Put That Leash Down! The Dangers of Retractable Leashes

What’s that I said? You’re probably wondering what leash, right? I’m talking about retractable leashes. Why do you say? Because they are dangerous and let me tell you why. You probably never really thought that a retractable leash was dangerous, right? But it is. Not only can it cause injury to yourself but your dog(s) as well. Many other things can happen just by walking your dog with a retractable leash. Let’s dive into the scenarios that can take place while using a retractable leash and the risk you take whilst using one.

First and foremost, you risk entanglement.

Since the retractable leashes usually have very thin wire-y leads, when your dog gets entwined this can cause injury to your dog(s) legs, paws, and even nose. Entanglement can happen either with yourself and your dog, with a stranger, or a stranger and their dog. Dogs tend to get excited seeing people or other dogs, this excitement can lead to tangling up everyone involved. Not only does entanglement cause injury to your dog but it can also cause injury to yourself or strangers and can even become a tripping hazard. Also, strangulation can transpire if the leash is accidentally wrapped around your dog’s neck in a scuffle. Using retractable leashes can lead to accidental injury such as your dog getting hit by a car, being attacked by another dog, etc. due to not being able to reel your dog in close to you in time. A retractable leash does provide freedom for your dog to roam and go further with supervision, but things that I’ve previously stated are what can happen when there is no leash control.

 

retractable leashesWhat if you drop the retractable leash?

Another case that can occur and to consider while using a retractable leash is if the leash breaks from the holder, or you accidentally drop it and your dog takes off running. I have first-hand experience with this situation, it happened to me before I was educated on the dangers of retractable leashes. This incident occurred while I was out walking my dog Teddy; Teddy is not your friendly neighborhood dog. He is a dog and people reactive, so we must be extra vigilant when my husband and I are out walking him. Boy, what were we thinking of walking a reactive dog on a retractable leash? While I was walking him, I lost grip of the retractable leash. Thank goodness that there were no dogs or people around that day. When I lost grip and the leash fell, the loud crash of the retractable holder scared teddy so bad that it made him jump and run, luckily I was able to grab a hold of him before he ran away or worse got into an accident. Talk about panic, after that day we no longer used the retractable leash. Instead, we use a standard 4-foot leash, so that we have better control of our dogs and can keep them close while we are on walks.

 

Whiplash and leash burns

But it doesn’t stop there, I still have two more reasons why you ought to ditch that retractable leash. Did you know your dog can experience whiplash while using a retractable leash? How? If your dog is running and reaches the end of the leash the sudden jerk can give your dog whiplash, not only that but it can injure your arm as well from the force applied, especially if you’re walking a bigger dog. Leash burns are another occurrence that can happen. Imagine your dog lunges for something, and the leash doesn’t lock, your next reaction may be to grab the leash which then will cause burns. Not only that but as stated before entanglement or strangulation can lead to burns as well.

Now, you may think these are rare or unlikely scenarios, but they can and could occur. Our main goal is not to frighten or come across as demeaning for using a retractable leash but to bring awareness to using this kind of leash. What leash is recommended? A standard 4-6 foot leash is the best option, it allows you to have better control over your dog(s) especially when you need to bend down to pick up after them or you’re talking with a neighbor. At JenLovesPets we aim to educate our clients on the safety of their pets. Safe pets = happy and healthy pets.

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