If your dog loves to wander off and explore when you take them on walks but you find it hard to keep in control of them, a retractable dog leash may be the thing for you. Allowing you to still keep ahold of your pet but giving them the freedom they need to roam around the park or sidewalk, retractable dog leashes are a very popular form of leash and can make dog walks a lot easier and a lot more fun.
Although there is some controversy surrounding retractable dog leashes and their safety, with many dog owners choosing not to use them because they feel they don’t hold as much control over their dog in dangerous situations, it is important to remember there are a few things to understand when using a retractable dog leash to ensure it is still safe and beneficial for both you and your pup. Below we have complied a buying guide of the best retractable dog leashes, the benefits of them and how to use them properly.
Are Retractable Leashes Safe?
There is a lot of debate around whether retractable dog leashes are safe and whether they should be used by dog owners. Many pet parents worry that because the leash length is extendable and, depending on the length of the leash, your dog can stray quite far from you, that they are unsafe because you do not have as much control over your dog. If something happens to your dog while they are on the end of a fully extended leash it can be very difficult to pull them back in and this could harm the safety of both you and your canine.
There is also the issue of jerking the cord which could seriously harm your dog. If your dog jerks on the cord it could snap and your dog could get free and end up chasing another animal, or they could jerk on the cord and end up damaging their spine. If they are very strong, your dog risks pulling you to the ground when they jerk on the leash. This also promotes pulling on the leash to your dog. Your dog will realize that by pulling on the leash it extends the cord and this means more freedom. If your dog already pulls on their standard leash, they may do it even more when they realize they have more space to explore when pulling on a retractable leash.
That being said, all of the issues above are only issues if you are unsafe with your leash. You as a dog owner know your pet more than anyone and you will be able to tell whether they like to pull on the leash or dart towards a rabbit across the park. You will need to adjust the leash to ensure it works for your dog and, in doing so, you will make these leashes every safe and a great addition to time outdoors with your doggo. Plus, there are many benefits to retractable dog leashes, as we have set out below.
The Benefits Of Using A Retractable Dog Leash
While there are some disadvantages to dog leashes as we have mentioned above, they of course have many benefits too.
Promotes Natural Behavior
First of all, your retractable leash allows your dog to be a dog. With a little distance between yourself and your pup, your dog is free to explore anywhere you walk, perhaps sniffing in the undergrowth where they wouldn’t be able to reach on a traditional leash. This can help with their psychology and overall happiness and health because they are not being as restricted as when on a traditional leash.
Helpful For Dog Owners With Disabilities
Those dog owners who have physical limitations could definitely benefit from a retractable dog leash. If they cannot stand up to perform a certain task, they can call their dog to perform the task from a distance. A retractable dog leash will also help the owner to allow their dog to explore from a distance but they will still be able to pull them in when needed.
A retractable leash can be the perfect device when teaching your dog to come to their name during recall training. This is something every pet owner wants — for your dog to run to you when you call their name. This makes life a lot easier and safer for both you and your canine friend. Instead of having to purchase multiple leashes at different lengths while dog training, you can start with the leash at 10 feet away and call for your dog. Once they respond to their name or a sound, you can extend the leash to 15 feet, then 20 feet and so on until they understand.
The adjustable length of a retractable dog leash still gives you control but it also gives you options. With a traditional leash your dog is always the same distance away from you, whether you are walking on the sidewalk or walking in the park. With a retractable dog leash you can extend the leash right out in the park so they can run and explore while you still hold onto them, but when you’re walking in a busy area or on the sidewalk with cars around, you can pull the leash right into the shortest length to ensure your dog is completely safe and right next to you. This allows for a much more varied walk for your pup.
Poop With Ease
It sounds funny, but some dogs like to go to the bathroom without having their owner standing right next to them. Dogs enjoy privacy too! With a retractable dog leash you get let your dog wander off to do their business, all while you have a hold of them and know you are still in control.
What To Look For In A Retractable Dog Leash
There are a few things to look for in a retractable dog leash that will ensure you get the one that is right for your pet.
First and foremost, you want the leash to durable. It is not going to be very useful if the leash snaps easily after only a few outings. We mentioned above that these leashes can be known to snap if your dog pulls on them too hard, so you will want to make sure the one you purchase is durable enough to last you a long time.
We go into more detail about the length of your dog leash below, but you will need to make sure you do pick the right length, otherwise the leash is not going to work for you. The length relates to where you plan on taking your dog — if you will be going to the park, perhaps you will want a longer leash to give them freedom, or if you are just walking on the sidewalk, a shorter leash may be better. The longer the leash, the further your dog can stray from you.
The clip quality is important because it is the part of the leash that actually connects to your dog. If your dog is large and very strong, you will need a very durable clip, especially if they are prone to running off quickly and jerking the leash. If the clip is weak it is going to break easily and if your dog isn’t attached to the leash, you won’t be in control of them! The best clips are made from stainless steel.
The thickness of the leash also relates to the durability of it. If your dog is large and you purchase a very thin leash, it is not going to be very durable and the leash is more likely to snap. You must remember to take this into consideration when purchasing a leash so you can be sure your dog will not break the cord.
Reflective visibly strips are another factor to consider when purchasing a leash. These are especially important if you walk late at night or early in the morning, or in busy areas with a lot of cars. Reflective strips will make sure not only your dog is seen, but you are seen too and can be a great way to ensure you are safe wherever you are walking.
What Length Of Dog Leash Should I Go For?
The length of the dog leash that you should go for relates to the activities you plan on doing with your dog. A standard dog leash length ranges from 4 to 8 feet, with 6 feet being the most popular option. This length is especially great if you take your dog running with you because they will never stray too far, or if you walk on the sidewalk a lot and don’t want to risk your dog running into the street.
However, the beauty of retractable dog leashes is that, even if you get a very long leash, you can always shorten and lock it into place so you make a shorter leash. If you often go to the park with your dog you may want to look into a longer leash so they really have the freedom to explore. Popular retractable pet leash lengths range for 16 to 20 feet because they can always be shortened for obedience training but still allow you to extend to it’s full length whenever. The length you choose really depends on the behavior of your dog and where you plan on walking with them.
If you’re ready to find the best retractable leash for your pup, take a look at the ones we recommend on Amazon below.
The Best Retractable Dog Leashes
The TaoTronics retractable dog leash extends up to sixteen feet and gives you the option to walk your dog freely in an open area with a one-hand braking, release and recoiling system. The leash is made of nylon and is durable, with a strong spring for smooth retracting that works in any weather. This leash is great for any breed of dog up to 110 lbs in weight, whether they’re small, medium or large, and has easy maneuverers to keep there where you want them with an easy-click button.
The handle is ergonomic and fits very well, ensuring you can walk comfortably even if your dog has a tendency to pull on the leash. This leash also comes with a free roll of plastic bags tucked in a bone-shaped cone.
Pet Neat’s retractable dog leash retracts to up to 10 feet and is suitable for all dogs up to 100 lbs. The durable ABS casing has an ergonomic anti-slip handle to help you comfortably maintain a strong grip, even on strong dogs that are pulling and running and the thick, long, durable nylon dog leash and heavy duty internal spring can easily cope with energetic dogs. There is a break and a lock button so you are always in control, with easy to push buttons no matter what the situation.
The clip is made form high-quality stainless steel so you don’t need to worry about it breaking either. Also with this leash you get a four dog care eBooks which are emailed to you after purchase and guide you on how to care for your dog and how to train your puppy.
This Hertzko retractable dog leash is heavy duty and is designed for strong dogs up to 110 lbs. Extending to sixteen feet, the ribbon is made of nylon and is very safe and durable and allows your dog to roam freely while you are still in control. There is an extra safe locking mechanism that is controlled by the easy-to-use break and lock button so you can be sure you can stop your pet when they stray too far from you.
The handle comes in an ergonomic design with a comfort grip and anti-slip handle and the clip is made from strong and durable locking metal to make sure your dog is always attached. The nylon ribbon is also passed through a smooth belt feeder when being extended and retracted, ensuring there is no tangling of the lead.
The Flexi Giant Tape retractable dog leash is extra long, giving your dog 26 feet to roam about while still attached you and under your control. The tape is extremely robust and designed for dogs up to 55 lbs, although there are option to purchase this leash in both large and extra large sizes for bigger dogs. The wide, stable belt smoothly extends and retracts and it comes in a bright neon color to improve safety and ensure visibility fo your pooch at all times.
The handle fits easily into your hand with a soft grip and is very convenient with a single-handed use of the brake button and a permanent stop feature. There is also a chromed snap hook to keep your dog attached to the leash, again ensuring the safety of it. This leash is made in Germany.
The retractable TUG dog leash is available in three different sizes — small for dogs under 35 lbs, medium for dogs under 55 lbs and large for dogs under 110 lbs. With an easy-to-adjust retraction, this leash measures at 16 feet when fully extended and has a quick lock and unlock feature that you can roll-on and roll-off with your thumb for ease and safety when adjusting the length. The strong nylon tape also has a 360 degree movement and is therefore tangle free.
The handle comes in an ergonomic design and gives you a comfortable and non-slip grip for those extra long walks. This dog leash is available in four different colors too.
The FLEXI Classic Design retractable dog leash features a stylish design and an ergonomic grip handle. Extending up to 26 feet, this leash gives your doggie plenty of room to explore and sniff their surroundings far away from you, but the easy-to-use and convenient break handle ensures that you can always pull them back to you when needed. This handle is designed to work with just one hand and the button responds fast and reliably. Designed for dogs up to 110 lbs, this tape leash is very resistant and ideal for powerful, larger dogs.
The tape guidance offers high comfort, ensuring that the tape will follow your dog in every direction, while smoothly rolling-out and retracting. When not in use, the tape fully retracts up to the chromed snap hook that ensures your dog is always attached to the leash. This leash is also available in 10 feet and 16 feet lengths, and the whole leash can be customized with the FELXI Multi Box, for treats or waste bags, and the FLEXI LED Lighting System that ensures you are always seen, even when you’re on a nighttime walk.
The Petacc retractable dog leash is for dogs up to 110lbs, working not only for strong large dogs, but also medium and small dogs, giving them maximum freedom under your control. The leash can be extended up to 16 feet and you can retract and release the 360 degree ribbon at any angle to ensure there is no tangling and the wire does not get stuck. There is just one brake button that can be rolled-on and rolled-off with your thumb, and the spring inside the lock mechanism is very durable and will last a long time, even if your dog repeatedly pulls on it.
The black ribbon is embedded with gray reflective strips to ensures the safety of both you and your dog at night. The plastic case is also made from ABS plastic and it comes in an ergonomic design to easily fit in your hand. Even better, if your dog bites the leash wire at all, you can easily cut off the broken part and reattach the clip, so you don’t need to purchase a whole new leash, saving you a lot of money!
The Happy & Polly retractable dog leash not only offers you great control, but also comes with a flashlight for easy use at night. The flashlight is made from aluminium alloy and is detachable and, when detached, the flashlight can be a mini portable carry-on item. The leash itself is made with 16.4 foot long strong tape with fishing line weave on both sides of the ribbon. The patented leather feel of the rubber handle is comfortable to hold and there is a quick release, pause and lock button too.
There is also a bungee leash that has a unique formula of flexibility and strength that dissipates quick forces and optimizes comfort and safety for both you and your dog. When your dog takes off unexpectedly, you won’t get a bone jarring shock and, instead, the bungee effect of the elastic leash will lessen the impact on your arm and back, making it perfect if you have a young and energetic dog. It also comes with a magic box that can be clipped onto your belt or pocket and can hold treats or poop bags too.
This heavy duty leash from Fida is retractable to sixteen feet and is made from high strength nylon tape with a durable rustproof swivel hook and steady impact-resistant nylon plastic. Suitable for large dogs up to 110 lbs, this leash is easy to use with a quick lock, pause and unlock button that easily rolled on or off with your thumb. There is also a 360 degree swivel mechanism to ensure there is no tangling when your dog is walking or running next to you.
The rope in this dog leash is embedded with white, highly-reflective materials that increase security and visibility for your dog and you when you are out in the dark. The ergonomic handle is also anti-slip and very soft, ensuring you don’t have to endure any rope burn on longer walks. This dog leash comes in five different color and comes in four different sizes based on the size of your dog.
Another leash with a built in LED flashlight, this The Furry Pal retractable dog leash gives you not just an illuminated, safer walk, but it also comes with a bag dispenser and a free roll of trash bags so you can quickly clean up. This means you get three functions of a leash in one! The handle of the heavy duty plastic casing has been designed to ergonomically fit for a more comfortable walk, and with a simple button you can lock the leash into place without it getting jammed.
Designed for powerful dogs, this leash is best for dogs up to 50 lbs, as well as medium sized and smaller dogs, giving them maximum freedom while under your control. It extends to up to fifteen feet and is also very thick, so you can be sure it is durable and won’t break even if your dog pulls on it.
This durable retractable dog leash from Beastron is equipped with a 16 foot nylon tape leash that is not only strong and reliable but also retracts easily and smoothly. The dog leash braking system automatically adjusts the leash to a desired length, providing your doggie freedom but keeping you in control. Designed for medium to large dogs, this sturdy tape can hold a dog up to 110 lbs and is strong enough to withstand daily use. The case for the handle is made from strong ABS plastic and will also last you a long time and it comes with an ergonomic design and an anti-slip handle with a comfortable grip designed to reduce hand strain even on long walks.
The hands-free function of this leash allows your dog to run freely, but there is also a button to maintain or lock the length your dog at for safety reasons. There is also a free roll of waste bags and a bag holder included in this handle for ease. This leash is available in a blue or red color.
The Ruff ‘n Ruffus retractable dog leash is made using an extra-tough nylon ribbon with a chrome-plated snap hook reinforced at the joint, with strength to control dogs up to 110 lbs and durability to withstand daily use. With a simple one-lock button, your dog is free to room around on the 16 foot leash length but can be easily stopped and pulled in when needed. The handle comes in an anti-slip design and fits easily into your hand, and the retracting spring inside is very durable and will work in even freezing weather conditions.
The nylon ribbon comes with reflective strips so your dog can be seen at night and the 360° rotation means fewer tangles, even if your dog likes to run a lot. You also get a free dog waste bag dispenser and 1 roll of plastic waste bags with this retractable leash as well as a collapsable bowl, perfect for dogs who get thirsty on their walks!
Perfect for pet owners of two dogs, this Valkit retractable double dog leash actually has two leashes attached to it. With two non-tangling automatic retractable dog leashes, it allows you to walk two dogs at the same time even if they go in different directions. The 360 degree spin technology stops your pets from being tangled and each dog leash is colored with respective colored buttons, so you know which dog you are controlling. Perfect for dogs under 50 lbs, the ribbon is made from durable and environmentally ABS plastic and polyester and internal embedded stainless steel seiko bearings prevent the retractable tape from being stuck.
There is an anti-slip handle that allows you to adjust the distance between you and your dogs at anytime and pause and lock the leash too. There is also a reflective strip to ensure safety of you and your dogs. Available in either a black or pink color.
Tips When Walking With A Retractable Dog Leash
We have a few tips for you when walking with a retractable dog leash to ensure the leash does not get tangled and to make sure your walks are generally safer and easier for both you and your pet.
First and foremost, you should plan your walks before you go out. If you are going to a high traffic area, the leash could get tangled on the sidewalk and could end up hurting you or your dog. It is a good idea to plan your route and steer clear of any obstacles that could get in the way. Another tip is to pick a leash that has a high visibility. We mentioned this above, because it really is important, especially if you are walking at night. You want to make sure both you and your dog are seen.
You should choose a leash length that you can really handle, too. If your dog is very strong and you are not, don’t pick a really long leash because you won’t be able to pull them back in if either of you get into danger. It has also been advised that, if your dog is especially large or strong, you shouldn’t use a retractable dog leash on them at all. This is because they can jerk at the leash and pull you over, or snap the leash all together and you won’t be able to control what they do.
A retractable dog leash can be a great way to ensure your dog gets the freedom they deserve to sniff and explore when walking. Wherever you decide to walk, whether it be in the park or on the sidewalk, you can adjust the length of the leash and lock it into place to ensure your dog is always under control, but you still give them the option to stray when you are in more open areas. You should always take into consideration your dog’s size when purchasing a leash to ensure they aren’t going to hurt you or themselves, and you should ensure they are trained to come to you when you call their name before using a leash.
We know you will find a leash you love in the list above that’ll be both beneficial to you and your dog and make walking them even more fun.