6 Reasons Your Dog Leash Won’t Last + 3 Helpful Tips


Dog leashes get used everyday, if not multiple times per day. They don’t get a day off when the weather is bad, if they’ve been chewed on, or if they went out multiple times the day before. Which begs the question, how long will this leash last before having to buy another one?

Dog leashes can last multiple years. If the leash is used solely for walking purposes and is maintained a person may never have to buy more than one leash. When a leash is used improperly is when it’s lifespan can be shortened.

In this post we’re going to look at the lifespan of different types of leashes, how often and when a leash should be replaced, the top 6 reasons why a leash won’t last long as well as some tips to increase your leashes lifespan.

Let’s jump right in!

How Long Do Dog Leashes Last?

There is no single answer to how long a leash can last. It will depend on a number of factors. Including the material the leash is made from, the style of clasps or hooks it uses, the amount of stitching it has, as well as how your dog behaves while wearing the leash.

Leashes in general can last for years. Though, very few leashes can stand up to a dog that chews or exerts an immense amount of pressure on the hooks or closures. If your dog is well behaved, you can expect your leash to give you years of service, especially if it’s made from a more durable and long lasting material such as leather or paracord.

How Long Do Different Types Of Dog Leashes Last?

Leather Leash

Having a leather leash is one of the best options when it comes to long lasting durability. Leather is an extremely durable material. It’s also easy to clean, though may require some leather-specific oils to remain soft and supple. 

In general, you can expect a leather leash to last several years if your dog is well behaved and you stay on top of regular maintenance.

Traditional Nylon Leash

One of the most commonly found leashes, nylon can come in a huge range of colors and lengths. You can also find nylon leashes that have lights or reflective strips for safety when walking at night. 

Nylon is durable, but can be prone to weathering. It’s also relatively easy for your dog to chew up and won’t hold up to the sharp teeth of a puppy. If your puppy or adult dog has a habit of chewing on their leash, you may want to avoid nylon and try a more durable material.

Retractable Leash

While not as common as a standard leash, retractable leashes are a great way to give your dog a little more freedom to explore with. 

Unfortunately, they have a lot of moving parts which can break easily. The components inside the plastic handle that stop and lock the leash from extending or retracting can break if the dog pulls too hard or you press the button to get a sudden stop. 

Additionally, the cord used in a retractable leash is normally extremely thin and it can snap under sudden pressure. If your dog is running around and hits the end of the leash with force, the cord can break randomly anywhere along its length. 

Double Dog Leash

Split leashes or double dog leashes are great for multi-dog families. They can be found in a range of materials, though nylon or fiber weaves are the most common. 

You’ll normally see a heavy duty connector in the center that splits off to two hooks for your dogs. While most of the components are heavy duty since they will be securing two dogs instead of one, the clasps may break over time if your dogs are strong pullers.

Rope Dog Leash

Leashes are commonly made from mountain climbing rope or paracord. This woven fiber rope is extremely durable and very strong. It can withstand extremely hard pulling and can stand up to very large dogs. While it is prone to being chewed on, it is more durable than nylon and can withstand some abuse before needing to be replaced.

Paracord comes in a wide range of colors and lengths, giving you a wide range of choices when deciding on your next rope dog leash. For a well behaved dog, you can expect to get many years of daily use from a rope dog leash.

Hands-Free Dog Leash

Keeping your dog close while still being able to use your hands is extremely useful. Hands-free dog leashes are also called umbilical leashes, and they connect to your waist area. This allows you to control your dog on walks while also being able to hold onto a walking stick, camera, or baby stroller. Also, if your dog suddenly stops while you are walking, there is normally a shock absorber that helps prevent sudden yanks on your waist.

Hands-free dog leashes can be made from a wide range of materials, so your biggest risk to breakage or damage would be in the buckles and hooks. Your waist strap will normally have a standard belt buckle type closure, and the dog’s end will have a bullhook or other similar clasp. 

For dogs that pull or exert a lot of pressure on these components, they may wear down quicker over time. In general, a hands-free dog leash can last for years with the right maintenance.

How Often Should You Replace Dog Leashes?

There is no set schedule to be followed when it comes to replacing a dog leash. Instead, you will need to keep an eye on the leash itself and make a decision on whether or not it is still secure and safe for use. 

For example, if the material is nylon or rope, and your dog has chewed halfway through it, you may want to consider replacing it as soon as possible. 

This part of the leash has been weakened by chewing and while it may still work just fine as a leash, there is the risk of it snapping if your dog were to run after a squirrel or get excited after seeing another dog.

Clasps are another area that can break down over time and should be inspected regularly. Some clasps do well in all weather conditions, while others are more delicate. Mud, sand and other debris can get down into the clasp mechanism and disrupt the spring from functioning properly. 

This can prevent the clasp from closing as it normally should and not secure itself to your dog’s collar. If cleaning the clasp does not get a good spring closure, it would be best to replace the leash entirely.

Top 6 Reasons a Dog Leash Won’t Last Long

  1. Left Outside to be Weathered. Leashes should be stored indoors when not in use. The sun’s rays, rain and snow can drastically reduce the lifespan of your leash.
  2. Allow Dog to Chew on it. If your dog loves to chew, teach them that the leash is not a toy. A dog’s sharp teeth can quickly lead to a damaged leash which will reduce its lifespan.
  3. Never Cleaned. Leashes, like all other accessories for your dog, benefit from regular cleaning. Leaving mud or other dirt caked on a leash can make the individual fibers brittle or stiff. 
  4. Dropping the Leash to be Dragged. Letting your dog drag the leash around is a great way to damage the leash quickly. The friction from being dragged across rocks and pavement can abrade the fibers leaving the leash much less durable than when you started.
  5. Excessive Pulling. Dogs that constantly pull on their leashes are putting added strain on the clasps. Over time this stress on the hardware can cause them to snap, sending your dog running into traffic or other danger.
  6. Playing Tug-of-War with the Leash. The leash should never be viewed as a toy. Instead, it’s a useful tool to keep your dog safe when outside of your home.

3 Tips To Increase The Lifespan Of Your Dog’s Leash

  1. Only Put It On For Walks. By only using the leash during your daily walks, the wear and tear it is subject to will be much less. This occasional use will extend the life of your leash quite a bit, saving you money in the process.
  2. Train Your Dog To Behave on Their Leash. Dogs that are a bit rambunctious when on the leash, such as by pulling, chewing or other mischievous behavior, can damage a leash quickly. A well behaved dog will not put extra strain on the buckles or material so your leash lasts much longer.
  3. Maintain The Leash. By keeping your leash clean and stored properly you’ll give it the best chance of lasting many years. A leash that isn’t cared for will need to be replaced far sooner than one that is maintained.

Final Thoughts

Luckily, most leashes are extremely durable and can give you years of use when cared for properly. In the event that your leash does become damaged and needs to be replaced, finding a new one is as simple as visiting a pet store or browsing online for the perfect length, color or pattern to suit your four-legged friend.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Are Leather Dog Leashes Good? (The Truth..)

5 Ways Using A Dog Leash Can Be VERY Cruel

Are Bungee Dog Leashes Any Good? (The Truth..)

Alec Littlejohn

Founder and Reviewer at Pawscessories. He is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! He grew up in a family of vets and to this day he helps out around the family clinic and shares his learnings on Pawscessories. Learn more about Alec's story here

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