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Everything You Never Knew You Needed to Know About Dog Leashes

If you have a dog, chances are you own a leash or two. If you're like most dog owners, it's probably more like six!

We just can't help itself when it comes to buying stuff for our bestie, can we? But there's more to the average leash than meets the eye, so we're happy to present the DogParents.ca dog leash buying guide. Here's what you need to know about buying a leash for your dog.

How to Choose the Right Leash

Before we get into specifics about the type of leashes you might want to buy, there are a few general things you need to take into account about leashes. They are:

Make sure that the leash is comfortable in YOUR hand

There are lots of nylon leashes on the market, but many have sharper edges, and that can cut into your hand if you have a larger, stronger dog. Choose a woven cotton webbing, round rope or leather leash instead of nylon. Your hands will thank you!

Make sure that leash hardware is up for the job

There are different size leash clips out there, and they're designed for different sizes of dog. Smaller clips are fine for small dogs, but they could bend or snap with larger dogs. When in doubt, choose larger, stronger hardware, and if you can, examine it closely, either in person or by zooming in when shopping online. Hardware should be cast in one piece, and look sturdy and heavy for it's size.

Stitching matters

The stitching of your leash makes a big difference to the strength of the leash. There should be enough stitching, and it should be in a heavy duty nylon or similar thread. Leashes made for larger dogs might also have extra fabric or leather reinforcing at the joints. Remember - when your dog is pulling on the leash, that stitching needs to hold, so rather go with what looks like overkill than too little!

Leashes You Didn't Know You Needed

If you thought one relatively long, straight, simple leash was enough, think again! There are several special leashes on the market that you might need for your dog, including:

The Short Dog Leash

If you have a large, strong dog that typically pulls a lot on the leash, then a short dog leash is a fantastic investment!

This leash is little more than a strap or handle with a clip that attaches to their collar or harness, and it forces you to keep them on a literal short leash! Look for one that is heavy duty with big, chunky hardware, and opt for a hand friendly material like leather or cotton webbing to save your hand.

We love this affordable leather option from Fairwin Leather.

The Dog Seatbelt

Even if you walk your dog in parks or visit dog parks, you still need to get there! When you need to travel in the car, your dog needs to be safe! After all, seatbelts don't just save human lives! A dog seatbelt is a special leash that attaches to the seatbelts in your car.

They're best used with a harness rather than a collar, because the force of impact will be more evenly spread, rather than concentrated on thei neck.

We love this option from Vastar, which comes in a very affordable two pack, and has built in bungee cord for a little stretch if things go wrong, but there are many other options out there!

 
The Double Dog Leash

If you have to walk two dogs at once, you could use two separate leads, but unless they are some very well trained dogs, things could get messy fast!

A double dog leash solves this problem, by incorporating two leashes into one. There's a D ring to connect to a leash or a strap like the short leash above, and they are designed to keep both doggos walking at the same pace, and not to tangle. Which makes walkies with a couple of dogs a lot easier!

Vastar, a company that makes high quality dog leashes, make a great, very affordable version of the double dog leash.

The Extra Long Leash

 

If you are involved in training or tracking, you might need to invest in an extra long leash or recall leash.

These types of extra long dog leashes are used for a variety of dog training and dog sports applications. They're usually very long - 50 feet or more - and can be up to 100 feet.

If your dog is not very well trained, we don't recommend that you use an extra long leash, because they offer very little control, but if you are looking for one for your trained pup, we love this one from Pettom. It is nylon rather than cotton, but well trained doggos shouldn't pull too much. If yours isn't quite there yet, there are lots of other options or Amazon and elsewhere.

The Hands Free Leash

Another one for humans with well trained doggos, the hands free leash goes around your waist, freeing your hands for other things while you stroll.

You can still grab the leash if things get out of hand, but this is a good compromise between leashed and off leash for most situations.

This great option from Sparklypets includes a grab strap, is reflective, has built in stretch to make everything easier for you and your doggo, and comes in cool colours. It has an adjustable belt too, so it can be used for more than one human!

The Reflective Leash

If you jog or walk with your dog at night, early in the morning or in the Canadian winter, you need to consider their safety and yours.

A reflective leash is a great safety tool that can help you both be more visible when it's dark out.

This reflective leash from Maxpower Planet also includes a "traffic strap" that makes it easy to take tighter control when you need to.

The Retractable Leash

We generally don't recommend retracible leashes for anything other than very small, well trained dogs.

There are two reasons for that.

First, the leash handle itself is a weak spot. Most are made of two pieces of plastic that are joined, and repeated straining by a bigger dog can destroy that quickly.

Second, the thin nylon rope is a danger. If something goes wrong and you have to grab it, you could be cut badly. It can also hurt other people or dogs.

If you do have a small to medium sized dog and want to use a retractable leash, we recommend something that's built to be heavy duty, like this Tug 360 version.

 

 

Like most dog gear, there is no one size fits all leash. Different dogs behave differently, and you will need different leashes based on their behaviour, size, level of training and more.

But whatever you do buy, you will need at least one leash. Most parts of Canada only allow dogs off leash in designated off leash areas, and with bears, coyotes and other critters lurking in the woods (we're looking at YOU skunks!) you need to keep your dog under control and in sight when you're out and about.

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