There’s nothing worse than an important electrical wire chewed to pieces by your family mutt.
Actually, there is.
What’s that, you ask?
An electrified, potentially seriously-injured dog- that’s what.
Neither of the above two scenarios are anywhere near ideal, and should both be avoided as much as possible.
So, welcome to our Concise Guide On ‘How To Protect Outside Wires From Dogs’!
There are various different actions you can take to minimize dog-on-wire aggression in your home and yard. However, it’s very important firstly to find out why your dog is attacking the wires in the first place in order to come up with a tailored solution.
Is it a puppy that’s going through its teething stage? Is your dog only chewing the cords when you are away from home for long periods? Or is your best friend just downright bored?
Once you have found the cause, you can go about implementing an effective plan of action. This can include altering behavior and habits, providing suitable chew toys, spraying deterrents, and even using aluminum foil (?!).
You’ve probably already lost a few wires to your pup’s sharp teeth. However, you don’t want to risk losing your pooch too. If at any point has bitten into a live electrical wire, take it to the vet immediately for a thorough examination. Doing so might just save its life.
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If your dog suddenly started chewing electrical cords inside and outside the house, you more than likely would become worried for one simple reason: Chewing a wire can be dangerous for your fur baby!
Before trying to bring an end to this bothersome habit in your pet, it’s always good to see if you can first establish and address the root cause for even better results.
If you have ever put an electrical cord in your mouth- no judgment– you already know that those things are not the exact definition of palatable.
In that light, there have to be a couple of reasons as to why your dog may feel inclined to put whatever they can find into their mouths.
The following are the main reasons why a dog might want to make the electrical cords in your house their new favorite chew toys
The teething process in puppies of three to six months old is one that causes significant discomfort to the mouth and gums. As such, puppies can and will chew on anything they find in your home in order to relieve the pain.
To the inquisitive puppy, electrical cords are an excellent option simply because they fit nicely in the mouth, and the majority of wires are always within reach.
Dogs can also chew on electrical cords when they are actively exploring a new environment. Remember- dogs don’t have hands, so their mouths fulfill this function!
This is especially true for puppies and dogs that have been recently adopted. For dogs, getting themselves acquainted with a new environment is just like you trying to understand something better by touching it to feel it, or by eating to taste it.
It’s not only puppies who chew instinctively for self-care during teething.
Older dogs chew too, but to them, chewing is a way of keeping their teeth healthy and their jaws strong.
Let’s face it- your dog is probably just bored! When dogs are bored, they chew on anything and everything mostly for entertainment and as a form of distraction.
When dogs chew for fun they chew in a playful kind of way and leave bits and pieces lying around everywhere- especially when a chew toy is involved.
If your pup chews on objects to the point of destruction when left alone, they might be displaying some sort of separation anxiety.
To improve on this issue, try to leave your fur baby alone for shorter periods at first. Provide them with a comfortable space, such as a crate, and place their favorite treats and toys inside to accompany them while you are away.
Doing so will make them associate your absence with a happy place where they can get access to their most prized possessions. Besides, having too much room to roam around can be too much for a puppy or dog to handle.
Providing them with a smaller and cozier place with their most preferred toys and blankets can make them feel safe when you are gone.
Putting your dog on a calorie-restricted diet can also be the reason for their insatiable urge to chew on electrical wires. Your dog might simply be trying to alleviate their hunger whenever they start hunting around your home for wires and other objects to chew on.
Have you ever felt strongly frustrated when trying to stick to your summer diet, or when you have not had enough to eat? The word that comes to mind when trying to describe this feeling is “hangry”, and the same feeling can apply to dogs.
This does not mean that you should not ever put your dog on a diet, especially if it is necessary for its overall health. Just keep in mind that if your dog is recently chewing a lot on random objects- electrical cords included- it could in fact be their hunger talking.
The measures that can be put in place to stop your dog from chewing electrical power cords will vary depending on the primary cause. In the majority of cases, however, the main ways to prevent dogs from chewing wires are:
Chewing in dogs is akin to scratching in cats. It’s a natural habit that can be hard for them to stop completely.
As such, your best bet would be to offer your dog something more acceptable to chew on. This can be a tennis ball, squeaky toy, or wood-like chew that he can stick in his mouth instead.
Provided with one of these, your pup will most likely spend the majority of its time attempting to extract the hidden treats and be much less interested in the assortment of wires that are protruding around your home!
If Sparky (pun intended) insists on inspecting and tearing up every wire that he doesn’t like, the reason may be that he lacks sufficient exercise or human interaction. Read: He’s bored!
Take some time out of your busy schedule to take your dog outside for a run around. This way, it will be able to spend much of its pent-up energy while also strengthening its bond with you. Win-win!
Applying sprays of the vinegar or bitter apple variety on cables can effectively deter your pup from chewing on them.
It is however advisable that you test it out and observe the reaction of your dog first since some dogs may find them tasty rather than off-putting. Something as simple as coating hot sauce onto cables can prevent your pooch from ripping them open.
Whenever your dog slyly edges towards electrical wires with a clear intention to feast on them, call out its name and play with or otherwise distract it.
This, however, may not work for long, and definitely isn’t a viable option for times when you aren’t around. This is where something like the “Leave it” command as detailed next will come in handy.
As a dog owner, you should appreciate and learn to use the “Leave t” command because it is powerful, versatile, and helpful in a variety of situations.
By using this command whenever your dog shows interest in chewing electrical wires in your home, you will make them learn that you don’t appreciate the habit. Soon enough, they will stop the habit as a result of conditioning- even when you aren’t around!
To teach your dog the “leave it” command, place a treat on the floor. Choose a treat your dog likes, but not his favorite treat. Once your dog understands to leave the treat on the floor, reward him with his favorite treat. Do not let your dog have the treat on the floor.
The simplest solution to your problem is simply hiding the cords or keeping them out of paw’s reach for your dog.
Electrical cord covers, fake grass, and even tape can be used to conceal, protect and elevate the cords. It is a good option to hide the cords in order to avoid inducing unnecessary curiosity in your pooch.
If all else fails, unplug the wires and wrap them in aluminum foil.
When your pup next decides to make the wires his chew toy, he will get a harmless shock! This will more than likely give him second thoughts about chewing on the cords after that.
Every dog loves playing outside. It’s just unfortunate that there are so many wires out there that can potentially be destroyed!
That does not mean that you will always have to keep an eye on them to prevent them from destroying the wires or harming themselves. There are a couple of interesting ways to protect outside wires from dogs, and some of these are actually quite easy!
Here is how to protect outside wires from dogs:
If you have a more permanent setup of cable management, you can use a PVC conduit system to hide the wires underground on their path to the required destination.
A PVC wiring channel installed on the wall will come in handy if you want to hide the cables that originate from your house.
There may be some cases when a spray deterrent does not work for your pooch.
In such a situation, you can use electrical cord covers such as a spiral cable wrap to keep your dog’s teeth away. Since the spiral cable wrap is made of hard plastic, it will prevent your dog from chewing or scratching the wires.
If you have a thick and well-networked system of outdoor plants, you can use these to hide electrical cords from your curious pet.
As long as the electrical wires are not exposed in a way that will attract the attention of your dogs, you can rest assured that your dog will not waste its energy looking for hidden wires just so that they can start ripping them.
If your dog likes chewing a lot, remember to give him his favorite chew toy whenever he heads out to play. That way, he won’t get bored and start chewing on all the types of things that you don’t want him to chew on.
If your dog chews an unplugged electrical cord, they will get away with it and nothing serious will happen.
The same, however, cannot be said for situations where your dog chews a plugged-in wire. In truth, such a situation should be treated as an emergency even if it does not look serious.
That’s because it’s possible that your dog may have suffered serious internal injuries that do not manifest themselves immediately.
Injury from a connected electrical cord can vary from mild to deadly, which is why it’s always a great idea if you can take your dog to a vet clinic for a checkup as soon as possible.
Signs that your pooch was shocked by a plugged-in cord can include (but are not limited to):
- Singed fur or burns around the mouth
- Rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Physical collapse
- Muscle tremors
- Excess salivation
- Not wanting to lie down
- Open-mouthed breathing and panting
- Abnormal breathing
If you see any of the above signs after your dog has bitten into a live electrical wire, you should always rush it to your vet as soon as you can.
If your pup chews a plugged-in electrical cord, it is highly likely that they will suffer an electrical shock. The level of the injury will vary depending on different factors such as the pathway taken by the current and the voltage size.
The majority of household cases of electrical shock in dogs are not usually immediately deadly but can definitely (and literally) be petrifying.
Depending on the severity of the accident, the lungs can fill with water as a result of the tiny capillaries in the lungs being ruptured. This can cause labored breathing combined with anxiety.
In the event of a severe accident, your pup may suffer a central nervous system injury which can cause seizures and affect other crucial bodily functions.
If your dog suffers a central nervous system injury that is not treated promptly, they can end up in a coma, suffer convulsions, and die. Should your pet survive such an ordeal, they most likely will come out of it with serious and permanent nerve damage.
The potential of such devastating consequences is why it is so imperative to keep your dog away from live electrical wires as best you can.
If your dog has chewed the electrical cord at multiple points, you might be better off buying a new wire rather than spending too much time and effort trying to fix a single cord.
On the other hand, an electrical cord that has only been chewed at one or two places should be quite easy to fix. In such a situation, all you have to do is to remove the chewed section and splice the two ends together.
In the case of a cord that has been chewed close to the plug, cut the cord and reattach the plug.
A cord that has been chewed by a pet is quite easy to fix, as long as you are not dealing with multiple damage points or an old cord that cracks easily due to its brittleness. Here is a quick video for a more detailed process of repairing a chewed cord!
Hopefully by getting to the end of this article you’ve learnt a few different ways on how to protect outside wires from dogs.
These methods can range from the practical, such as encasing the wires in a PVC conduit or cable cover, to the behavioral– teaching commands and applying deterrents.
It’s important to find the root of the behavior, as more often than not once you have done so you will easily be able to solve the problem. For example, if your dog simply feels anxious when you are gone, a chew toy and a safe space will ensure no wires are harmed that day.
Not only is it vital to protect wires from dogs, but also to protect dogs from live wires as well. Electrocution can be life-threatening and result in convulsions, coma, and even death in the most serious cases.
If you suspect that your dog has been electrocuted, take it to the vet ASAP for emergency treatment and monitoring!
Heather Abraham is a professional blogger who owns two dogs, a cat, a parrot, and a leopard gecko. She has a connection with animals since she was a child. She shares her love for all pet breeds and provides information on pet food, toys, medications, beds, and everything else.
She is committed to learning about the internal workings of animals. Her work permits her to work closely with knowledgeable vets and obtain practical expertise in animal care. When she is not working, her love of animals continues in her writing. Her goal is to educate and uplift readers who also have a passion for animals through her writing.