Why are retractable leashes harmful?
Do you walk your dog with a retractable leash?
Retractable leashes have been popular for a long time. Pet owners like that dogs have more freedom to roam while on their walks. The walker can reel them in whenever they choose to call them back. Right? Not always. Below is just one scenario of the dangers they can cause to the pet and to the holder.
You are walking your dog on his retractable leash when out of nowhere another dog appears from just feet away. Do you have time to reel in your dog if the other dog is acting aggressively or negatively to your dog, or worse, to you? You most likely don’t.
The danger is that if the dogs react negatively to each other and you have a long line attached to your dog’s collar you will not be able to move quickly enough to reel him back to you. Quickly the dogs can begin fighting and one or both become can become entangled in the leash line.
There is a great probability for one or both dogs to become seriously injured. The handler can also become seriously injured by having the leash torn from his/her hand with the force of the dog on the other end of it.
There have been reported incidents that people who have found themselves in this predicament have received painful leash burns, lost fingers, have received deep lacerations and even arms being pulled out of their sockets. There is also the strong possibility that if your dog sees a bird, squirrel or other small animal and decides to take off to investigate further, that he pulls the leash out of your hand and runs straight in to traffic. This can be deadly for your dog.
Retractable leashes are often dropped easily due to their cumbersome feel. This causes a hurdling effect towards your dog and can easily strike your dog in the head. When this happens it can easily and completely understandably, spook your dog with the possibility of him running off. If a person is not paying attention and this happens; most commonly their first reaction is that the handler grabs the leash line. This can cause injury to the hand causing severe leash burns and even amputation of entangled fingers.
In the veterinary field, many retractable leashes are seen being used by clients on their dogs. Clients bring their pets to the veterinarian sometimes behaving as if they’re at the park thus letting their dogs have the freedom of the full length of their retractable leash. Not only is this dangerous it is irresponsible. Pet owners are often at the veterinary clinic with their pet because the pet is sick. They don’t want a dog approaching without permission, but sadly it happens. There are dogs that are deemed “Not dog friendly” so when a dog who has free rein on a lengthy leash approaches another dog; there is a possibility of a negative interaction between the two. That brings us back to the dangers of entanglement, lost fingers and serious leash burns.
Dogs on retractable leashes in the veterinary practice is not only impolite to the other pet owners but to the staff as well. They already know the dangers of retractable leashes. Now they have to watch your pet even closer.
So the conclusion? Retractable leashes are not only unsafe for your dog but they are unsafe for you as well.
What leash is recommended?
A sturdy nylon or leather leash is suggested. These leashes have a “Hand/Loop” for you to hold on to and they come in all lengths. They are safe, durable and easy to use. The leashes are best used along with a safe harness. You can read our previous blog post on the dangers of prong, choke, bark collars and harnesses.
Let’s hope that most of you will in the very least, consider changing from a retractable leash to a sturdy nylon or leather leash!
Thanks pet friends!