Petco pulls dog shock collars in-store, online


Petco is showing dog “shock” collars the door, pulling the zapping devices from its shelves in-store and online.

The national pet supply chain announced Tuesday that it would no longer sell “human- and bark-activated electronic pet collars,” a move in the company’s latest efforts to prioritize pet health and wellness.

“Electricity may be critical to powering your microwave, but it has no role for the average pet parent training their dog,” Petco CEO Ron Coughlin said in a statement. “Shock collars have been shown to increase fear, anxiety and stress in dogs, and we believe there’s a better way.”

The collars, which “pass an electric current through metal contact points” to give dogs a signal, are commonly sold as training devices and to tamp down on excessive barking, according to the Humane Society of the U.S. The “signal” can range from a mild tickle to a strong, sharp shock.

Emitting the electric pulses as a control method is among the “least humane and most controversial” uses for the collar, the animal welfare group said.

Petco recently launched its “Stop the Shock” campaign, calling pet owners alike to consider products “rooted in positive reinforcement training” instead. The push also featured a petition, which had more than 34,000 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon, encouraging “responsible self-regulation … and legislative change for the retail sale of certain shock collars.”

“As a health and wellness company, our mission is focused on improving pet lives and we think selling shock collars does the opposite,” Coughlin said. “It’s our responsibility to ensure that we, and others, aren’t putting potentially harmful products in the wrong hands.”

The collars accounted for about $10 million of Petco’s sales last year, according to CNN.

As part of its effort to promote more humane practices, the company plans to launch new online and in-home training programs led by its more than 1,200 certified dog trainers, according to a news release. Petco is also offering free introductory classes for pet owners looking to learn more about positive reinforcement training.

The push also came with a new look and name; Petco is now known as “Petco, The Health + Wellness Co.”

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Tanasia is a national Real-Time reporter based in Atlanta covering Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and the southeastern U.S. She’s an alumna of Kennesaw State University and joined McClatchy in 2020.

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