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Get a new leash on life.
Americans are spending more on their pets than ever before, according to a March 2019 report from the American Pet Products Association (APPA). With people shelling out upwards of $72 billion on their four-legged friends in 2018, up 4% from the previous year, APPA predicts that in this year alone we’ll spend more than $16 billion on pet supplies such as beds, collars, leashes, toys and other gear.
When it comes to leashes, the market is saturated with countless options with features like reflectiveness, adjustability, harnesses, multi-dog capabilities and even designer branding. With so many choices, figuring out which leash is the most suitable for you and your canine can be bewildering. That’s why MarketWatch asked vets and dog experts for their top picks.
Best retractable leash: MigooPet Heavy Duty Retractable Leash, about $16
Outfitted with an ergonomic handle and 16 feet of nylon ribbon, this easy-to-lock leash features a tangle-free design and comes in two sizes that correspond to a dog’s size. “Retractable leashes give your dog more freedom of movement,” says San Diego-based veterinarian Dr. Meghan McIntosh. Rated 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon, this leash comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
It’s also important to ensure that the leash is “an appropriate length based on your dog’s age, size, weight, training status, personality, temperament and current medical conditions,” McIntosh — who adds that the leash should be comfortable to hold so that you feel confident grasping it tightly without injury. Read more about this leash here.
Best reflective leash: BAAPET, 5-foot Strong Dog Leash, about $10
With more than 4,600 reviews on Amazon and 4.7 out of 5 stars, this heavy-duty leash is made of rock climbing rope and highly reflective threads for safer nighttime strolls. Measuring 5 feet in length, this leash comes with a padded foam handle for a comfortable grip and more control when walking, running or training a dog. “Reflective leashes are a wonderful idea because it improves visibility in low-light situations and it could save you or your dog’s life,” says McIntosh. Read more about this leash here.
Best dual-dog leash: Peteast Double Dog Leash, about $13
Woven with nylon and polyester for durability, this lightweight leash can withstand dogs up to 120 pounds. At nearly 50 inches long, this no-tangle design makes it easy to walk two dogs at once and its foam handle means leashburn is a thing of the past. It has 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon and weighs just eight ounces. Jessica Waldman, medical director of California Animal Rehabilitation (CARE), tells MarketWatch,“A lighter leash and one that is more narrow is better for smaller dogs.” Read more about this leash here.
Best chain leash: Beirui Premium 4-Foot/6-Foot Chain Leash, about $16
With an anti-rust, anti-tarnish and break-free promise, this argon-welded leash has a padded leather handle and a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Amazon. “Chain-style leashes are most appropriate for dogs that chew the leash — but watch out for tooth fractures,” says McIntosh, who says a chain leash with a padded handle is usually very durable and affordable. Read more about this leash here.
Another pro tip: Using a harness can increase leash effectiveness, McIntosh says. “If you’re currently training your dog or if your dog has behavioral problems, a harness helps prevent dogs from pulling and limits pressure on their neck.” She suggests the Easy Walk Harness by PetSafe to keep owners, their dogs and others nearby safe.
Best travel/airport leash: PetSafe Gentle Leader Head Collar, about $14
“There’s no one-leash-fits-all, so when traveling, I’d use whatever is necessary to have perfect control over your dog.” Andrea Chavez, chief executive of Pawscout, a free app that helps lost pets find their owners, tells MarketWatch. She recommends the Gentle Leader for dogs that pull, because the headcollar places gentle pressure on calming points which eliminates uncomfortable pressure on the throat. Read more about this leash here.
“Harnesses should be non-restrictive and thus go around the neck and around the ribcage, not over the shoulder joints. Harnesses preserve necks and pets have lots of neck changes and pain as they age,” says Waldman.
Best leather leash: Soft Touch Collars – Leather Braided Dog Leash, about $20
“Avoid cotton or woven materials and go for something with longevity like leather,” says Jeff Franklin, owner and operator of dog training organization Cobra Canine. Handmade and hand-braided with naturally tanned leather and no dyes, stains or chemicals, this simple leather leash has solid brass hardware with a lacquered finish to prevent rust. Available in two lengths and a variety of colors, each leash has a soft padded handle and has a 4.6 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, along with more than 830 customer reviews. Read more about this leash here.
Plus, people need to consider a leash as a multi-purpose tool as opposed to an accessory, says Franklin. “Avoid anything with too many bells and whistles that isn’t tough and durable for the long haul of your pup’s life,” says Franklin.
Best leash for runners: Stunt Puppy Stunt Runner Hands Free Leash, about $44
“My wife and I are huge fans of Stunt Puppy leashes and collars. They have a myriad of colors and different options depending on whether you have a one-, two- or three-dog household,” says Cobra Canine’s Franklin. For people who enjoy running or hiking with their dogs, these leads made with the same durable stitching used on harnesses and firefighters’ gear can be worn around the waist, they’re light and allow for hands-free exercise. Read more about this leash here.