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Are Retractable Dog Leashes Good?

Is the anti-retractable leash hype legitimate? Or are retractable dog leashes safe, more convenient, and better options than traditional leashes?

This article will explore the benefits and potential downsides of retractable leashes, focusing on why you should consider using one, when you should consider using it, and what you need to do to make sure that a retractable leash will be safe for both yourself and your dog.

When you’re buying a new dog leash, you have two major options—a traditional, fixed-length dog leash, or a retractable dog leash.

Using a retractable leash gives you advantages, including flexibility and options to allow your dog to roam, making your walks more fun, more interesting, and far more likely to happen.

For our review, let's first look at why you would want to consider getting and using a retractable leash.

Why Would You Want to Use a Retractable Leash?

As was briefly touched on, one of the biggest upsides of a retractable dog leash is the flexibility.

If you live in an urban area, for example, with a retractable leash, you can keep your dog at short range when cars or pedestrians are around.

Then, when you reach the park or an open area, you can give them more roaming space while still following any leash regulations.

With the simple push of a button, you can bring your dog closer or, alternatively, let them explore.

Are Retractable Leashes Bad for Dogs?

Some pet owners fear retractable leashes are bad for their dogs, but the reality is that they're not at all dangerous, as long as they're being used properly.

In fact, retractable leashes aren’t inherently dangerous at all, and to explain why in detail, let's go through each of the safety concerns you may come across when researching them online.

A few common safety concerns regarding retractable leashes include:

  • There isn’t enough control: There is actually more control with a retractable leash, as long as you’re paying attention to your dog and using it properly.
  • They’re more likely to snap: Only an ultra-poor quality retractable leash is more likely to snap. A leash can snap if it’s worn-out, broken, or cheap, especially if the actual leash component is made with a cord instead of tape or ribbon. The potential for a good-quality leash that’s the appropriate size for your dog to snap is low.
  • A dog will learn to pull on a retractable leash: If you’re actively engaged with your dog when you’re walking him, the leash won’t teach him to pull. You’ll need to manage your dog on their leash, but they might not be the right option for a dog already prone to excessive pulling.
  • These leashes lead to injuries: All types of leashes, retractable and otherwise, can lead to injuries. As long as you’re keeping an eye on your dog and you’re watching what they’re doing on your walks, this shouldn’t be a concern.

Pros and Cons of Retractable Dog Leashes

Your dog is a member of your family, so you want to get him or her the best leash possible. With that in mind, we suggest reviewing the following pros and cons of using a retractable leash to make sure that you're fully aware of their benefits, and potential downsides, before you make a decision.

Pros

Upsides of using a retractable dog leash include:

  • They provide more flexibility to navigate different situations with your dog.
  • You can offer your dog more room to roam in appropriate situations.
  • If your dog is well-behaved, a retractable leash can work well.
  • If you don’t have a lot of dexterity in your hands, you may find a retractable leash is a better option for you.
  • When your dog can act as a scout and walk ahead of you, it boosts their confidence.

Cons

Possible downsides or concerns about retractable leashes are:

  • If you aren’t paying attention to your dog, a retractable leash could hurt their neck. The only way this would potentially happen is if you weren’t watching your dog and they pulled away at full-speed. If you’re managing the length of the leash, that shouldn’t happen.
  • Some worry that retractable leashes don’t give them enough control, but you’ll find the opposite is true. If you’re paying attention, you can easily give more slack or prevent the leash from getting too long as the situation requires.
  • A cord-style leash may be more likely to break than a traditional leash. With that being said, tape and ribbon-style leashes are very durable types of retractable leashes and are unlikely to break.

What Makes Retractable Dog Leashes Better Than Traditional Fixed-Length Leashes?

Some of the features of retractable dog leashes that make them better than a traditional leash include:

  • Flexibility, giving you the option of allowing your dog to roam more widely during walks
  • You can easily transition from crowded areas where you want a shorter leash length to open areas with the same leash
  • Using a retractable leash can help you be more mindful and spend more time actually bonding with your dog while walking them
  • A good-quality retractable leash is durable and will last a long time

How to Pick the Best Retractable Dog Leash

When you’re choosing a dog leash that’s retractable, look at the following features:

  • Durability is a top priority, especially if your dog is big or strong. You want a leash that’s going to be able to take some wear and tear.
  • The handle should feel ergonomically comfortable for you. You want something with an angled design so you can control your dog and something you feel comfortable holding onto.
  • Look for a swivel clip, which is a feature that helps prevent tangles. You also want a clip that’s easy to open so you can attach it quickly and seamlessly to your dog’s collar or harness. You want a clip that will stay securely closed even with some tension, and you should have a clip that’s size-appropriate relative to your dog.
  • With the leash style, the three primary options are tape, ribbon, or cord. Tape and ribbon tend to be the most long-lasting and durable, especially if your dog is on the larger side.
  • How much room do you want your dog to be able to roam at a maximum? This will help you decide on the right leash length.
  • There are weight ratings on leashes. You should go a bit above your dog’s actual weight, especially if your dog is prone to pulling or running.
  • Look for a leash with a brake control rather than a lock control. A brake control lets you set an upper limit on how far your dog can go at any time. A lock control, on the other hand, lets you set the length of the leash to a specific length instead of a max limit. This can be risky.
  • A tangle-free design will include internal mechanisms located in the handle. These features are usually not found in cheaper, lower-quality leases.
  • Do you walk your dog at night? If so, choose a leash with a reflector or a built-in light.

Which Retractable Dog Leash Should I Buy?

To make your retractable leash shopping experience as simple as possible, choose a leash from Pet & Cuddle, where we design products to offer maximum support and comfortability for both dog owners and their pets.

Our top-rated retractable dog leashes are safe, comfortable and affordable, and designed to suit the needs of 99% dog owners. These leashes are strong enough to keep your little ball of fur safe and secure while providing them will plenty of room to roam so that they can explore, build confidence, and remain happy, healthy pups.

Shop for your next dog harness and retractable leash at Pet & Cuddle!