There are times you will have no choice otherwise than to walk your dog at night. In these cases, you need to take precautions to ensure that the walk is smooth and as productive as it should be.
Unlike during the day, you might have problems seeing where you are going, and joggers, drivers, bike riders, etc. might not see you easily. As such, you need to take the right measures to prevent injuries and accidents. Below are a few tips and precautions to take when walking with your dog at night:
Is your dog ready for night walks?
First, start by ensuring that your dog is ready for a night walk. This is because some dogs may have health issues such as poor vision and arthritis that may make night walks challenging. If you’re not sure if your dog’s condition will prevent him from enjoying night walks, you can always consult your vet in advance.
Improve your visibility
You can never be too safe when taking night walks with your dog. One way to ensure that anyone can easily see your dog is by investing in a good reflective collar. And, if you feel like a light-up or reflective collar is not enough, there is no harm in adding some reflective tape on it.
Always use a leash and make it visible
To avoid the struggle of trying to find your dog at night when he gets away from you, use a leash. But, the leash has to be visible. This way, even drivers can see it easily. There are many high-quality reflective leashes that you can get to make your dog visible when headlights flash on it.
Consider the weather
Remember to keep your dog warm during the cold weather season. You can get him a reflective coat to not only keep him warm but also add to the visibility. However, if it’s extremely cold, you can do other indoor exercises and go for a walk when the weather allows. Always remember that your dog’s comfort and health comes first.
Wear a light
When buying everything to make your dog visible, remember to make yourself easily visible as well. You can get a light that you can attach to your body, which is a good option if you need to keep your hands free. And, apart from making you visible, wearing a light also makes it easier for both of you to see where you’re stepping/going, while also increasing your safety.
Carry a flashlight
If you won’t be wearing a light, carry a flashlight. With it, you will find it easier to walk through dark areas, and it’s generally wise to have one for emergency purposes.
Are your dog’s tags up-to-date?
Dogs get away from their owners all the time, and you will be more likely to find yours if it has up-to-date tags.
For night walks, you can opt for reflective tags as they will be more visible. Alternatively, you can get the dog microchipped.
Stay safe when walking your dog at night
Walk in well-lit areas. This way, you will not only see where you are going, but also avoid trouble. Again, your dog will also feel safer and cooperate when in well-lit areas.
Use familiar routes
You don’t want to try out new routes when walking your dog at night. First, you need to be sure that the route you are taking is safe. Second, you need to know the route very well to avoid getting lost. It can be really frustrating if you get lost at night. Again, it helps to have a smooth walk with your dog if it has used the route several times during the day. And, if you are not sure how well-lit your regular route is at night, you can drive through it at night, just to confirm before taking your dog with you.
Avoid distractions / don’t wear headphones
You should be more aware of your surroundings when walking with your dog at night. You need to know what’s happening as soon as possible and react accordingly. Again, you have so much time to use your phone or listen to your playlist and favorite podcasts, so why don’t you just enjoy the short walk with your dog?
Have your phone
You want to be sure that you can easily call for help in case of an emergency and the phone should be charged. Again, have some emergency contacts such as for a taxi service, veterinarian, police, etc.
Walk on the sidewalks or facing oncoming traffic
Whenever possible, avoid the road when walking with your dog at night. Even with a leash, anything can happen and your dog ends up on the wrong side. To avoid accidents, walk on sidewalks, and if you must walk on the road, face oncoming traffic.
Crosswalks and road signs
Even at night when the cars on the road are few or not there at all, always use crosswalks when crossing the road. This is because drivers slow down as they expect pedestrians to be crossing the road. Again, ensure that your dog doesn’t get frightened by many cars if you suspect your route will have heavy traffic at the time you are taking the walk.
Keep the leash short when crossing the road
Remember that you might not be the only ones crossing the road and there might be cars close by. To avoid unnecessary hassles with your dog, keep the leash short to keep him close to you as you cross the road.
Lastly, if you notice that your dog doesn’t like walking at night, start by ruling out any health issues, then bring some treats for him for encouragement. Also remember that some animals that are not dangerous during the day time might try to attack your dog at night and likewise, your dog might get aggressive to animals that he usually ignores during the day. Thus, be prepared for any reaction and act as soon as possible. But, most importantly, ensure that your dog cannot get out of its collar.