Hand surgeons warn dog owners of dangers of leash misuse

Surgeons say thousands of dog owners suffer broken hands and fingers, and even skin loss, because they are misusing leashes and dog collars.

Posted: Aug 29, 2019 6:33 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Hand surgeons have a warning for pet owners. They say the way you walk your dog could be putting you at risk for broken bones and other injuries.

The British Society for Surgery of the Hand recently issued the warning.

Many dog owners have a tendency to wrap a leash around their hands and fingers. Hand surgeons are urging against this saying a significant percentage of hand injuries happen when dogs pull on the leash.

Experts say you should not wrap a leash around your hand and fingers. Instead, they suggest using retractable leashes with handles.

That's something Dog owner Mike McCullough is already doing with four-year-old Avery and 12-year-old Midge.

"When you approached that was the first thing I did. I had these, I call them like a fishing reel, they retract. I brought them back to get them closer to me because you know, you maybe don't know who is walking up on you."

McCullough says his pups are pretty good on a leash and they enjoy their time outside. He says he's rescued other dogs over the years and knows larger pups can be harder to handle.

Experts say retractable leads can give your pet room to roam but give you more control when you need them close. Larger dogs should be kept on shorter leashes so they don't build up speed and cause damage when the leash tightens abruptly.

Experts also say don't loop your fingers underneath a dogs collar. Instead, find a collar or harness with a grab handle.

For more from surgeons, click here.

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