I have read many articles about the dangers of retractable leashes but none have talked about the neck damage to the dog. Most were concerned with injuries caused by the leash snapping back and injuring a dog or person or the leash not retracting fast enough and the dog attacks another animal or gets into the street where danger lurks. This is another big concern why the retractable leash shouldn't even be manufacturered. They are not good from a training aspect either.
By Dr. Dobias
Today, I would like to focus on another device that is a common source of injuries - a retractable leash. Most people do not think twice about them. They appear to give a dog more freedom, especially when they have to be on a leash. But do not be mistaken, when it comes to dogs retractable leashes can cause serious damage.
Let us move away from dogs and give you a human example.
Pretend to be a dog for a moment. You put a collar on your neck and attach a retractable leash to it. You ask a friend to hold the leash handle and instruct her to press the “brake button” when you start running.
Jerk!!!! Bang! Your neck gets yanked on big time. Your thyroid gland suffers a trauma from the sudden jerk. If you are lucky, you will suffer no injuries, repeat this many times and a severe injury is inevitable.
When it comes to dogs and retractable leashes, there are two main issues.
The jerk at the end of the leash or the “leash brake” can severely damage your dogs’s neck and the thyroid gland.
Even if your dog is gentle, doesn’t run to the end of the leash and you never use the brake, the spring loaded leash always applies pressure on your dog’s neck and throat.
I trust that it is not the intention of retractable leash manufacturers to cause damage. I believe that they never thought of this when making their design. However, I feel the responsibility to tell you that I have seen serious problems caused by retractable leashes from hypothyroidism to damage to the nerves that results in Paw Licking in Dogs.
To summarize, the best way to protect your dog’s most sensitive region, the neck, is to use a front or side clip harness and a light, shock-absorbing leash made of natural materials.
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