The 6 Best Dog Running Leash (Hands-Free) in 2021
Are you looking for the perfect dog running leash? You guys know, for me there’s nothing like a run with my best friend Cooper. I’m getting lots of requests from dog owners who are also runners that are wondering what is the best hands-free dog leash? But first, let’s explain in detail what is a hands-free dog leash?
A hands-free dog leash for running comes with a belt that you put around your waist. The dog running leash will be attached to the belt. The running leash offers a strong and secure leash-to-collar attachment.
For security, the leash is also made with a shock absorber elongation that helps keep the stress off your waist and your dog’s neck.
Tripping over leashes, or being worried that clasps and connectors will break is annoying and of course, it’s not a secret that runners love to run with anything in their hands. But are hands-free leashes good?
The best dog running leash is ideal for a relaxed hands-free running experience where you and your best friend are having the best time.
What kind of running leashes will provide the right balance of the running room, comfort, and protection for you and your dog? Let’s answer some of these questions (and more) by exploring my favorite leashes for running with your dog safely and successfully.
How do I find the right length for my dog running leash?
Depending on your size and the size of your dog and the fact how close you want your dog to be running next to you helps you to find the right length for your running leash. Three or four feet is a great starting point. Best case scenario: You’ll buy a running leash that can be adjusted.
My absolute favorite Dog Running Leash that I use with my dog
Kurgo Quantum 6-in-1 Dog Leash
What is the best hands-free dog leash? I’ve tried many different kinds, so let me start to narrow down my absolute favorites. Hands-free doesn’t just apply these crazy times of social distancing. In fact, when considering dog leashes for running, it’s a must! Let’s start with this leash that I have liked for some time now because of its versatility and value.
Pros of the Dog Leash
✔ Has a 6-in-one option: it can turn into a trainer leash, a hands-free courier, ties around your waist for another hands-free option, a training leash, a 4-6 foot traditional leash, and a double-dog option.
✔ Has a double-dog connector (more $ added for this option though).
✔ Strong, sturdy material that will support even bigger dogs.
Cons of the Leash
- Pricey – it’s a little more expensive than your typical running leash.
- The carabiner clasp on the leash might be too heavy for a smaller dog.
- Admittedly, a little rough around the shoulders. Not the most comfortable leash by any means.
Paw Lifestyles Retractable Bungee Leash
This one might be unnecessary depending on how large (or behaved) your dog is. The bungee system is a pretty reliable system for keeping your dogs close while running. Yet, it can be a little bulky for runs.
So, for smaller dogs, be wary of the slight amount of added weight of the bungee cords. Nothing like a weighted run though to get your running strength in high gear!
Personally, I don’t have to worry about the weight because I have a bigger dog, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind with smaller dogs.
Pros of the Dog Leash
✔ It is really sturdy and reliable. If your dogs have a tendency to pull, the clips are strong, and the bungee will keep your dog on track.
✔ Has a phone holder, which does its job pretty well.
✔ Has dual handles to ensure you are in complete control of your dog – no matter how large.
Cons of the Dog Running Leash
- More expensive than your average dog running leash.
- Can be a little extra added weight for your pooch.
- The zippers on the phone pouch have a tendency to break.
Tuff Mutts Dog Leash
Pros of the Dog Leash for running
✔ Stays taut and tight for not a lot of dragging on the ground.
✔ Pretty nice-and-snug fit around the waist without being too tight. You’d be surprised at how many leashes get this aspect of comfort wrong!
✔ An affordable running leash.
✔ Reflective running material to keep you and your canine buddy safe.
Cons of the Leash for runners
- Not ideal for smaller dogs – would drag along the ground most likely!
- Although it worked fine for me, there are a lot of reported breaks after just a few uses. Something to keep in mind!
- It is a heavier leash. Keep in mind that the heavier the leash, the more wear, and tear on your pup’s joints.
TaoTronics with Dual Bungees
There’s a large reason why this is a best-seller: because it’s a fantastic hands-free running leash. It’s also really affordable. So, for those who just want a great leash without any unnecessary bells and whistles, this is the leash for you!
Pros of the Dog Running Leash
✔ One of the cheapest yet most reliable leashes on the market.
✔ Good leash for controlling a dog that likes to pull.
✔ Adjustable, comfortable, and durable. What more could you want?
Cons of the Running Leash
- Would be heavy for smaller dogs.
- If you adjust the length to the smaller sizes, it has a tendency to get in the way.
- There could be more reflective material on the outside as a safety precaution. What I saw was a little lacking.
Stunt Puppy Stunt Runner
But it’s the simplicity of the design – and that it’s made specifically for runners – that drew me in the most. I love this leash. This is the running leash that I ended up using the most with Cooper.
The simple, light design will not slow you down. It’s, of course, hands-free, stretchy, and soft. The Stunt Runner is used by anyone who wants a versatile, flexible, and comfortable leash.
Pros of the Dog Leash
✔ Sturdy material and build.
✔ Great snap hooks and flexible brackets.
✔ Lighter weight than other similar leashes.
Cons of the Leash
- Expensive when compared to other leashes like it.
- The waistband rides up while running.
Ruffwear Running Leash
You can’t go wrong with a Ruffwear running leash. The Flat Out Leash is constructed using Ruffwear-designed Tubelok webbing that combines durability and design aesthetics, resulting in a leash that’s stylish and built to last. They have different really fun colors that make you and your running partner look super cute on the road together.
Besides the optic, there are many other pros of the Ruffwear Dog leash. If you’re into trail running, Ruffwear also has whole trail running leash equipment.
Pros of the Ruffwear Running Dog Leash
✔ The Flat Out Leash includes an accessory loop that allows you to conveniently carry pickup bags.
✔ Strong and secure attachment.
✔ Easily adjustable.
Cons of this running leash
- Mostly good for larger breeds only.
FAQ about the best running leashes
Running Leash Considerations:
All of the leashes listed above have their strengths and weaknesses. Some don’t accommodate smaller dogs, others are not as comfortable as they could be, and some don’t have the sturdiest construction.
But all of them are solid leashes that you can trust for your pups. As a reminder though, here are some questions to ask yourself when looking for the very best dog running leashes:
How Long Should My Dog’s Running Leash Be?
Across the board, you will want a dog leash that gives you the freedom to adjust its length. It might take some trial and error, so be sure to do small test runs around the block to make sure you have measured the right length for comfortable running.
Make sure you have given your dog enough leash to run without the leash dragging on the ground. Also, be sure the leash is not too close to you. If you are accidentally stepping on your dog or are making your dog nervous, you are more likely to get injured (or injure your running partner!)
Too much room on the leash and you run the risk of not being able to control your dog. Unless you have an obedient pup, it’s best to play it safe and keep your buddy close. But not too close!
Why Are Reflective Dog Leashes Important?
Reflective dog leashes are important because they increase your visibility during the morning, day, and night while you and your dog run.
If you do run at night with your dog, you should be wearing clothing that reflects light. Bright colors are key for safety and visibility, and many of the best leashes take this into consideration.
During the summer, chances are that you will be running with your dog during the cooler morning hours. Depending on how early you start your run, you will want to make sure that early morning commuters see you and your running partner as much as possible.
A brightly colored leash with reflective areas is an essential aspect to consider for your running partner! Even during the daytime, reflective leashes are a great way to get people’s attention.
Should I Use a Harness for My Dog While Running?
It really depends on how obedient or large your dog is. Some dogs, despite being the biggest sweethearts, are also the biggest escape artists. So, getting a harness is never a bad idea if your furry friend is prone to slipping out of collars.
Harnesses are an excellent add-on to any hands-free leash. Using one will mean that you don’t have to worry about any unpredictable pulling. They give you a little extra control and can increase the stability of your leash.
A really important thing to note is comfort. Some harnesses have a tendency to dig into your dog’s armpit and cause chafing. Be sure to pick a comfortable, padded harness for your dog that also allows for adjusting, as some settings may be too tight for your particular pup.
How to run safely with your dog
Let’s answer some questions about the most important aspect of running with your dog: safety! One of the most important considerations, especially during the summer, is keeping your canine running partner hydrated. Let’s explore that first.
Do dogs need water while running?
There are a few effective ways to keep your dog hydrated while on a run: bring an extra water bottle and pour a stream. You can teach your dog to lick the stream and stay hydrated! You can pour water into your cupped hands.
Also, there are plenty of portable bowls you can pack with you on your run. Many of them collapse and will not take any unnecessary space. Use your running bladder to deliver a stream of water for your dog.
Keep in mind that your dog won’t always let you know they are thirsty. There are indications of a thirsty dog, but just because your dog won’t drink from a receptacle, does not mean you are free and clear to keep running. Let’s look at some of the indicating signs for a dehydrated dog.
Sign that your dog is dehydrated
The common litmus test for a dehydrated dog is checking to see if the nose is dry. But keep this in mind! A dry nose does not mean much on its own. There are better indicators for a dehydrated dog:
- Lethargic actions and fatigue
- Skin elasticity
- Dry gums
According to the American Kennel Club, to check to see if a dog is properly hydrated by skin elasticity means doing the following:
Grab some of your dog’s skin near the shoulder. Pinch it and let it fall back in place. If the skin bounces back quickly, your pup is not dehydrated.
How far is it safe to run with a dog?
Determining how far you should run with your dog is reliant on the breed of the dog, age, and level of fitness. So, it depends on how healthy your dogs are.
A good first step is to go to your vet and ask them if running with your buddy would be a safe activity. If given the OK, take it slow and make sure you are watchful of your dog’s health.
Depending on the type of dog, you might want to keep running distances short by default. Dogs like bulldogs and pugs naturally have trouble breathing, so only short distances for those breeds. But larger breeds can often safely run longer distances.
So, if your dog does not have arthritis or any other physical condition, running can be a great way to strengthen the overall health of your pet. Just make sure you are running when the weather isn’t too hot or cold. Keep it safe for you and your pup!
Last Updated on 15. September 2021 by Sabrina Wieser
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