Although most loving pet parents offer their beloved fur babies the opportunity to live happy and carefree lives, there are still many individuals who leave their dogs outside, tied up and/or chained for hours at a time. They pay little to no attention to the negative effects which tethering has on their beloved pup’s.

Dogs that are left tied up (or tethered) outside for hours tend to become very lonely, anxious and bored and this ultimately results in anti-social and aggressive bahavior. Just as humans, dogs are social creatures and enjoy interacting with humans and other animals. However, tethering causes them to become “introverted” and to appear much more aggressive than what they really are.

Many Animal Welfare Concerns discourages tethering and this is not without reason, as tethering has been proven to be unsafe, not only for dogs, but also for people. If one should closely investigate serious dog attacks, it would come as no surprise that these attacks can be ascribed to tethering.

In order to fully understand the terms “tethering” and “chaining”, we will look into these terms in greater detail. So what do these terms really mean?

Chaining or tethering refers to the fastening and/or restraining of a dog, where the dog would be tied to a stationary object, leaving him or her unattended and unable to move around. “Chaining” refers to the use of thick chains, whereas “tethering” refers to the use of a rope or a light chain. These terms in no way refer to the use of a leash, as you would use to walk your beloved pooch.

One cannot help but raise the question, “why would anyone tether or chain a dog?”  Although most loving pet parents could not possibly consider this an option, many people resort to this practice for a variety of reasons. But, this is due to their unawareness of the harm that tethering can cause a dog. Some of the reasons that people do this, can be described as follows:

• To prevent a dog from escaping from their property, particularly when the dog has escaped many times before
• If the owner does not have a fence or the fence has been damaged
• If the owner wants to keep his dog in one specific area of his yard, in an attempt to protect his dog from other dogs or children (on the other side of the fence)
• If the owner’s landlord does not allow pets indoors or do not allow for the appropriate fencing to be installed
• If the owner is unable to keep the dog indoors, due to behavioural issues and the owner does not know what to do about this
• If the owner comes from a family where tethering is a common practice and he does not know any better

The Disadvantages of Tethering or Chaining a Dog
Because dogs are social creatures and need interaction with people and other animals, tying them up can cause not only physical harm, but also emotional and psychological harm. Because of the restraint and solitude, they can feel lonely and become unhappy and bored. They can also develop anxiety and become neurotic and aggressive.

No matter what the owner uses to tether a dog, the dog’s neck can become sore and even raw. Apart from skin irritation, collars, rope and/or chain can cut or grow into the skin, causing the dog severe pain. Other disadvantages include insect bites, ticks, fleas and parasites. Not to mention that a tethered dog is at risk of entanglement or strangulation. A tethered dog is also unable to defend himself against attack by other dogs or possibly people.

Because of the constant confinement, dogs that are tethered may also suffer from undernourishment, due to irregular feeding time and their water bowl may be turned over. They also have no protection against the elements and the longer a dog is chained, the less likely they are to interact with anyone. Thus, they become unapproachable and ultimately their owners show them little to no affection.

Tethering also poses a threat to people, as dogs are known to protect their territory. Thus, if anyone wanders into their territory, their fight-or flight instinct instantly kicks in. But, as they are unable to run anywhere, they will resort to attack. Unfortunately, a child with good intentions may fall victim to such an attack.

Many people view chaining and tethering as a very cruel practice, which should be banned altogether. The majority would agree that our furry friends should be allowed to live free and happy lives, with us as their loving caregivers. Fortunately, much has changed over the years and the social norm of pet-keeping has resorted in tethering becoming an unpopular practice.

However, should you be aware of any chaining or tethering in your area, the best thing you could possible do to help our furry friends, would be to report it to your nearest officials.

Love, The PetsWell Team

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