In the fall and winter months when night comes early, most dog owners find it a necessity to walk their dogs at night. While it can be peaceful to walk your dog at night, nighttime walks are inherently more hazardous than daytime walks. However, there are several steps you can take to make nighttime walks safe and enjoyable for you and your dog.
Make sure you can see and be seen: The biggest danger at night is simply the diminished visibility. Remember that you and your pet will be less visible to others, such as motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Additionally, hazards such as rocks and glass are less visible to you and your pet. The most important safety tip is to make sure you and your dog can be seen by others. Use reflective leashes, collars and clothing. A flashlight or headlamp can help you see hidden hazards, and there are even collar lights for your dog.
Other nighttime safety tips: Since it can be difficult to see your dog in the dark, make sure to keep your dog on a leash at all times. When you are walking your dog after dark, tell someone where you are going, or bring along a walking companion. You should carry a cell phone in case of emergency. Never wear headphones when walking your dog at night so you can hear any approaching danger. If possible, try to walk in a well-lit area, and if you are walking in a less-than-safe area, consider carrying pepper spray, or even a whistle to draw attention in case of trouble.
With a little extra awareness, nighttime walks with your dog can be safe and fun.