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Tips for walking your dog in the dark

As the days grow short, it’s likely you’ll be taking your dog for evening or early morning walks in the dark. Taking extra precautions whilst walking your dog in the dark will mean that you and your dog can still have safe, enjoyable walks all year round.

Here’s what to do to make sure walks in the dark run smoothly.

Reflective devices

Reflective jackets (for you and your dog), collars, tags or leads are all great ways to ensure you and your dog are as visible as possible during your walk. Remember that not all dogs like wearing jackets so be sure to use a solution that is well suited to your pet. In addition to reflective wear, make sure the rest of your clothing is bright so that you are as visible as possible.

Lights

A step up from reflective wear, a light up collar or tag can make your dog extra visible in dark areas. It’s also a good idea for you to take a torch to make yourself visible and so that you can see where you are going more easily. A head torch is the best option because it keeps your hands free. 

Lead walking

You may want to consider keeping your dog on a lead for the entirety of the walk so that you don’t lose them in the dark. If you do decide to let them off the lead, do so in well-lit areas or in places your dog is familiar with so they’re less likely to get lost. At any rate, don’t try new walking locations when it’s dark; save those for daylight hours.

Bell

Attaching a bell to your dog’s collar can help you keep track of where your dog is, especially if you decide to let them off the lead. Make sure your dog is comfortable wearing the bell when you are at home and only go out with them wearing it if they are happy to do so. A bell can also alert other walkers and cyclists of your presence before they see you.

Walk with a friend

If you have a partner or friend who can go on the walk with you and your dog they can help to keep your dog safe in the dark by helping you to look out for potential dangers. If your friend is bringing their dog along, you should make sure they get on well with your dog.

Don’t have noise distractions

You need to be extra alert whilst walking in the dark, particularly if you let your dog off the lead or if you are walking near a busy road. Therefore, don’t be tempted to listen to music or talk on the phone when you are out walking with your dog at night.

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