Four Ways Retractable Leashes Can Be Dangerous

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 2:45pm
Happy golden retriever

Retractable leads—those long leashes that extend to allow your dog to roam freely—are great for trips to a wide open space like a park. They let your dog sniff and explore more freely. But if you’ve got one that you use on daily walks in the city or on a busy path, it might be time to ditch it. Here’s why.

1. The leash can get caught on you, your dog, a cyclist or jogger and cause tripping, rope burn, cuts and even strangulation.

2. You might have the best-behaved dog in the world, but what about that other dog down the block? When you use a retractable leash, you’re opening your dog up to all sorts of dangers, including those posed by less-friendly dogs, bikes and cars. You may not be able to hit the brakes in time.

3. Retractable leashes allow your dog to approach other dogs uninvited, and that’s just downright inconsiderate. Other pet parents may not want their dogs to greet your dogs for a variety of reasons, including your own dog’s health and safety.

4. Perhaps worst of all, should you drop the leash in an already-busy area, its sudden retraction and the noise the handle makes when dragging on pavement can terrify even the most even-keeled dogs. That means your dog is much more likely to bolt.

We get why people are attracted to retractable leads, but for these reasons and more, we’re sticking with our dog’s good old six-foot leash when we’re on busy streets. For your pet’s safety, we hope you will, too.

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A friend of mine has a pet store in Chicago. A customers fingers were cut off by one of these leashes.

Debbie Elster

I was attacked around both ankles by someone else's dog and her 16 foot fully extended retractable leash at a dog park. I could have lost a foot. After almost 10 years, I still have scars to prove it. These leashes need to be taken off the shelves. They are basically lethal weapons camouflaged as dog leashes.


so because some people are stupid and don't know how to use something properly its the manufacturers or the equipment fault? what happened to personal responsibility. I have a retractable leash for my German Shepard we use it fully extended when we are alone on a hiking trail, I have the handle tethered to my pack so if I need both hands I can let go and if Kiara gets ahead of me because I lost balance she inst jerking me farther off balance. with a normal 6 in leader if I start to stumble and let go if its tethered to me and kiara isn't paying attention o what I'm doing she can reach the end and cause me to fall.

the key to using this TOOL is to keep it appropriate lengths for your environment and pay attention to your fury child.


I haven't seen any hiking trails in the CITY. On a CITY sidewalk, the retractable leash is a nuisance.