The Dangers of Retractable Leashes

3 min read
May 14, 2023

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, retractible leashes can also be dangerous. 

The Dangers of Retractable Leashes

  • They may malfunction over time. Due to wear and tear on the leash, the cord can become stuck or refuse to retract. This can cause alot of jerking to you and your pet, as well as become a giant tripping hazard.
  • 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. It can cause injury to the pet if it hits them, or the loud sound could alarm your pet, causing them to run away.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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 leash.

Looking for more ways to protect your dog?  Consider investing in a dog health insurance policy. 

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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.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions. 

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