The Hidden Dangers of Dog Tie-Outs

by Kathryn Tuck

 Photo: Morgan Solomon

Photo: Morgan Solomon

Many dog owners without a fence or enough house space use dog tie-outs to provide more mobility and activity for their pets. Tie-outs are a thick metal wire that attaches to a dog’s collar or harness and then to a tree or stake, giving them the freedom of the outdoors without the ability to wander off.

There are many benefits to the product. Price-wise they start at $15, but different models go up to $35. The device allows for more outdoor time for dogs, which is particularly important for younger dogs and active breeds that need a place to exercise regularly. Tie-outs are significantly cheaper than a fence, but many consumers are unaware of the precautions necessary to protect their dogs.

When setting up a tie-out system, the owner needs to check to make sure the wire doesn’t go out too far or into the street. The tie-out also needs to be in an area without too many objects that could cause them to become tangled or tied to an object. Some dogs may even panic if they become stuck, which can exacerbate the situation.

Summertime poses an even bigger threat to the safety of dogs on a tie-out system. With many 90-degree and even 100-degree days, dogs may be accidentally and intentionally left out for hours with minimal shade on these blistering days. Dogs regulate their body temperature through panting and can become overheated very quickly. They can also become dehydrated, which causes vomiting and diarrhea. In more serious cases, dogs can pass out or die without access to shade and water.

That’s why it is very important to make sure the tie-out area has at least one place to go for sufficient shade and that there is a water bowl somewhere in the area, preferably in a cool place. It is safest to use a tie-out while at home with your pet. When used properly, tie-outs can be a great way to give dogs more freedom and fresh air. Increased activity and more time outside is extremely beneficial to a dog’s health and well-being, but pet owners should take into consideration the hazards that come along with using this product. 

Always make sure the area where the tie-out reaches is free of dangers and excessive objects. In warm weather, consider the shade and water necessary to keep your dog cool and hydrated. While these dangers exist, the steps to prevent them are simple—preparation and caution can allow for more exercise and fun for your puppy!