High visibility is your best tool for dog safety in low visibility situations. If you are in a rural or wooded area you may have concerns revolving around hunting season, wildlife, or even just the immense darkness inherent with only having the moon to light your way. In the city or suburban areas motorists become a concern and even other animals in some cases. Being visible is essential for nighttime walks with your beloved fur buddy.
Get The Right Gear For Nighttime Dog Walking
Reflective Leash and Dog Vest
Thanks to modern technology there are now dog supplies that light up. We do not recommend them as a primary solution for a few reasons. Technology always introduces moving parts and batteries both of which can malfunction and put your PUP in danger. Also, if you are in the city or a suburban area LED light is less effective. Street lights or headlights from motorists can wash out the light from an LED collar or harness leaving your PUP invisible and vulnerable.
Instead we recommend a reflective leash and reflective dog vest. These items shine in the presence of light rather than getting washed out. A reflective vest will reflect light from a motorist right back into the drivers eyes making your dog HIGHLY VISIBLE. A reflective leash connects the reflectivity all the way back to you and offers more total reflectivity.
Also if it is cold outside a reflective vest will keep your PUP nice and cozy where an LED collar or harness is of little value.
A flashlight is a great tool to light your way in low light situations. Should your PUP get away from you or if you are in a region where your PUP walks off leash you can use the flashlight and the reflectivity of a reflective vest to quickly find your dog.
Take your phone with you. In case of emergency you have first responders a phone call away. In the unfortunate event that your dog gets away from you and becomes lost you will not need to leave the scene to recruit your search party.
Wear reflective or bright clothing yourself. You are your PUPs first line of defense in recognizing potentially dangerous situations. Putting dog safety in the forefront means practicing human safety too!
Treat pouch full of goodies
There is nothing more motivating to a dog than food. When your PUP wants to chase a squirrel into the night or, worse yet, across the street you can divert attention quickly with the prospect of a tasty treat.
Watch Out For Wildlife
Know what wildlife to watch out for in your area. Dogs may be very interested in creatures they encounter in the night while these creatures may be much less interested in your dog. Animals such as racoons, coyotes, possums, wild cats, and toads (they won’t turn into a prince) all pose a danger.
Have a plan should you come face-to-face with the local wildlife. Some of these animals may fight with your PUP. They can carry diseases and in the best case scenario leave you with a heart stopping scare.
- Change your path: If you encounter a wild animal change your path and keep your distance. The wild animal may feel less threatened when you and your dog are no longer moving towards them.
- Leash your small dog: Even in off leash areas it may be a good practice to leash a smaller dog. Birds of prey can swoop and fly off with a small PUP in an instant.
- Reflective vest: A reflective vest will make your dog highly visible and can scare off wild animals during your nightly stroll.
Know/Plan Your Path
Be familiar with your surroundings to avoid surprises. In rural areas stay away from wooded bushy areas. In the city or suburban areas stick to sidewalks or well lit parks. Avoiding high crime areas almost goes without saying, but also avoid areas with clutter. You don’t want to bump into things in the night or run into things that go bump in the night.
Turn Off Distractions
All of this preparation and safety advice can fall ineffective if you lose focus. Leave the headphones at home. Listen and observe what is happening in your surroundings. Most dangerous situations can be avoided simply by recognizing a potential for danger.
It’s tough to see your surroundings while staring at your phone. It’s dark. The lighting sucks. You aren’t going to get a good picture. Spend some quality time with your PUP and you can check the comments on your PUPs last IG post when you get home. Keep your cell phone in your pocket.
Walk your dog day or night, but always keep it safe and fun!