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Electrocution in Dogs

What Is Electrocution in Dogs?

Electrocution in dogs poses a significant threat, particularly when they become curious about household appliances and lights. Chewing on electrical cords is the primary cause of electrical injuries among pets. Such incidents often lead to burns in the mouth area, as well as harm to vital organs like the heart and lungs, sometimes resulting in fatality.

Complications that may arise from these injuries include pulmonary edema, characterized by fluid accumulation in the lungs, and irregular heartbeats. There have also been documented cases of dogs developing cataracts, an eye condition, following such accidents.


The primary and evident indicator of an electrical injury in a dog manifests as burns in or around the mouth. Singed whiskers or hair surrounding the mouth can further suggest that the dog has experienced burns.

Additional severe symptoms are linked to the dog’s respiratory and cardiac functions. Muscle tremors, seizures, and sudden collapse are potential outcomes. Key signs of a significant electrical injury include:

  • Burns
  • Coughing
  • Unusually rapid breathing
  • Requirement to maintain an upright position for proper breathing
  • Crackling sounds in the lungs
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Bluish tint in the skin and mucous membranes
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Seizures
  • Sudden death

It is imperative that any dog suspected of being electrocuted receives prompt veterinary attention.


The prevalent reason behind electrocution incidents in dogs is typically attributed to the behavior of a young puppy chewing on a household electrical cord. Common sources of these incidents include Christmas lights, fans, TVs, and various other appliances.

Electrical injuries are predominantly observed in animals aged below 2 years. Whether it stems from teething, the natural inclination of puppies to chew on objects, or simple curiosity about cords, it is during these early years that the likelihood of injury is highest.


Upon arrival at the veterinary hospital, dogs in critical condition will be promptly taken to a treatment area. For instance, if a dog experiences severe breathing difficulties, they might be placed in an oxygen cage and closely monitored.

Once the pet’s condition stabilizes, the veterinarian will conduct a comprehensive physical examination and inquire about the events witnessed at home. While the symptoms mentioned earlier could point towards an electrical cord injury, alternative explanations exist as well.

The veterinarian will inspect the dog’s mouth for burns and auscultate their heart and lungs. Additionally, they may opt for chest x-rays and an electrocardiogram to further evaluate heart and lung functionality. Blood tests might also be conducted to assess potential damage in other parts of the body, such as the kidneys and liver.

Given that pulmonary edema could develop in the hours following electrocution, the veterinarian might suggest hospitalization for ongoing monitoring and any necessary additional diagnostic procedures and treatments.


If you witness your dog being electrocuted, it’s crucial to deactivate the electricity before attempting to move them. In cases where the dog isn’t breathing and lacks a heartbeat, clear their airway as best as possible and administer CPR. Immediate veterinary attention is necessary for all dogs suspected of electrocution.

Treatment for electrocution varies based on the dog’s condition and may involve:

  • Administering pain relief for burns
  • Providing antibiotics to prevent infection
  • Offering oxygen therapy
  • Conducting fluid therapy
  • Providing nutritional support
  • Prescribing medications to regulate heart rhythms, remove fluid from the lungs, and manage seizures

Your dog will require close monitoring until their condition stabilizes. They might experience discomfort while eating regular food due to mouth wounds, so transitioning to soft foods or liquefying dry food might be necessary until their wounds heal. Your veterinarian can assist in devising a suitable diet plan until your dog can resume eating regular food comfortably.

At home, it’s essential to monitor burn wounds for signs of infection and ensure proper healing. In some cases where burned tissues cannot self-repair, surgical intervention might be necessary.


The primary measure to prevent electrical injuries involves keeping your dog away from electrical cords and outlets. Moreover, it’s essential to examine all cords in your household and discard any that show signs of damage, as even slight contact with a bare wire can lead to significant harm to your dog.

Numerous pet owners discover that employing baby-proofing techniques effectively safeguards their pets against injuries. Household child-protection tools are commonly available at hardware and full-service department stores, offering accessible solutions for pet parents.

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