As the days get shorter, we start doing more things with our dogs after dark. But nighttime brings with it a bunch of risks that can endanger you and your dog, from predators to cars. Are you being safe?
Use a Leash. Taking your dog out at night means you are at a disadvantage. Your dog can see much better in the dark then you, so she will notice, say a rabbit hiding in a bush, that you will have no idea is there. So, while I always advocate leashed dogs, it is even more important at night when your dog could take off after something and you will lose sight of him quickly.
Flexi-leads. They are dangerous. At night, even more so because the lead is just so hard to see! I don’t know how many times I have seen someone walking their dog around evening-time and I think the dog is off-leash; I have even slammed on my breaks as a dog approached the edge of a sidewalk, only to realize the owner is holding a flexi-lead handle. Ugh. He could have caused an accident. He could also trip passersby who don’t see the lead either. If you must use one, don’t use it at night!
Don’t wear dark clothing. This should be common sense, yet I see it all the time.
Stick to lighted areas. Unfortunately, the world keeps getting scarier. You are much safer if you walk on lighted paths, sidewalks, etc.
Walk in Pairs. Particularly important if you live somewhere with a high crime rate (after all, we want you and your dog to be safe!). It also happens to be more enjoyable.
In addition to “street smarts,” there are some products out there that make walking in the dark safer.
Reflective. Not just for you, but also your dog. Many companies have reflective jackets, collars, leashes, raincoats, etc, for your dog to wear. You can find them at most pet stores or online.
Light-up. These are some of my favorites! In fact, I just bought four from Petsmart for my own dogs that come in fun Halloween colors – bright orange, neon green, purple and neon pink. They light-up really well, have a flashing or steady feature, and come with replacement batteries. AND, they show up under my long-haired shelties.
The PupLight is great if you don’t want a brand new collar and leash, you can attach it to whatever you already use, including a harness, and you can see yards ahead of you, making walking safer. In addition, the bright light will make it easier to pick up after your pet and it is also visible under long-hair.
About the Author
Based in Wilsonville, Ore., animal lover Kristina N. Lotz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and works as a full time trainer. She is the founder of, A Fairytail House, a unique all-positive all-sport dog training facility that helps rescue dogs in her area and provides free seminars and training classes for the community. In her spare time, she trains and competes in herding, agility, obedience, rally, and conformation with her Shetland Sheepdogs. She smartly married a Veterinary Technician, who helps keep the fur kids happy and healthy, and provides a quick resource for articles.
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