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Retractable leashes can be a great tool for your dog, but it's important to understand the pros and cons of using one before you determine if it's the right fit for you. They're a great way to give your dog more freedom while you're out exploring together, but you'll still have some control over your pet so they're not at risk to run away. Hikes, backyards, parks, beaches, and other large outdoor spaces are the perfect places for a retractable leash — they're often places that require leashes, but also have lots of fun scents your dog will want to get into.
However, you don't want to use a retractable leash without a harness. Since dogs will have a long lead with a retractable leash, they have more room to run and can do it quickly — so if your dog likes to dart around, use a harness to ensure there's no choking issues. You also don't want to use a retractable leash if you are in a city or crowded area, or if you're in a dog park and unsure how your pup is around other dogs yet. Any place you need to have control over where they go, skip the retractable option.
However, if you love going on long walks to explore nature with your pet, this is the perfect leash for you: it will give you the peace of mind that your dog won't get lost or end up somewhere they can get hurt, and your dog will be excited to roam more freely than they would with a traditional leash. To pick the right one for you, make sure you go by the weight of your dog. We rounded up our top picks here, so find the perfect option below :
1. Best 10-Foot Option for Tiny Dogs
This tangle-free option from Tug has an easy-to-operate lock mechanism and a 10-foot lead with easy retraction. It comes in so many fun colors and it's great for smaller dogs, and the comfortable grip will ensure it won't slip out of your hands.
2. Best 16-Foot Option for Small Dogs
With 16 feet of nylon tape, this is the perfect pick for dogs up to 26 pounds. This leash is embedded with a reflective safety strip for added visibility, and has quick lock, a pause, and a roll-on and roll-off button that's easy to set off with just your thumb. It's comfortable to hold, and won't get tangled up, either. One of our editors uses it for her chihuahua-pinscher mix and swears by it's easy-to-use locking mechanisms.
3. Best Option for Medium and Large Dogs
This leash works great for dogs up to 110 pounds, making it a viable option for most pets out there. It's wear-resistant, has a smooth belt that prevents tangles, and has one-touch unlocking powers. We love that this company also gives 3% of its profits to a no-kill animal shelter, too.
4. Best Heavy-Duty Option for Dogs Over 110 Pounds
If you have a dog that's bigger than 110 pounds, finding a sturdy leash is hard — but this one by Kong is heavy-duty and made for the biggest pups. It has an intuitive locking system and can withstand the toughest pullers. Reviewers with big dogs (this one supports up to 130 pounds) or dogs that pull and tug constantly say this is the best option out there: "For anyone who has a bigger, strong dog that likes to chase after any wildlife he may encounter, this is by far the leash for you!"
5. A Heavy-Duty Leash Perfect for Nighttime Walks
Perfect for dog owners that like to explore the great outdoors at night, this leash has a thick reflective tape and a reflective ring on the handle for the ultimate nighttime visibility. It has a 16-foot lead and is safe for dogs up to 110 pounds. It also has a D-ring for keys or poop bags, and is comfortable to hold.
6. An Option With A Waste Bag Holder
This large retractable leash has a 16-foot lead and an integrated waste bag holder, so it's something you can grab and go on an adventure without the need to pack much else. It holds two bags and has a soft, comfortable grip.
This piece was published on October 7, 2021 and was recently updated by Alida Nugent.
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