Dog Owners Warned Of Serious Hand Injury Risk From Misusing Leads And Collars

Improper use of dog leads and collars may lead to serious hand injuries, which may require long and even costly treatments. How should pet owners handle their dogs to avoid injury?

  ( Mabel Amber | Pixabay )

Walking the dog a few times per week offer health and social benefits to pet owners. The activity can improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress. Unfortunately, the activity may also pose risk for people who misuse dog leads and collars.

Serious Hand Injuries From Misuse Of Leads And Collars

Surgeons have warned dog owners not to wrap leads around their wrist or fingers, or they could be putting themselves at risk of serious hand injuries such as fractures, friction burns, lacerations, and ligament injuries.

People may sustain serious hand damage when they accidentally dislocate their fingers that they hooked under their dog's collar before the animal makes a sudden movement.

The British Society for Surgery of the Hand said that misuse of leads and collars now causes serious injuries among pet owners. In the Royal Cornwall Hospitals alone, 30 patients were treated for serious hand injuries caused by dog lead or collar misuse in just one year.

Rebecca Dunlop, a consultant surgeon at the hospital who collects data on hand injuries from dog leads, said that she noticed an increase in these injuries in recent years.

Some of these injuries may require long-term treatment and could be very costly. One common injury caused by dog collars and leads is the so-called spiral fractures of the finger bones, which usually requires an operation to fix. At times, the injured fingers do not return to normal.

Preventing Injuries

To prevent injuries, dog owners are urged to observe precautions when handling their pets.

  • Avoid hooking fingers under the dog's collar.

  • Do not wind the lead, especially the retractable ones, around the hand or fingers.

  • Only use retractable leads in open spaces since these can wrap around the legs, trees, and furniture.

  • Keep bigger dogs on a shorter lead.

"Having seen many serious injuries caused by dog leads and collars, I want dog lovers to be aware of the simple steps they can take to avoid severe damage to their hand," Dunlop said.

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