Great in Theory, Retractable Leashes Can Actually Be Dangerous

September 18, 2019

dog in park

Whether it’s in the kitchen or the garage, the simpler the tool the more effective it is, right? A basic cheese grater or a classic hand-held wood planer not only gets the job done, but they clean up easily. 

Similarly, a basic 6-foot leash is the right choice for a responsible dog owner. Although, retractable leashes offer the illusion of sleek convenience, what they mask could hurt you, your dog, or someone else.

A Mis-Leading Leash

Retractable leashes aren’t really leashes at all. Instead, a plastic handle conceals a nylon cord wrapped around a spring loaded device. A button on the handle helps control the amount of cord. While this is attractive for many pet owners that want to give their dogs more freedom, retractable leashes can create risky situations to both people and pets.

Threatening Health & Safety

The following reasons explain why retractable leashes shouldn’t be used:


  • Length – Because the cord length can extend over 20 feet, dogs can have greater access to roam into traffic or toward prey. With less control, a dog could also end up getting into a fight with another dog. 
  • Ouch – Neck and back injuries can occur from entanglement, tripping, and falling. Also, if your skin is ever exposed to a fully extended retractable leash, you can suffer a serious laceration or burn. The friction from handling a taut cord can be very damaging to the skin.
  • Training – Retractable leashes can send the wrong message to dogs in training. You do not want them to pull on your leash, but if they’re attached to a cord that keeps going they are not only getting too far ahead of you, they’re learning that they can simply keep walking.
  • Breakage – These leashes have been known to break when a dog puts too much strain on them. Dogs can break free from the leash, and the leash can snap back and hit the leash holder in the face.


Alternatives to Retractable Leashes

For the safest walk, we advise owners to acquire a sturdy 6-foot fixed leash with a grippy handle. 

Train your dog to walk alongside you, never allow them to pull ahead. Basic canine obedience can go a long way toward communicating your wishes to your dog while walking together. Once they understand commands like sit, stay, down, come, and leave it, your walks can be more fun and rewarding.

As with anything related to your pet’s health and wellness, Pets in Stitches is always here to help. 

Come. Stay. Heal.

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