What You Didn’t Know About Effect Of Dogs Living With Hoarders Is Important To Know


Hoarding almost always associated with physical items of various value. Based on that concept, the thought of humans collecting animals they can’t care for, especially dogs, is wrong. If you are caring for previously hoarded dogs, this three-part series will be of use to you.

What Are Hoarded Dogs?

– photo credit San Diego humane society

This vision of a house filled with dogs shows exactly what hoarded dogs are. While these unkept, uncared for, animals barely exist in such an unsanitary environment, once removed they can heal. 

Considering their (for lack of a better word) homelife; is it any wonder these precious animals suffer psychological harm? Because of this, people are taking scientific actions to help you care for your formerly hoarded dog better.

Best Friends took part in a series of scientific studies examining the psychological harm, behavioral issues, and long-term emotional responses of hoarded dogs. 

They worked in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and the Atlantic Veterinary College, reports Franklin D. McMillan. As a result, many animals benefit from the studies, advancing the understanding of and caring for dogs previously living in horrific conditions.

The Health Condition Of Hoarded Dogs

CBS news reporting on hoarding of dogs

The length of time a dog spends in terrible physical conditions factors into their degrading health issues. Of greater relevance, according to McMillan, there are as many as 5,000 new cases of hoarding reported in the U.S. each year, resulting in higher cases of illness in rescued dogs. 

Owners of formally hoarded dogs report significantly higher rates of physical health problems than reports turned in by owners of the control dogs, says McMillan. 

They find similar physical problems associated with overcrowding and malnutrition, such as coat and skin disorders, eye and ear infections, dental issues, external and internal parasites and injuries due to trauma.

According to the studies, compared to standard pet dogs, hoarded dogs have significantly higher rates of abnormal behavior.

Pet Dog Behavior Verses Hoarded Dog Behavior

hoarded dogs can make up a happy home

Can you tell from a photo which dog never experienced tragedy? Most likely not. Behavior is where differences emerge. 

Dogs from a previous hoarding lifestyle rank higher in fear towards strangers, noises, quick movements, and strange objects.

These dogs don’t like being touched, picked up, or held as much as a trauma-free pet. These previously mishandled pooches grow strong human attachments quickly and tend to project attention-gaining behavior.

On the other hand, the dogs who lived a hoarding life rank lower in aggression towards other dogs and strangers. They may have lower energy and are not as trainable, in most cases as well.

Next, in part two, we will look at rehabilitation methods for previously hoarded dogs. 

Does your dog act aggressively towards other dogs or people? Check out these tips.