The dark nights are well and truly drawing in, which means for many owners dog walks in the evening may be in pitch black. It’s important to take steps to adjust to this change in weather and ensure both your safety.
With minimised visibility, there are other ways for you and your pooch to see and be seen. It’s a good idea to invest in a reflective collar, lead or coat for during the winter months; that way you know your dog will be illuminated and easy for other people, cyclists and vehicles to spot. Likewise, make sure you’re wearing some bright, or even reflective, clothing yourself to increase the chance of people seeing you, and therefore your dog by association. There are all sorts of light-up products available for winter night walks (including flashing poop scoops!), so choose the best ones for you and your dog and keep them by the door so you don’t forget to take them out with you. A torch can also be useful to help illuminate your way, especially if you go through any parks or uneven ground so you can easily see where your feet, and their paws, are stepping.
It may sound a little risky, but if you go along or nearby any roads then walking towards the traffic will allow you to see anything coming and react quickly if needed. Stay extra aware when walking at night and refrain from listening to music if you can, as headphones block out the other noises around you and can be distracting. Keeping your dog on a shorter lead throughout walks is recommended when the evenings are dark – they may not like it as much but remember it’s to keep them safe, and nighttime is not the best time for your dog to run off! Make sure that your dog has an identification disc on their collar and that their microchip details are up to date on their database.
If walking your dog at night is new to you and you’re a little nervous about the prospect, why not take someone along with you? A companion will make you feel less anxious, and is also an extra pair of eyes and ears for safety.
Finally, it’s important always make sure you have a charged mobile phone with you in case of any emergencies.