Retractable leashes are convenient but pose safety risks too When you think about your dog’s leash, are you inconvenienced by its sheer lack of complication, or are you rather pleased by the inherent simplicity? It’s amazing to think that something as streamlined as a 6-foot leash requires improvement, but then again the concept of retractable leashes has a place in modern dog ownership. This great debate will continue, but we should all be aware of the hidden dangers associated with retractable leashes.

Is This a Controversy?

Many dog owners are absolutely devoted to retractable leashes, and when used properly, they can be highly convenient. They shouldn’t be used when walking along busy roads, through pedestrian traffic, or near any other potential hazards, like construction sites. They should never be attached to a choke collar.

Size Matters

Retractable leashes offer more freedom than standard leads, but they are really only good for certain pets in certain situations. Your dog’s size, weight, age, and behavior should enter into your consideration about what leash is right.

Everybody Wins VS. Everybody Hurts

Knowing the implicit risks of retractable leashes can save you and your pet from some very painful, even life-threatening, situations, such as:

  • Entanglement that can damage the nose, legs, or paws
  • Strangulation
  • Accidental injury or death from cars, other animals, or cyclists
  • Risk of becoming separated if the leash breaks or drops out of your hand when pulled
  • Whiplash from the sudden jerk when the leash runs out of line
  • Leash burns or lacerations
  • Tangling up a passerby

Other Considerations

Standard leashes are easy to wrap around your wrist, thereby controlling your dog’s pacing. The handle of a retractable leash, while grippy, can actually slip out of your hand when your dog unexpectedly yanks on it in pursuit of something. The lock can inexplicably unlock. These instances can result in your pet getting into a serious accident with traffic, entangling other people, or becoming forever separated from you.

Retractable Leashes: Use at Your Own Risk

It is certainly convenient to walk a well-behaved, docile dog on a retractable leash. However, accidents can still occur, making a standard leash the safer choice. Using a standard 4-6 foot leash also makes it much easier to control your dog as you clean up after them.

If you have any questions or concerns about which type of leash if right for you and your pet, we encourage you to contact us. We’re always here for you at Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital.