Best Retractable Dog Leashes: 5 Super Practical Options

Most dogs can’t wait to head out the door on their daily walk. Walking your dog can be a rewarding experience that not only helps you to bond with your pup, but also gives the two of you some fresh air and exercise. For an enjoyable and safe time outside, you need to buy the right leash for your dog.

Using a good retractable leash for dogs gives your pup more freedom of movement than a standard leash. You and your dog are able to walk at different speeds, which allows your pup to explore wherever she wants without dragging you around too much. Retractable leashes can be fun, but have to be used properly and safely.

Quick Comparison: Top Retractable Leashes

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Buying a Safe Retractable Leash

A retractable leash has a handle, unlike many conventional leashes, which makes it easier and more comfortable for you to control. You need to make sure that the handle and housing are both well built and sturdy, especially if you have a strong dog.

You should be able to get a firm enough grip on the leash that it won’t slip out of your hand if your dog is straining.

Limiting hand contact to a thick handle also helps to cut back on accidents. It’s much safer to grip a handle than to wrap the cord of a leash around your hand. If your dog moves suddenly, a wound cord can potentially slice your hand open.

Be Careful!

Leash accidents have even been known to amputate fingers. Always grip the handle instead of the holding onto the leash itself. It is safest to use a model that has a flat, wide belt instead of a thin cord. A cord will get tangled and cut into things more easily.

Retractable leashes don’t just let your dog run around where she pleases. There wouldn’t be much of a point to a leash that doesn’t let you exert some amount of control over your pup.

There is a lock button on the handle that lets you stop the leash from unreeling, preventing your pup from running too far away. If you are in a crowded area or close quarters, such as a dog park, make sure to shorten the leash and keep it locked. This will give you more control over your dog.

Even though retractable leashes have this safety-locking feature, any dog owner knows how fast an excited puppy can move. If there’s a squirrel or even another dog, your pup can be off in a flash.

Here's a Good How-To Video​

So Remember, Your Pup Still Needs Some Training

A dog that is on retractable leashes should be trained to stick fairly close during walks and to come immediately when called. Otherwise, you may end up with another angry dog owner, or worse, a traffic accident.

If your dog is not leash trained, she may strain against her leash. Using a retractable model won’t necessarily fix this problem. Instead of straining against a six-foot leash, your dog will just be straining against the end of a twenty-foot line. 

It’s important to teach a dog not to strain against her leash, even with a retractable line. This can cause all sorts of discomfort and even neck injuries for your pup.

Straining against the leash isn’t just a problem for your dog’s neck. An aggressive dog, or one that is responding to a threat, will have its head and tail held high with a rigid body. This is exactly the sort of posture that a dog straining against its leash will have.

Other pups at the park may take this the wrong way, and you could end up with a scuffle. Always teach your dog how to walk properly with a leash on, even if it’s retractable.

If your leash does happen to break, your dog should be trained to return when called. Practice your pup’s tricks and commands while in her collar or out on a walk until you both have an emergency recall protocol down pat. Your authority should always override the temptation of that tasty looking squirrel a few feet away.

Buy a Strong Leash

Buying a retractable leash that is strong enough for your pooch will minimize the risk of the leash cord breaking. If anything, always go for a model that is designed for a larger dog than your own. A leash that is able to withstand up to a 60-pound dog is only suitable for a dog that is 60 pounds or less.

The cord and the collar clip should both be sturdy enough to handle your pup even at her most excited. Nylon is commonly used to make leash cords, but other tough materials such as leather can are acceptable too.

It’s a good idea to look for a leash that has a brightly colored cord. A black cord can be difficult to see, especially against grass or dirt. It is a danger to pedestrians or cyclists who don’t spot it.

Even worse, your pup can suffer a neck injury if someone accidentally trips over her leash. A neon cord is easier to spot against any background, and also easier to see at night. Some leashes also have reflective strips for further nighttime visibility.

A retractable leash can be exciting for your pup to use on your daily walk. It allows her to move around more freely, but also gives you less control. Always make sure that the leash you use is strong enough to handle your pup, and only use retractable leashes with trained dogs.

Quick Look at a Few QUality Retractable Dog Leashes

Flexi Explore Retractable Dog Leash

best retractable dog leashes

This leash is designed with one big puppy in mind. It can handle up to 110 pounds and extends up to 26 feet. This is one of the longest leashes on the market and will give curious pups plenty of freedom to explore.

The cord itself is made of double stitched nylon that is bite resistant. The retraction mechanism is smooth, although the braking mechanism can be a little rough on both your arm and your pup’s neck.

This leash is built to be heavy duty, but it is still prone to snapping if too much weight or tension is placed on it. If the cord seems at all worn, replace the leash immediately. As with any leash, do not use the Flexi Explore model for dogs that are any larger than the recommended weight.

Attmu Retractable Extendable Belt Cord Dog Leash

retractable dog leash reviews

This is a solidly constructed leash. The casing is sturdy, the belt is nylon, and the collar clip is solid metal. It is designed to withstand dogs up to 90 pounds and extends up to 16 feet.

The handle is ergonomically designed so that you can get a more solid grip on the leash, and the brake button is easy to reach quickly in case your dog bolts after a rabbit.

The belt itself is lightweight and flat to avoid abrasions and cuts while you’re out walking. This makes is a little bit weak, and it may not stand up to particularly strong dogs. The Attmu leash is advertised to withstand up to 90 pounds, but is realistically better suited to small and medium dogs.

GoPets Retractable Dog Leash

top retractable dog leashes

The GoPets leash is designed for small to medium dogs up to 45 pounds and extends 13 feet. The handle is extra large and no-slip, making it easy to handle in glove wearing weather conditions.

The leash itself is a thick nylon belt that reduces the risk of cuts and burns, but it is prone to getting stuck while retracting.

This is a good leash for puppies or dogs that are not entirely leash trained. It allows them to explore, but doesn’t extend too far. Even if your pup is great on a leash, this model would be good for walks in crowded places like dog parks.

Boshel Retractable Dog Leash

Boshel dog leash review

This is a strong leash that can withstand large dogs of up to 100 pounds without a problem. It extends up to 16 feet and has a strong nylon belt that will resist snapping when tugged at.

The handle has a comfortable, rubberized grip to prevent slipping, which is especially important if you’re handling a big dog.

The retracting mechanism on the Boshel leash works well, but it can be somewhat slow. This increases the danger of the cord getting tangled around itself or your dog’s legs. The Boshel model is better for a well-trained pup.

Flexi Neon Retractable Dog Leash

Flexi retractable leash review

This leash is specifically designed to be visible at any time of day. Both the housing and the leash cord are reflective, which means that you and your pup can be seen even at night. The casing can reflect car headlights from up to 160 yards away.

This model would be ideal for anyone who likes to take his or her pup on early morning or late night walks.

The Flexi Neon comes in a small, medium or large size depending on how big your dog is. The small model has a cord instead of a belt, which is more likely to cut into your hand if it gets wrapped around you.

The models for larger dogs have belts, but they fray quickly and are prone to snapping when used with strong dogs.

Image credits: Amazon.com

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