Can You Use Chicken Wire for an Electric Dog Fence? (Solved + When Not to Use)

When you need to install an electric dog fence, you may find standard ones can cost upwards of $2,000. Therefore, you want to weigh all your options and plan this out well in advance so you do things correctly. Many people wonder about different types of fencing and chicken wire tends to be a popular inquiry.

So, can you use chicken wire for an electric dog fence? Yes, you can and it might be a perfect option. There are an equal number of reasons why you can use it and why it’s not such a good idea. But, this will depend on the size of your dog and your yard as well as your budget, among other things.

For instance, if you have a Boston Terrier or a Jack Russell Terrier, chicken wire should do the trick perfectly. But, when you get up to Boxers, Rottweilers or a Cane Corso, you probably want something a little stronger than chicken wire. This is because it won’t stop the dog, regardless of the uncomfortable shock it receives from the electricity.

4 Reasons Why You Can Use Chicken Wire for an Electric Dog Fence

The top four reasons why you can use chicken wire for an electric dog fence include low price, availability, durability and the capacity to protect various areas of your yard. Plus, the uncomfortable shock the dog will receive forces it to learn quickly where it shouldn’t go.

While there are other benefits, these will be specific to different yards and various dogs. But the ones mentioned below are the most common overall.

1. Generally Inexpensive

For the most part, chicken wire is fairly inexpensive. For a small section of only a few feet, you can buy a roll for $100 or less. Sometimes, farmers and agriculturalists will sell their old chicken wire fencing and you can buy a considerable amount for under $100.

2. Readily Available

You can find chicken wire almost anywhere. Not only can you find it at farming suppliers but you can also buy it at gardening centers, superstores, hardware shops and other similar retailers. There are plenty of places online that offer chicken wire if you can’t find something in your immediate locale.

3. Durable & Strong

Chicken wire typically has a weight limit of 20 pounds per square foot with 16-gauge wire interwoven to provide a decent amount of strength and durability. Therefore, you can figure it will withstand 2,000 pounds of pressure per 100 square feet. While it is quite robust, it’s not difficult to cut with a small pliers or wire snip.

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4. Multiple Applications

Not only will the electrified chicken wire keep your dog within your yard, you can also use it to keep your pooch away from your garden or other landscaping. Plus, it can double as a support for your plants, vines and other green growing things. The voltage going through should be low enough to shock the dog while not harming plants.

4 Reasons Why It’s Not Good to Use Chicken Wire for an Electric Dog Fence

If you have a large dog, chicken wire for an electric fence may not be ideal. Plus, it doesn’t really look good. If you have a large swath of land you want to fence, then the cost to install the chicken wire can be quite expensive.

Additionally, regardless of the size of your dog, if it easily gets spooked by something like another animal or thunder, it can break through even if it is electric. The following four reasons are the biggest causes for concern.

1. May Not Work for Large Dogs

When your dog is a beefcake, chicken wire will not be strong enough to hold it in. Don’t use chicken wire if you have a Boerboel, Tibetan Mastiff, Rottweiler, German Shepherd or other similar dog. The moment it sees a small animal or other distraction, your dog break through the small gauged wire. It will do this without a thought to the electric shock.

2. Has an Unaesthetic Look

Chicken wire isn’t the most visually appealing thing to look at. If you have a beautifully curated yard or other picturesque landscape going on, it really can present something of an eye sore. Plus, if it’s not galvanized, it can rust rather easily. Rust is not a particular desirable feature, especially since it can kill nutrients in soil.

3. Can Be Expensive for Larger Yards

If you have many acres of land you need to fence off, installing chicken wire can add up. This isn’t just for the cost of the fencing itself, but it’s also for all the other things you’ll need. Staples, nails, hammers, screwdrivers, posts, tie wires and many other similar items are going to be necessary.

In the event you want a professional to install it for you, you’re looking at doubling the price of doing it yourself. Therefore, this can cost anywhere from $350 to $2,000 or more.

Also, if the fence rusts you’ll have to replace it more often than other types of fencing. Of course, something like this can get expensive quick. You want a quality fence that won’t gouge your bank account but will last.

4. The Dog Can Break through the Fence

Even if you have a little dog, it can still bust through chicken wire. Anything that has the potential to spook or excite you dog can result in a broken fence. Because the design of the wire can only hold up to 20 pounds per square foot, it won’t take much for something like a Border Collie to break through it.

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Final Thoughts

The best thing to do is evaluate the different styles of wire fencing that are available for an electric dog fence. Then, compare these against your dog’s size and its strength along with your budget and yard size. You want to ensure you do this right the first time and not leave anything up to chance.