While retractable leads may seem like a good idea because they allow your pet to roam and run, they are dangerous!
A retractable lead consists of a thin cord wound around a spring-loaded device with a plastic handle. A button on the handle is used to control the amount of cord released. The button is also used to break (stop the release of more cord) and to rewind or recoil the cord so as to bring the pet in closer to the handler. The cords come in various lengths, most often 10, 16, or 26 feet. There are numerous concerns with this type of lead.
- The cord used in retractable leads is thin and can snap when used with a powerful or aggressively pulling dog. A snapped cord allows the dog to break lose and may recoil back, hitting the handler.
- The cord used in retractable leads is thin and can easily cut through skin if the dog wraps the cord around the handler, if the handler grabs a malfunctioning cord to control the dog, or if the dog wraps the cord around himself or someone he encounters as he is roaming or with whom he is playing,
- The long cord may put the dog too far away from the handler to properly control him, allowing the dog to run up on other people or dogs, run into the street, or get into dangerous items/substances that the handler does not see because of the distance. Because of their length, they are not suitable for use on city streets, where the pet could run-up on pedestrians or run into the street. In addition, they should not be used in confined spaces, such as a veterinarian’s office or groomer.
- The pet is at risk for suffering neck injuries resulting from the snap back received when running out the distance of the long cord.
- Some handles on retractable leads can be cumbersome and too easily dropped.
- The retractable lead is a mechanical devise and subject to malfunction.
- Some handlers have difficulty mastering the use of the button on the retractable lead and may allow the cord to extend further when their intention was to pull the dog in closer and out of danger.
If you still want to use a retractable lead, be sure to review the safety warnings included with the lead you purchase, know how to use the buttons on the lead, and check the lead often for frayed cords and mechanical problems.
For more information on the risks of retractable leads see: