Taking your dog for a walk should be one of life’s little pleasures, but it can quickly turn into a nightmare if you’re not holding your dog’s lead correctly. Surgeons have warned that thousands of people are at risk of injury as they have gotten into the habit of wrapping the lead around their wrists and fingers in order to get a more secure grip. But this method of holding a dog leash could mean your walk ends with a trip to the hospital. Having the lead wrapped around your wrists or fingers could cause friction burns, fractures, lacerations and ligament injuries.
In Cornwall alone, around 30 dog walkers were seriously injured last year, with many more cases reported from across the UK. Many of these injuries require long-term treatment and often, damaged fingers will not return to normal. Surgeons are recommending that dog owners with larger breeds use a shorter leash. This will prevent them from building up too much speed ahead of you and pulling on the lead.
Consultant surgeon at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, Rebecca Dunlop, has been collecting data on hand injuries caused by dog leads and has been noticing an increase over the past few years. She told the Daily Mail:
“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. We want to ensure that dog owners are able to carry on enjoying time with their dogs without risking damage to their hand and time in hospital.”
When walking your dog, it’s important that you don’t wrap the lead around your hands, fingers or wrists and don’t hook your fingers underneath their collar as any sudden pull or movement from them could cause injury. It is recommended that you hold the loop of your dog leash in your hand or attach the lead to a walking belt, but always be sure to carefully read the instructions first.