When it comes to walking your dog, a retractable leash may seem like a great tool. They seem easy, functional and multi-purpose, right? Many pet parents will be surprised to learn that retractable leashes are not quite as functional as they seem. Here are the best reasons to think twice about the retractable leash and stick with the old standby — a traditional nylon leash.
1) Retractable Leashes are Difficult to Tie
Imagine you are walking down the main street with your dog and you want to stop into that new café for a quick coffee. If your dog is on a retractable leash, this can be tricky business. Thanks to their big, bulky plastic handle and thin cord, retractable leashes are very difficult to tie off to stationary objects. Additionally, were your dog to wind the thin cord portion of the retractable leash around his neck, the potential for choking and tracheal injuries is much higher than it would be with a traditional nylon leash.
2) Retractable Leashes Can Easily Break
While it is unlikely (but possible) that the cord portion of the leash will break, it is highly likely that the moving mechanisms within the handle will break, at which point the leash will refuse to retract or refuse to extend. Retractable leashes often offer up to 26 feet of leash line, therefore a broken handle can quickly become a big problem, forcing pet parents to gather up clumsily multiple feet of slack leash in order to keep their pooch under control.
3) The Length of Retractable Leashes Can be Dangerous
Even if the handle of the retractable leash does not break, 26 feet of leash is a lot of room. Enough room, in fact, that a situation can quickly get out of hand. Dogs on retractable leashes often have ample room to run into the middle of the street or lunge at other animals, for example. These situations can quickly turn dangerous and a retractable leash simply does not offer the pet parent enough control to stop them.
4) Retractable Leashes Can Cause Neck Injuries
It is not uncommon for a pooch to take off at full speed, only to be harshly jerked back when he hits the end of the retractable leash. This sudden jerk can cause whiplash-like injuries to the neck and spinal cord which may severely threaten the health of a dog.
5) Retractable Leashes Can Injure Humans
If a pet parent gets tangled in a retractable leash or attempts to grab it to stop a runaway dog, the thin cord can easily cause severe injuries such as lacerations, rope burns, cuts, or severe scrapes. While this risk exists to some extent with all leashes, the thin cord of the retractable leash makes injuries much more likely.
Although retractable leashes may seem like a great idea, there are many benefits to choosing traditional nylon leashes, instead. In addition to being safer, a nylon leash also offers all of the ease and control that retractable leashes simply do not. Stick to a nylon leash and keep yourself, and your pet, happy and healthy for many walks to come.
Content reviewed by a veterinarian.