One commonly used dog tool you should throw away
Last week, I wrote a blog on Why one should not tie a dog to a chair and also mentioned another blog on Why prong, shock and choke chain collars can cause a lot of damage. By now, you are probably asking, why is he so obsessed with anything that applies to leashes and collars?
The reason is simple. Dogs with neck injuries appear to be ill much more frequently and vice versa – the illest dogs have frequent neck injuries. Why?
The answer is simple. The neck has the blood, nerve and energy channels in the whole body. It also connects the brain with the rest of the body. It is the key area for the function of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system that regulate pretty much everything in the body including your heart, breathing and digestion.
In summary, when the neck gets injured, everything goes.
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 dog'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.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM