Dog walking may pose serious injury due to improper handling

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Improper dog walking has led to serious past injuries according orthopedic surgeons. (KABC)

When it comes to injuries from dogs, bites are not high on the list.

Orthopedic surgeons report an increase in fractures, sprains and breaks due to dog walking.

One example is with Dan and Michelle Steinman's 3-year-old golden retriever, Sunny.

The two laugh now when loving their 60-pound dog, but Dan and Michelle Steinman cried when Sunny broke both of their ring fingers.

Michelle Steinman recalled how Sunny pulled on the leash, causing her finger to be crushed.

"I guess it snapped like a piece of chalk," she said.

"I heard my finger snap and I had such pain I had never had before," Dan Steinman said, concerning his separate incident.

"Sometimes if the dog is not very easy to control, your first instinct is to put your fingers into that collar. That's the worst place to be because that dog now controls you," warned orthopedic surgeon, Dr. John Fernandez.

First and foremost, according to Fernandez, pet owners should stay away from retractable leashes.

"Because if something suddenly happens, now the dog is on this 10-foot, 20-foot leash that gives it a lot more kinetic energy," he explained.

Other techniques owners should avoid while dog-walking include attaching a leash to a bike walking the dog on roller skates.

Going out with bare feet or flip flops is also not recommended. Additionally, experts said not to wrap the leash around your arms or wrist.

"If the animal, the dog suddenly bolts off in a different direction you actually have less control because now you're basically being pulled like a ragdoll," Fernandez said.

"The leash or the collar will basically wrap around the fingers and then there'll be a twisting injury that'll lead to the bones breaking and the ligaments tearing," he continued.

Michelle Steinman advised holding the leash with only your thumb on the inside loop and with your other fingers wrapped around, so that if your dog attempts to run, your hand will be fine.
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