to set up the signal.

This type of fence is perfect for yards that are not square or those that need to set up double loops around things like pools or gardens.  

The wire is attached to an electric dog fence transmitter, which is connected to a receiver on your dog’s collar.

Once the receiver passes into the signal field it will send a small shock to your dog’s neck.


Wireless invisible dog fences are similar to wired invisible fences, but they do not require a wire.

They set up a circular signal area making them better for small, more square-sized yards.

They also have a transmitter that is connected to a dog collar receiver that sends a signal once the dog is close to the edge of the signal field.

Above-Ground Electric Fences

Similar to a cattle or horse electric fence, an above-ground electric dog fence works in the same way.  

There are one or more wires that are set up above the ground in an equally spaced pattern.

This fence is then attached to the fence charger which is what electrifies the fence and provides the shock when something comes in contact with it.

You can also use an above-ground fence in combination with an existing fence for added protection.

Can you put an electric fence charger outside? Here are the best (and worst) places to put your fence charger!

Below is an example of how an above-ground electric dog fence can be combined with a chain link fence:

Other Ways Your Dog Can Get Shocked

Besides electric fences, there are several ways that your dog might get shocked, which can result in the same kinds of symptoms as an electric fence shock.  

Other ways your dog might get shocked include:

  • Shock collars
  • Electric Outlets
  • Chewing on cords or wires

How to Properly Setup Your Electric Dog Fence

Electric Dog Fence
How to Properly Setup Your Electric Dog Fence

A good rule of thumb is to get a dog fence that has around 700 to 1,000 volts

This will be enough to give your dog a reasonable shock to deter them from escaping, but not enough to cause physical harm.

Electric fences are relatively easy to set up and they all come with basically the same components which include:

  • Wire (for above and in-ground fencing)
  • Transmitter
  • Collar Receiver (for in-ground and wireless fencing)

Above-ground electric fencing will have one or more wires that can be placed either directly on the ground, or above it connected to something like a fence.

The fence charger is the main component of the electric fence and is what delivers the shock.

In-ground fencing will come with a wire that needs to be buried into the ground for a certain number of inches.

This wire is connected to the transmitter, which is responsible for creating the fence’s signal.  

For in-ground fence systems, your dog wears a receiver collar, which, when it enters the wire’s signal field, will deliver the shock.

Wireless electric fences are even easier and simply have a transmitter and a receiver collar.

The overall result is the same: when your dog enters the signal field, it will receive a small shock to deter them from leaving.

If you are worried about the strength of the shock your dog might be facing, consider making some tweaks to your invisible fence frequency.  

You can also adjust the charger to make the shock less strong for your dog if they run into it, but still strong enough to correct their behavior.

FAQs About Electric Shock Side Effects

What Will Happen to My Dog if They Get Shocked by an Electric Fence?

Oftentimes the first thing that happens is that your dog will let out a terrible sound because they have been scared by the shock.

Most times, your dog will recover fairly quickly and avoid that area again. There should not be any additional side effects other than the quick scare.

However, in rare cases, there can be some additional side effects that indicate your dog has received an injury from the shock which include:

  • Limping
  • Anxiety
  • Drooling
  • Unconsciousness

If you notice other behaviors such as your dog seeming to be in pain or not acting themselves after receiving a shock, you should take them to the vet for a check-up.

Will an Electric Horse Fence or Electric Cattle Fence Hurt My Dog?

Just like fencing designed for dogs, cattle and horse electric fencing has high voltage, but low amperage.

This means that your dog will receive the same type of shock from these fences and it should not hurt them any more than an electric dog fence.

Can an Electric Fence Shock Hurt a Dog?

An electric fence is not designed to hurt a dog.

They are only designed to deliver a correction shock to motivate a dog to stay within a certain area.  

However, it’s possible for a dog to become hurt by a shock from an electric fence. In this case, you should seek a vet’s help.

How Many Volts Can Kill a Dog?

Electric fences give shocks in the form of pulses, which prevent dogs from being shocked continuously.

This means that the number of volts that could potentially be fatal to a dog is extremely high

Oftentimes your dog will only receive one shock before they are motivated to move back from a fence.

Most traditional electric fences have a volt level of between 3,000 and 8,000.

Both a 100-volt fence and an 8,000-volt fence could kill a dog, or even you, but voltage is not what contributes to fatal shocks.  

Amperage or amps are the most important measurement for you to focus on.

Electric fences maintain a low amperage of around 120 milliamps. Amps are what contribute to the power behind a shock, not so much the volts of an electric fence. 

Using our example before, a 100-volt shock and an 8,000-volt shock will both feel the same as long as the amps are the same.

Read our related article, Can an Electric Fence Kill a Small Dog? We explore more dangers of electric dog fences and traditional electric fences for dogs, small dogs, and puppies.

What Should You Do After a Dog Gets an Electric Shock?

If your dog has been shocked by a fence it’s important to keep an eye on them for a while.

This is especially important if you did not set up the fence, and you do not know the voltage or amperage of the fence.

Look for any behavior out of the ordinary from your dog.

Are they panting or stumbling around? They may need medical treatment.

If you can, get details about the fence before you visit the vet as this information can help them when treating your dog.

How Long Does Shock Last in a Dog?

Shock can last in your dog from 30 minutes up to 3 days depending on your dog’s health and the amount of shock.  

A dog that is in shock should be looked after by a vet until the shock is cleared.

Your dog’s organs and tissue may be affected by the shock and might need professional attention.

Our Final Thoughts

Electric fences that are properly set up will not harm your dog.

However, whenever your dog is near an electric fence it is good practice to keep an eye on them so you can prevent any trauma or side effects.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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