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Are Retractable Leashes Safe

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Retractable leashes are not a safe choice:

I do not recommend these leashes. If your dog is too far ahead of you, you have the potential to run into a dangerous situation. You cannot grab the leash to pull your dog away from it. If you do grab the leash, or it gets tangled around you or your dog, it can leave some bad burns, cuts or more serious cases, amputations. Dogs can get injured as a result of a sudden jerk on their neck if they run out the leash. You have to be very careful with these type of leashes if you do decide to use them.

Is a retractable leash a good option?

While retractable leashes appear to have the pro of allowing your dog more freedom sniff and explore their environment, without the danger of being off leash, there are more cons than pros.

Dr. Karen Becker wrote a great article on why she does not recommend retractable leashes. They can be very harmful to your dog. The biggest issue is the jerk on the dog’s neck when they run out the leash. The pressure on the neck can cause damage to the trachea and the esophagus. The dog’s throat is very fragile and this pressure can cause a lot of damage.

Retractable leashes can also be dangerous to the dog owner. Because the leash is a thin cord that can easily get tangled around you or gosh forbid you grab said cord, it can result in burns, cuts, and even amputation. In 2007 there were 16,564 hospital-related injuries caused by leashes. Consumer Reports suggests that they were caused by retractable leashes.

A retractable leash encourages your dog to pull. Because the dog has so much freedom to walk around, you can’t teach your dog to not pull. The leash rewards your dog for pulling. So if you ever have to keep your dog by your side, you will not be able to as your dog is so used to being pulled. I have seen many owners walking their dog and complain that they are pulling while on a retractable leash! This leash is designed to let your dog pull.

Some other reasons why you should not use a retractable leash:

  • Because the leash is so long, you have no control over your dog. If they are around the corner from you and something dangerous happens, you cannot quickly pull your dog back.
  • You have no control over your dog. They can easily take off into the street without you being able to grab onto the leash and pull them back. You DO NOT want to grab the thin cord to pull the dog back.
  • Retractable leashes, like most retractable devices, have a tendency to malfunction over time, either refusing to extend, refusing to retract, or unspooling at will.