As the days get shorter, most of us find ourselves walking our dogs in the dark much more often. It’s still dark in the morning before we head off to work, and the sun is setting earlier in the evening. In order to enjoy your daily exercise together, there are some basic precautions you should take to ensure your safety when walking your dog in the dark.
Remember that bright-colored clothing alone doesn’t help much in the dark – both you and your dog need something reflective, or better yet, something that lights up, so that you’re visible to traffic.
Luckily there are many products available for improving you and your pet’s visibility, including leash lights, blinking collars, and reflective collars and harnesses. Whatever you choose, be sure that drivers and pedestrians can easily spot your dog after-hours.
This is important whether it is light or dark: never let your pet leave home without detailed ID tags attached to a collar – and better yet, make sure your dog has a microchip. Having proper pet identification vastly increases the likelihood of finding a missing pet, and is well worth the investment.
Choose a Well-Lit Path
When walking in the dark, avoid unlit, empty parks or trails for the safety of both you and your pet. Not only is it smart to walk within hearing-range of other walkers, houses or traffic, it also means you’re less likely to have an encounter with an environmental allergen, twist an ankle on an unseen obstacle, meet an aggressive animal, or startle a skunk.
Bring a Flashlight
Always have a light handy to illuminate your path, and to assist with cleaning up after your dog. You may be less visible than during the daytime, but you should still be just as respectful of your community or dog park. Shine a light to keep an eye on your dog and make sure to leave nothing behind.
We wish you many safe and pleasant walks with your dog this fall!