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Dangers of Retractable Leashes

Cane Bay Summerville - Dog on LeashAfter first bringing home a brand new pup, you are faced with decision after decision. What kind of crate should you buy? Is one brand of dog food better than another? Should you put Fido in training classes, and if so, when? Which leash is the most suitable?

There are a plethora of leashes you can choose from to take Fido on his daily walk. Leather, nylon and retractable leashes are just a few. While retractable leashes have grown in popularity over the years, they also present some serious dangers to you and your pet.

Before deciding which leash to purchase, consider the following dangers of retractable leashes.

Neck Injuries

Neck injuries are one of the most common problems veterinarians see from retractable leashes, Dr. Duffy Jones, DVM, told PetMD. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for a dog to take off running in a direction the owner doesn’t want him to go. As the owner clamps down to retract the leash, the sudden jolt to the dog can cause neck injuries, spinal problems and it can even damage the trachea.

Rope Burn, Lacerations And Other Injuries

Regular flat leashes allow the owner to gain more control by simply grabbing the leash at any point to either tighten or loosen it. Retractable leashes do not have the same luxury.

An owner who lunges in a panic to gain more control of his or her dog by grabbing the leash is subject to rope burn or further complications. Several cases of finger amputations have even been reported.

In 2005, one woman lost part of her left index finger after it became tangled in the leash when her dog ran to chase something, according to ABC News.

Dog Fighting

Dog fighting can be another unfortunate result of retractable leashes. Retractable leashes allow dogs to wander quite a distance from their owner. If another dog appears suddenly, the owner may be too far away to have enough control over the dog to pull him back to safety.

Not only is this an opportunity for fighting, but either one of the dog’s legs could become tangled in the leash, which can cause lacerations and deep cuts to both dogs and owners.

The Leash May Break, Causing More Injuries

It is not unheard of for retractable leashes, which are made of a thin cord, to snap and break. This not only allows your dog to run free, but the brute force with which the handle can snap back and harm someone may have devastating effects.

In 2009, ABC News reported that a 12-year-old girl lost sight in one eye after her 25-pound pitbull puppy pulled on the leash and broke it. The metal clasp from the leash swung back and hit her in the face. After multiple surgeries, the young woman’s dad told ABC News his daughter’s eyesight was “better,” but she was still on the road to recovery.

Difficulties Training

Training your dog to walk politely next to you is not likely to happen while using a retractable leash. In fact, retractable leashes can actually encourage undesired behavior.

“By their very nature, retractables train dogs to pull while on leash, because they learn that pulling extends the lead,” Dr. Becker wrote on Healthy Pets.

Apart from the pulling, retractable leashes encourage dogs to wander away from their owners, which makes it more difficult for the dog to hear any commands that are being called out to him.

Overall, the dangers of retractable leashes leave little to be desired. Not only do they present problems to the dogs themselves, but the owners many times are placed in harm’s way as well.

Here at Cane Bay, our first priority is your safety and health as well as your pet’s safety and health. We encourage you to seriously consider these dangers before purchasing a retractable leash.

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