Retractable Dog Leashes – The Low Down.
So, you are about to buy Fido a new leash. You’ve seen retractable leashes on dogs everywhere. You think to yourself, “Should I use a retractable dog leash?” I’ll tell you exactly why not, and Fido will thank you later.
What exactly is a retractable leash anyway?
The purpose of the retractable leash is to allow you, the handler, to adjust the distance that Fido is allowed to move away from you. It’s made of a very thin cord, which allows it retract inside and onto the winding mechanism of the leash which is inside the plastic shell of the handle. On the handle, there’s usually a button that allows you to adjust the length of the leash at any given time during the walk and it may even be locked to keep it at a certain distance until you decide to unlock it. If it is unlocked, Fido can move anywhere from 16 to 30 feet (depending on the length of leash you have) away from you at his own leisure.
So, what’s the problem?
These leashes put YOU and Fido at risk for serious injury. When you walk Fido on a retractable leash, it gives him the false impression that he has the lay of the land and essentially, he thinks he’s free to dart away when he pleases. Also, it puts him further away from YOU, his handler, in case of danger (a car, another dog… you get the idea). So let’s say you are walking Fido and he sees a bird, a bunny, or a cat and darts away from you just as a car is rounding the corner. He could get hit buy the car before you are quick enough to retract the leash (which is quite difficult to do as a dog is in hot pursuit and you’re in a panic situation). Also, your instinct may be to grab the leash itself. I mentioned the leash is a very thin cord material, which makes it the perfect slicing tool when it is being pulled in the opposite direction. (Think paper cut to the hundredth power, no bueno!) There have been many reported incidents of cuts, burns, and amputations while using these leashes…on the owners and dogs! The same could happen if Fido is in pursuit of said bird, bunny or cat and chases it around you, another adult or child all the while wrapping the leash around you. Again, with enough force cuts, burns and possible amputations are possible. Also, keep in mind – you could fall, and/or the end metal part of the leash could snap back and hit you in the face or eye.
“In 2007 there were 16,564 hospital-treated injuries associated with leashes, according to Consumer Union’s analysis of statistics collected by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Of those, about 10.5 percent involved children 10 and younger; 23.5 percent involved injuries to the finger. The CPSC’s data does not parse the leashes into types but it’s likely that the amputations were caused by retractable leashes.”
How can I keep myself and my dog safe?
Good question. If you must use a retractable leash, here are a few tips.
Read the warnings and directions from the manufacturer BEFORE you buy it or use it.
Buy a leash that is made for your dog’s size.
Try to walk in unpopulated areas.
Don’t let your kids use the leash.
Test the leash to make sure it works every single time you use it.
As always, use common sense and go with your instincts as always when caring for your fur – baby.
This blog was written by Noelle Dunn. Thank you Noelle