23 June 2022

Got a canine escape artist or mischief-maker on your hands? Then you might have thought about tethering as a way to restrain and contain your pet.

Tethering is where an animal is fastened by a chain or rope to a central anchor point.

It can be a safe and humane short-term option in some situations, like while on holiday with your pooch or in an unfenced space, but leaving a pet tied up in your backyard for long periods comes with serious risks.

Your dog could become distressed, tangled, injured, or unable to reach food, water and shelter.

We’ve seen heartbreaking outcomes from tethering in recent months. Like dog Buddy, who sadly passed away in a Perth backyard last summer after being chained to a clothesline on a 32C day. When the RSPCA inspector found Buddy, there was no adequate shade within reach and his water bowl was empty.

          Staffy-type dog on tangled chain tether.   Dog tethered on short chain to a clothesline in full sun.

While deaths are thankfully rare, Buddy’s case is a sad reminder of how quickly things can go wrong when dogs are left unattended. No animal should have to suffer like he did.

If you are tethering your dog for longer periods, you must check on them regularly, and more often in extreme weather.  

Choosing the right tether design and site is crucial to help prevent injury and entanglement. For detailed advice visit kb.rspca.org.au here.

Life is better untethered. If you can safely confine your pet to your property with the freedom to roam as they wish, they will thank you for it.

If you’ve got an escape artist, it’s very important to work out the underlying cause for this.  

Are they getting enough exercise, enrichment, and company? Do they suffer from separation distress? Are they desexed? Unsterilised dogs are more likely to wander.

If you’ve got a fence-jumper, try using PVC plastic piping, cut lengthways, to create a curved, slippery surface along the top of your fence.  If your dog is a digging Houdini, try burying chicken wire under the ground at the base of your fence.

GPS pet trackers are a great peace-of-mind accessory for the fretful dog owner. Plus, don’t forget to microchip your pet, register them with your council, and attach an ID tag with your details to their collar.

Fore more information on tethering, click here.