Not So Flexible: The Dangers of Retractable Leashes

dog on retractable leash

Retractable leashes are popular with many dog owners for their ability to allow your dog flexibility in movement. Sometimes, you want to pull your pet close when a passing dog comes along, or allow greater distance when your pet wants to explore. So, the convenient solution, it would seem, is the retractable leash. 

Unfortunately, the convenience we may find can result in disaster. Let’s take a closer look at why these leashes are dangerous and some suggestions on safe pet walking. 

The Problems with Retractable Leashes

The retractable leash is a length of cord that is wrapped around a spool that is spring loaded. Contained in a plastic handle, the leash allows the dog to move freely up to a certain length. Most leashes extent to 20-26 feet. This gives pet owners the freedom to let their pets wander, but within the range they determine. 

This seems like a great option, right? Well, there are some issues with the leash that pose a threat to your dog, to you, and other passerbys.

This is because the cord is not indestructible and has been known to break, according to Consumer Reports. When the cord breaks, it can snap back and hit you or your pet. Cords can get tangled around fingers or tails, and when a pet darts ahead the cord can cause a deep laceration in the hand, finger, wrist, or tail, if it is wrapped around an area of the body.

Also, when a pet is used to a longer leash, it is more likely they will try and chase something or run ahead. This puts them at risk of being hit by a car or encountering wildlife. They can develop a neck, spine, or esophageal injury as well, since they are prone to sudden, quick movement. 

When it comes to behavior and training, a retractable leash encourages bad behavior. Learning how to walk on leash requires a keen eye on your pup, as well as control over movement and commands. These leashes can sometimes encourage behaviors like jolting, becoming distracted, ignoring your commands, and encountering other animals when you are not prepared for them to do this.

Safer Walks, Happier Pets

If you have been a fan of the retractable leash, we understand that you may feel disappointed. Some pet others will choose to continue use, but with a better understanding of some of the precautions. Here are some additional tips for a safer walk for you and your four-legged:

  • Use a properly fitted leash or harness for your pet. If your pet pulls, a harness is a great choice.
  • Use a reflective leash or harness for better visibility at night.
  • Keep your pet within a 4-6 ft. distance and move them to your side when other pets or people come by, or when you are crossing a roadway.
  • Make sure your ID tags and microchip information are up to date.

If the Berks team can help answer any questions about retractable leash dangers, or help you find the right leash for your furry pal, please call us! We are here to help make your dog walk the best ever.