Dogs are animals that like to explore and enjoy themselves during walks. Unfortunately, most dog leads don’t allow them to do that as well as retractable dog leashes. These fantastic leads allow your pooch to wander a bit farther away from you while you can still maintain control and not worry about their safety.
But as you might imagine, retractable leashes for dogs come with a fair share of problems as well. I’m sure there’s no need to explain how dangerous it can be to allow extra wandering space to an aggressive dog. In this article, we’ll discuss how to safely use these leads. Along with that, we’ll also review some of the top options in the market.
What Is a Retractable Dog Lead?
A retractable leash for dogs is a leash that’s longer and retractable than the average lead. This serves to provide 20-30 feet of extra roaming space for dogs. In order to make the leash retractable, manufacturers coil the leash on a wheel that will pull the extended leash back with the push of a button.
So, in theory, a retractable lead should allow your pooch extra space to wander away, but should also allow you to pull it back when need be. Usually, manufacturers use strong materials like nylon in making the leash. On the other hand, the casing is often made of plastic. So, these are pretty sturdy and won’t break.
But that doesn’t change the fact that mechanical failures certainly are possible with these. Firstly, the retractable dog leash–or its holding in the plastic case–should never break. Even the clip that hooks onto your dog’s collar should be of prime quality. Lastly, the internal ratchet and wheel should have the ability to withstand some brutal tugging.
Are Retractable Leashes Safe?
Retractable dog leashes are safe if used properly. The only problems caused by these leads are due to human negligence. But that doesn’t change the fact that retractable dog leash injuries are certainly possible and that they pose a threat to not just your dog but the people around it as well.
Firstly, it’s not at all a good idea to provide extra walking space in a crowded area. If you have unaware pedestrians walking by, a retractable leash is a bad idea. It’s also not recommended to be used anywhere where your dog would be close to traffic. These are the places where you want to keep your pooch as close to you as possible. You should never use a retractable lead in an awfully congested and confined area. This can wreak havoc if your attention diverts from your mutt.
An important part of a retractable lead is its ability to retract effectively, but this can cause problems as well. A lot of times, in an emergency situation, dog owners retract the leash and tend to pull too hard on it so as to pull their dog away. This can even lead to fatal windpipe injuries in dogs.
As you can see, retractable leads are completely safe when used appropriately. There are certain situations when you shouldn’t be using them. With that said, always be on your guard when using a retractable lead.
How to Choose the Right Dog Retractable Leash?
To choose the right retractable dog leash, you need to look at a lot of factors like comfort, grip, size, visibility, and material. In this section, we’ll be discussing each of those.
Comfort is of supreme importance for both you and your dog. When it comes to your dog, the retractable leash should always allow a smooth and easy extension. Any leash that jerks too much and doesn’t dissipate sudden pulling movements would certainly hurt your dog. Remember that a lead often attaches to a dog’s collar (unless you’re using a harness) and sudden movements can often cause severe neck injuries for dogs.
You need to always look for an ergonomic design that provides a smooth, easy-to-use handle so you can hold the leash comfortably. Also, some leashes are made of a bungee material that should dissipate much of the tugging force experienced on walks. This force isn’t just dangerous for your dog’s neck but your arm and shoulder as well.
This point reinforces the importance of an ergonomically designed handle. Such a handle will take into account your hand’s position and will provide easy holding for you.
At the same time, it’ll make sure there’s minimum pressure on your hand and that most of the tugging force is dissipated before it reaches you. Many handles are manufactured with the same material as the casing. However, a few companies use separate materials like leather or rubber for the handle.
We have also reviewed a range of hands-free leashes ideal for joggers and adventure-lovers.
The size of the leash is of paramount importance. You might be inclined towards buying the longest retractable leash for dogs. But that’s not really a smart option. In fact, the longer your leash is, the more dangerous it can be for you and your dog.
Opponents of retractable dog leashes maintain that providing so much space to your dog is dangerous because, at the end of the day, they’re animals that can attack and harm others. By increasing the length of your leash, you’re allowing your dog to walk farther away from you and hence it’d be harder to take control of it when needed.
Also, don’t forget that an awfully long leash for a small or toy dog would most certainly weigh it down, making walks more of a chore than playtime. If you own two or more dogs, you should invest in a quality coupler.
Visibility is a major factor in night walks. We certainly agree with the fact that night walks are rather unsafe. That’s because it’s harder to spot dogs in a dim-lit street. So, the chances of road accidents surely increase at that time.
However, if you only get time to walk your dog at night, then you should go with a leash that has reflective stitching. This stitching reflects light and is quite apparent in the dark. So, it’s more noticeable which should help your dog avoid accidents.
Lastly, we have to consider the material of your leash. I’m sure there’s no need to explain why that’s important since the material of your dog’s retractable leash is what actually decides its strength. Usually, manufacturers use nylon in such leashes. However, not all nylon types are made equal. In fact, the strength of nylon is dependent on its denier (D) rating. For example, 600D Nylon would be stronger than 300D Nylon.
Do keep in mind that the worst possible scenario with any leash would be if it breaks on a walk. In this case, you’ll have absolutely no control over your dog unless you’ve taught it to walk back to you when needed. So, make sure you’re choosing the strongest leash out there alongside considering if your dog needs extra training.
10 Best Retractable Dog Leashes
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of retractable leashes for dogs. Narrowing them down and choosing the best can truly be a headache for you. But don’t worry, we’ve already done most of the legwork for you. Without further ado, here are the ten best retractable leashes for dogs:
1. BABYLTRL Upgraded Retractable Dog Leash
This heavy-duty retractable dog leash is truly a gem. With a 16 feet long leash, it provides just enough space for the dog to roam around without wandering out of your control. According to Babyltrl, it’s designed for dogs up to 110 lbs. So, there’s no doubt in our mind that it’s sturdy. What’s more, it comes with a strong, chrome-plated karabiner, which allows it to clip firmly to the dog. With a case made of ABS plastic accompanied by steel bearings in its internal working, this is truly one of the strongest options on this list.
This leash also comes with a whole bunch of freebies including a dog collar, waste bag dispenser, and a collapsible bowl. But that’s not all, you’ll also get a 30-day money-back guarantee with this leash. Customers have loved how strong and sturdy the Babyltrl retractable leash is. From its rubberized grip to chrome-plated clips, it’s designed with big, strong dogs in mind.
2. Peteast Retractable Leash for Small Breeds
This retractable leash by Peteast is ideal for dogs under 26 lbs. Providing a 10 feet leash, this one is tangle-free, allowing your little buddy to roam around freely. It also comes with a chrome-plated clip and has a single-handed breaking mechanism.
The best thing about the Peteast Small Breed leash is that it’s designed with small dogs in mind. It not only comes with a smaller leash but is also built lighter than others. What’s more, the size is compact enough that you can easily slide it in the side-pocket of your travel bag.
However, the handle is a bit small for an adult’s hand to fit through. Those with smaller sized hands or are younger will be able to use this lead, but adults may struggle.
3. Petacc Anti-bite Heavy Duty Pet Walking Leash
This chew-proof dog leash works for dogs up to 110 lbs. But despite being a heavy-duty dog leash, it functions great for medium and small dogs as well. The best thing about the Petacc anti-bite walking leash is that even if the leash tears, you can just cut the torn part and use the rest of it. That’s why dog owners consider it one of the best retractable leashes for chewers with this unique design feature. But not just that, this dog leash contains reflective stitching as well. That’s an important safety feature that can even prove to be life-saving for you and your pooch when walking them at night.
The anti-slip handle is right up there in the list of things to love about the Petacc Retractable Leash. Its casing is made from durable ABS plastic which makes it a durable option. With an ABS plastic handle and sturdy steel clips, it’s truly one of the strongest retractable dog leashes. However, it’s not the most lightweight option out there. That’s understandable considering the type of materials used in it.
4. Tug Tangle-Free Heavy Duty Retractable Dog Leash
The Tug Patented Dog Leash comes in 3 different sizes; Small that works for dogs under 33 lbs, Medium for dogs under 55 lbs, and Large for canines up to 110 lbs. This is great since small dog owners wouldn’t have to carry around a large and heavy retractable leash for their dogs. One of the best things about this leash is its patented design that allows a 360-degree tangle-free walking experience. It also comes with a quick-lock feature for emergencies.
Overall, customers have showered this leash with praise. They say it makes daily walks easier and also holds up well against tugging. What’s more, it’s the best option for people with larger hands, despite having an ergonomic handle.
5. QiMH Retractable Leash
The QiMH Retractable Leash comes with a 16 ft Nylon leash that provides enough space for dogs of all kinds. The manufacturer advertises it to work for “powerful large dogs”. So, it’s bound to be quite sturdy and durable. It includes the safety One Button Lock System that makes handling your dog that much easier. With just the push of a button, you can retract, stop, or fix the length of your leash. Interestingly, it also comes with an ergonomic, non-slip handle, providing maximum comfort and support.
This leash comes with a bunch of freebies, including a collapsible water bowl and a collar. The reviews for this leash are overwhelmingly positive, with many dog owners saying that this dog lead makes walks enjoyable for both of them.
6. Flexi Giant Tape Retractable Leash
The Giant Tape Leash by Flexi is “giant” in the true sense. With a 26 feet long leash, it’s easily one of the longest in this list. This leash has a tape form instead of the usual broad nylon leashes that we’re used to. Dogs up to 110 lbs should do well with the Flexi giant. Although this unit looks minimal, it’s actually quite durable. It has a strong, chrome-plated snap hook and a soft-grip handle. Both these qualities make it easier and more practical to use. Not to mention, the leash comes in a neon color that adds to the safety of this unit when walking your dog at night.
The Flexi retractable leash comes with a free safety collar and a Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty. Although they don’t provide a refund for chewing or mishandling, any problematic units have been stated that they will be replaced. Buyers love how tough this leash is. Many of them have used the flexi retractable for over a year with the leash still going strong.
7. Fida Heavy Duty Pet Walking Retractable Leash
Fida is one of the best in the business, and there’s no questioning why. With this 16 feet long leash, they truly deserve to be on this list. The rust-proof swivel hook of this retractable dog lead will stay good for years. One of the best things about this dog leash is that it comes in a variety of sizes catering to all types and sizes of dogs. What’s more, it has a high-quality internal coil spring that retracts the leash uniformly. Another great feature of this product is the reflective stitching on the leash. So, with the Fida Heavy Duty Leash, you can easily walk your dog in the night as well.
An overwhelming majority of customers have loved this retractable dog leash. Most of them commend the lightweight nature of this leash that makes it useful for dogs of all sizes. As you can imagine, any leash that weighs a dog down is a worthless one.
8. Happy & Polly Retractable Dog Walking Leash with Flashlight
This is a walking leash with a flashlight for easy use at night. The flashlight not only makes it easier to see for your dog but also helps attract attention at night. This is useful since it reduces the chances of roadside accidents. Happy & Polly do things a bit unconventionally with this retractable leash for dogs, by making it with bungee material. This material helps dissipate the jerk your arm feels when your dog takes off unexpectedly. Also, they have stitched a fishing line on both sides to add to its durability.
The Happy & Polly walking leash comes with a free magic box that you can use to store treats, poop bags or anything else that you find relevant. What we love about that box is that it’s quite handy and can clip onto your belt or pocket which makes this very convenient.
9. EC.TEAK Retractable Leash for Dogs
EC.TEAK has come up with a 26 feet long retractable leash for medium and large dogs. The manufacturer boasts of the quality of nylon used in its leash by mentioning that it comes from suppliers of the automotive seat belt industry. Also, they maintain that their leash makes no noise in coiling or recoiling. It works well for dogs up to 110 lbs, so it’s certainly a heavy-duty option. What’s more, their handle is ergonomically designed to provide the smoothest walking experience for both you and your dog.
Apparently, EC.TEAK has guaranteed that if you face any issues with the product at any point in time, you can simply get it replaced or refunded. Certainly, there are terms and conditions that go with this. But overall, it’s quite a safe buy.
10. Flexi Neon Leash
Finally, we have Flexi with yet another interesting retractable dog leash. This one extends for 16 feet, as opposed to the 26 feet giant variant that we reviewed previously. But this doesn’t make the 16 feet variant any less impressive. In fact, in some features like reflective stitching, this one stands out. The manufacturer recommends this leash for dogs up to 44 lbs, which should cover most medium-sized breeds.
The 44lb weight limit only covers half of medium-sized dog breeds. However, there are many medium dog breeds that weigh around 50-60 lbs. So this leash is great for toy, small, and some medium-sized dogs. Make sure you weigh your dog before buying this leash since it’s not meant to endure a 50-pounder’s weight.
Retractable Dog Leads – FAQs
Here are the remaining commonly searched questions about retractable leashes for dogs.
Do Puppies do Well with Retractable Leashes?
Puppies do well with retractable leashes. However, it’s up to the owner to train their dog for getting used to a retractable leash. It’s not common practice for dogs to walk on such leashes, so you’ll have to take initiative and give your dog some time to get accustomed. Don’t take your dog in a busy area with this leash before you’ve given it some days to learn how to work with a retractable dog leash.
Bear in mind that your puppy won’t be able to carry a lot of weight with it. So, if you’re buying a leash for your puppy, make sure it’s lightweight and small.
Can I use a Harness with my Retractable Dog Lead?
You can use a harness with your retractable leash. It can be argued that harnesses are more appropriate to use with retractable dog leashes. A harness would function perfectly since it would help dissipate any pulling force evenly around your dog’s back. Without a harness, a jerking force could potentially cause a fatal injury to your dog’s neck.
All dog owners know their pooches the best. So, if your dog is a tugger, then using a harness is your best option.
Are retractable dog leashes dangerous?
Retractable dog leashes are not dangerous as long as you’re using them properly.
Firstly, make sure you’re giving your dog some time to learn how to walk with this leash before taking them to a busy area. Secondly, never take your eye off your dog when walking it on a retractable leash. Most accidents occur with such leashes because owners aren’t focusing on their dogs. Finally, make sure you’re never using this leash in a small space. You don’t want to give your do free access to explore a whole room.
How do retractable dog leashes work?
Retractable dog leashes have a coiling wheel inside a plastic casing. This wheel coils or uncoils the leash. In coiling mode, your dog can keep pulling on the leash, allowing it to uncoil from the wheel and extend out of the plastic casing. All retractable leashes have a button that allows you to coil the leash back into the casing, thereby stopping your dog from extending it further. There are a lot of other options in a retractable dog leash like the lock button which fixes the length of the leash.
Retractable dog leashes can be beneficial to those walking dogs in parks but require extra control over them. These leads, like any product, come with pros and cons. If this is right for your dog, consider all of the features we have mentioned to find the perfect retractable dog leash for you and your pup.