The Dangers of Retractable Leashes | PetFirst
Pet Care & Health

The Dangers of Retractable Leashes

by MetLife Pet Insurance
5 years ago


It seems there are so many decisions that go into pet ownership – when and what type of vaccines to give your pet, how much preventative care to provide, choosing a healthy pet food and treat options, etc. You can now add “selecting the proper leash” to that ever-growing list.

That’s right- some leashes can be dangerous to you, as well as your pet. While there is some information out there about the proper way to hold a pet leash and how to leash train your pet, I didn’t realize they could be so dangerous. That’s right – retractable leashes do come with a hefty list of dangers – for you and your pet.

Unfortunately, I was unaware of these dangers and had purchased a retractable leash (after all, it is what my family had always used to walk our family dog). It wasn’t until I began walking our dog along with my children (ages 3 and 4) that I began to see the dangers first hand. So, I began to investigate the dangers of retractable leashes, and wanted to share this information for all pet owners out there – especially, if you are in the market for a new leash.

The Dangers of Retractable Leashes

  1. They malfunction over time. Due to wear and tear on the leash, the cord will become stuck or will refuse to retract. This can cause alot of jerking to you and your pet, as well as become a giant tripping hazard.
  2. The leash handle is bulky. This allows the handle to easily be pulled out of the human’s hand- and frightening your pet as it comes hurling toward them. (Believe me- it happens on a weekly basis, and I am surprised my dog still wants to walk after the horrifying experience). It can cause injury to the pet if it hits them, or the loud sound could alarm your pet, causing them to run away.
  3. The thin cord can easily break, tear or fray. If the pet on the other end is quite powerful and takes off running full speed, the cord can snap. This allows an opportunity for the dog to be put in danger, and it can also injure the human walking them – as the cord comes snapping back toward their body and face. Also, the constant retracting on the cord can cause it to rub on the handle, creating frays which can eventually tear with little force or intention.
  4. The length allows pets to be put in dangerous situations. Retractable leashes can extended up to 26 feet, which allows the dog to wander far enough to make contact with another dog or person, as well as wander into the street or traffic.
  5. The jerking stop of the leash can cause injuries. Once the leash has run out of cord, or the human hits the stop button on the handle, it results in a sudden jerk that can cause neck wounds, lacerations to the trachea, as well as injuries to the spine.
  6. The cord can cut, burn or even amputate the walker. If the human gets tangled in the cord or grabs it while its retracting or reeling out, serious injuries can occur. (I am always terrified when my dog begins running and my kids are next to the cord – right at neck level – that they could become amputated).
  7. It is a tripping hazard. The cord can easily get tangled around the human’s feet, or can pile up if your pet decides to suddenly stop and the cord is completely extended, which results in a giant tripping hazard. (I can attest – do not try to run with your dog with retractable leashes. You will end up doing hurdles over your dog and the leash when they decide to stop and pee on your neighbor’s mailbox, and you will end up on the ground looking like a fool).
  8. Doesn’t teach proper leash walking skills. Retractable leashes teach pets it is okay to pull while on the leash, since it allows them to extend the lead.

On my way home, I will be purchasing a new leash for my precious pup – one that doesn’t double as a decapitating machine. Hopefully, after reading this, you will be informed about the danger of some leashes and it allows you to make a better choice for your pet.

Happy hunting!

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

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