Retractable Leashes: Neither Dog, Nor Man’s Best Friend

By Karen Fazio, CDBC
 Director of Behavior and Training

retractable leashes are a serious threat to pet health and pet safetyOne day, as I was about to leave my house for a walk with my dog, I saw (Insert dog’s name) spot a squirrel in our yard. Not surprisingly, before I could utter the word “NO!” he took off after it. Worse still? As he was bolting down the front steps, I realized  – a bit too late – that I had forgotten to lock the retractable leash he had on. I stood, transfixed at the top of my brick stairs, as the zip line ran out… The last thing I remember was toppling down the stairs and landing flat on my face, leaving me with a small scar just above my right lip that serves to remind me of the dangers associated with retractable leashes.

I will admit that retractable leashes can be fun. They provide pets with a sense of off-leash freedom that allows them to explore areas that they might not otherwise be able to. However, in my experience, the risk of serious injury, or even death, far outweigh any pleasure you or your dog might enjoy.

Retractable Leashes Present a High Risk for Pet Injury

Retractable leashes are commonly made out of thin nylon cord, which can cause serious injury to both pets and their owners. When these leashes get wrapped around a finger, arm, or leg they have the potential to cause severe burns and deep gashes, which may send the victim to the emergency room. When wrapped around the body or limbs of a pet, the risk for broken bones or even dismemberment is tremendous.  

Serious neck and spine injuries also are a consideration for pets, especially if your pet bolts when the mechanism isn’t locked and it reaches the end of the line, suddenly jerking your pet backward at his neck. In these cases, trauma to the neck and spine is a certainty; and some cases, the injuries are grave enough to cause death.

Taking the Lead

Despite how comfortable retractable leashes may feel in our grasp, they can be difficult to hold on to when attached to 
a struggling or pulling dog. This is because the handles are designed to be held 
primarily by the fingers, which tend to be quite weak.

This point can easily be proven if one should try to hang from a chin-up bar by their fingers. It simply cannot Can’t be done. With that consideration in mind, there’s little 
possibility an individual would possess 
enough finger strength to effectively hold back a struggling pet.

If you would like to learn more about the dangers of retractable leashes, and what options may be right for your individual pet, please schedule an appointment. The team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital is committed to keeping your pet safe, happy, and healthy, both at home and on the trail.

Quarantine Cutie: How to Socialize Your Dog While Social Distancing

dog in window

For many homebound people, a pandemic puppy is a real response to the global health crisis – for good reason. Most of us have more time on our hands than ever before, and combating loneliness and despair has never been this challenging. 

Adopting or fostering during this time helps people cope with high blood pressure, stress, fear, and isolation. But how can you socialize your dog when everyone is keeping their distance?

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Paw Proofing: Protecting Your Pet’s Paws During Winter 

chihuahua on leash

Winter can be harsh for everyone with the cold, dry air, frigid temps, and storms. It is equally hard on your pet and their sensitive paws. Paw pads require extra attention during the winter with specific needs to protect them. 

The team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital want to give those tooties all of the care they need to stay protected during the winter, and throughout the year.

5 Tips for Protecting Your Pet’s Paws

Most pet owners don’t consider the health of their pet’s paws until something is wrong. But your pet’s feet are incredibly important to how they navigate the world, and paws can become injured without proper precautions. Here are some things to consider during the cold months…

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Three Cheers for Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital’s Top 10 Pet Care Blogs of 2019!

cat upside down in cat tree

There are many reasons why we brainstorm, write and publish approximately 50 pet care blogs a year. Primarily, we enjoy providing our ever-growing community of pet owners with strategies to maintain excellent pet health. 

Whether it’s a blog about specific illness or animal behavior, our goal is to keep the flow of information going strong. In so doing, we aim to positively impact pet wellness at home – and soothe an owner’s doubts or concerns at the same time.

In a world that processes data faster than ever before, we hope that our pet care blogs find their way into your weekly reading. Amazingly, we can measure their popularity, and reflect on which ones our readers liked the best. 

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Fear-Free Dog Training for Extraordinary Results

dog standing for treat

Most dogs come to us with the need for training. Whether they are barkers or escape artists, diggers or anxious around strangers, chances are, your doggo will need a little help in the behavior department. This is especially true for dogs who have been rescued, as we rarely know their backgrounds. 

If your pet needs some help with training and socialization, the good news is that there is hope for improvement. The team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital has some pointers for teaching your pet good behavior, with an eye on a fear-free, positive experience.

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Waiting Game: How to Behave in a Pet Hospital Lobby

cat with cone on neck

Nobody likes to wait. Even if we’re prepared for long lines at places like the DMV, even the most patient people among us can become pretty irate. 

Imagine, then, how some pets feel when they are taken to their vet appointments. Would the possible wait be worse for them because of the heightened anticipation, or might the time be filled with curiosity and exploration?

Wherever pets sit on this spectrum, the bottom line is that there are many ways to safely get through the time spent in a pet hospital lobby. 

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So, You’re Thinking of Adopting a New Dog?

dog on beach with tongue out

Adopting a new dog is exciting and fun. But it can also be quite a challenge. The commitment of dog adoption is a lifelong one; but even though it may seem a tad scary, nothing quite beats a life-long canine companion. As with most things in life, however, a little preparation can go far toward a successful outcome. 

What a Deal!

When you adopt a shelter dog, you literally save a life. An added bonus is that the shelter’s adoption fees help to pay for food, facilities, veterinary care, spaying or neutering, microchipping, and all the other expenses that go into sheltering and caring for homeless pets in your community. 

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Plan Ahead: Protect Your Pet During a Natural Disaster – and Afterwards

rescued pet

The degree to which we are successful in self-defense directly corresponds to a high level of training and preparation. In other words, very few individuals enter fights they know they’ll lose. 

When it comes to hurricane season in New Jersey, the same approach can apply. Most residents know how to protect themselves and their homes, and safeguarding a pet during a natural disaster must also rank high on the priority list.

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Pet Microchipping: There’s No Place Like Home

pet microchipping

Having a pet go missing is every owner’s worst nightmare. Of course, you drive around the neighborhood hanging “lost pet” signs and post to your social media pages, but is this enough?

While nothing is foolproof, there is a way to significantly increase the chances of a happy reunion: pet microchipping. This affordable, noninvasive procedure helps return tens of thousands of lost pets each year, and the team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital wants you to know more about this valuable resource!

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A Stinky Situation: Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

dogs eat poop

As wonderful as dogs are, they sure have some disgusting habits – drinking from the toilet, licking their own behinds, and eating literally everything (just to name a few!). However, eating poop may top the list of unsavory canine quirks. Honestly, could anything be worse?

Dogs eat poop for a variety of reasons, most of which are totally harmless. However, while this habit may not be cause for concern, understanding the basics behind coprophagia (poop eating) can help you curb the behavior.

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