Buying a leash for your pet is not terribly complicated, but a few tips and tricks may make the task easier. It is important to consider the type of animal you have, the activities you participate in, and the type of collar you use when you pick out a leash. Most frequently, a leash is used to control a dog, although leashes can also be used on cats, rabbits, and other animals. When buying a leash for a small animal, there are not nearly as many consideration, and a generic nylon snap on leash is probably sufficient for your needs.
The first thing to think about when buying a leash is the material. Leashes can be made from nylon, leather, and cotton, and each material has different advantages. Cotton and nylon leashes, for example, can be washed, meaning that if they get muddy or wet, they can still be cleaned. Leather is strong and can be a stylish accessory for a leather collar, but if you have an active dog, leather may not be the best choice, since it can become soiled easily.
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There are also several different types of leash available. A basic leash includes a snap so that it can attach to a collar, and a loop for your hand. Some leashes are designed to interface with a harness, and split at the end into two snaps which can be clipped into two places on the harness, making it easier for you to control your animal. In addition to buying a leash of a specific length, you can also find a retractable leash. This type of leash has a snap attached to a leash which coils up inside a hand held reel. Pressing a button pulls the leash back or releases it so that the animal can have more room.
The snap and loop for your hand are also important to think about when you are buying a leash. Make sure that the snap fits the type of collar you have securely, so that it cannot come undone. Also make sure that the part of the leash designed for your hand is large enough, especially in the case of plastic handled retractable leashes. You may also want to test the hand grip for comfort. If you jog or bicycle with your animal, a hands-free leash may be a good choice, but when buying a leash designed to snap onto clothing or a bicycle, make sure that it has a quick release in case of emergency.
The strength of your animal is another issue when buying a leash. Make sure that the leash is sturdy enough to hold the animal, even if it is pulling strongly against you. Thicker leashes will be stronger, as will tightly woven ones. Some leashes include load ratings, giving you an idea of whether or not they will be able to hold back your animal if he or she is threatened or wants to fight with another animal.
When you are buying a leash, it also never hurts to get two. A backup leash ensures that you have a leash available if the one you are using breaks. It is also useful if you encounter a loose animal, so that you can leash it and bring it under control. Remember to keep a leash handy by the door and in the car, so that you always have access to one.