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Choosing the Right Leash for Your Dog


Article by Kate Baxendale

Photography by Stock Images + Provided

A leash is one of the most important tools you'll need as a dog owner. It's how you keep your dog safe when you are outside your home—and in most places, it's the law to keep your dog on a leash in public. But how do you choose the right type of leash for your dog? Keep reading to learn more.

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Standard Leash

This is the most common type of leash you'll find at pet stores. Standard leashes come in lengths of 4 feet or 6 feet and widths between 3/8ths of an inch to 1 inch. They come in a variety of materials, such as nylon, leather, rope and hemp.

Nylon – Nylon leashes are affordable and easy to clean. They can cause burns on your hands if you have to grab the leash when your dog unexpectedly pulls. They aren't as flexible as other materials, and some dogs can chew through them. Some nylon leashes come with reflective materials for walking your dog at night.

Leather – Leather leashes are high-quality and comfortable to hold. They can be difficult to clean. Choose a leather leash that's water-resistant to prevent cracking.

Rope – Leashes made from mountain climbing rope are a popular choice for their durability and comfort. Rope leashes have a little bit of give, which is helpful for when you dog suddenly pulls.

Hemp – Hemp is an eco-friendly leash material that's also good if your dog has any allergies. It's anti-microbial and naturally odor resistant.

Retractable Leash

Retractable leashes might seem like a good idea. They give your dog plenty of slack to roam while still being tethered to you. However, retractable leashes teach dogs that pulling on the leash is acceptable. They can also harm both humans and dogs. The handles are bulky and uncomfortable to hold. They also don't give you the best control of your dog. Most veterinarians don't recommend retractable leashes, but you can use one if you do so responsibly and with a well-trained dog. Most vets recommend a long-lead leash to give dogs more freedom instead, like this.

READ MORE: Retractable Leashes – Useful or Harmful?

Adjustable Leash

This is a great option for when you need to temporarily shorten your dog's leash, tether your dog to a tree or your body or for walking multiple dogs using one leash. Adjustable leashes have clasps on both ends and rings at different intervals on the leash's length instead of a regular handle. The size of the handle and the length of the leash depends on where you attach one of the leash's clasps.

Chain Leash

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If your dog tends to chew on his leash, a chain leash is a good option. They are uncomfortable to chew and will deter this unwanted behavior. Chain leashes are heavy and can cause discomfort for both you and your dog, however.

Split Leash

If you're walking more than one dog, a split leash is right for you. You can walk your dogs together without juggling two leashes.

Slip Lead/Martingale Leash

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A slip lead is a leash and a collar in one. Instead of attaching the leash to your dog's collar with a clasp, you slip the end of the leash around your dog's head. The handle is looped through a metal ring, which, when tightened, creates a slip knot around the dog's neck. These are easier than trying to attach a clasp to an excited dog's collar, and they come in handy when trying to gain control of a loose dog, especially one that's not wearing a collar.