You and your four-legged friends will love these top picks.

By Jennifer Aldrich
September 15, 2020
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For anyone who owns a dog, or has in the past, you know one of the most exciting parts of a pup's day is when it's time for a walk. (For many pets, just saying the word "walk" gives them a surge of excitement.) Walks are an excellent form of exercise for both you and your pup, and it's also a way for your four-legged friend to burn off some energy. Before you take your dog out, you'll need to get them a proper leash. (And yes, you should always have one on your dog when you leave the house.) But just like all items, not all leashes are the same, and some can even be dangerous for your beloved pet.

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What To Look for in a Dog Leash

There are a few things to consider when selecting the one that's good for you and your dog, says Tory Waxman, VMD, the chief veterinary officer of Sundays, a dog food company. First, you should check out the material. "Leather has traditionally been used for many years due to its ease of handling and strength," she explains. "There are now many great leather-alternatives out there as well." She adds that some people might also like the feel of a rope leash. However, some of the non-leather leashes can become slick when they're wet, so make sure to keep that in mind.

The second thing you should be thinking about is the length. "In general, I recommend using a 4-foot leash," Waxman says. "I find that a 6-foot leash, especially in crowded urban areas, makes it harder to control your dog, and you end up bunching up some of the leash in your hand." If you live in a remote area, or if you're very tall and your dog is relatively small, she says a longer leash is fine. Whichever option you decide on, make sure it is not a retractable leash, Waxman warns. "They pose an enormous danger to both humans and dogs. They provide minimal control, and your dog can quickly dart into the street or other danger before you can press the button on the leash to stop them," she says. Waxman adds that they can easily malfunction and even injure the owner, the dog, or an unsuspecting bystander.

To help you narrow down the many options on the market, here are the best dog leashes that you'll use for many walks to come.

The Best Dog Leashes

Courtesy of Wild One

Waxman likes this comfortable, lightweight option that's made out of coated nylon. It's waterproof, dirt and odor resistant, and easy to clean in case your pup likes to get messy. It comes in two sizes, standard and small, and is available in seven colors.

Buy It: Wild One Leash ($58, Wild One)

Courtesy of Chewy

Not only is leather Waxman's favorite material, but it can also be a stylish option like this two-toned leash. It comes in two sizes and six different color combinations. One five-star reviewer notes it's one of the softest leather leashes they've ever had, and another praises its durability.

Buy It: Soft Touch Leather Braided Dog Leash ($28, Chewy)

Courtesy of Downtown Dog MD / Etsy

This option is so pretty, you might not even want to take it outside. The item is made from natural cotton and can be hand-washed with lukewarm water. It comes in three finishes (solid, ombré, and marbled) in 16 different sizes.

Buy It: Harvest Cotton Rope Dog Leash (from $24, Etsy)

Courtesy of Vac for Pets / Etsy

The next time you or a loved one gets a new dog, this sleek option would make a great gift. The leash features leather and brass nameplates. It's available in four sizes and two finishes. (You can get it with or without the personalization.) One five-star buyer notes that the leash has "amazing craftmanship."

Buy It: Name Plate Leather Dog Leash (from $25, Etsy)

Courtesy of Amazon

If you're working on training your pup, this leash is your best option as professional trainers and handlers use it. The leash is made of super comfortable rope that's waterproof and machine-washable. You can choose from 29 different colors in four sizes.

Buy It: Mendota Products Snap Leash ($14, Amazon)

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