It is now that time of year when the days are getting shorter and the nights are becoming a little longer. Some people feel great as the sun sets and darkness starts to climb, while many may start feeling unease. We know that once we are out in the dark, there is no one around to hear if we scream for help, or worse yet if someone else does.
And this fear isn’t limited just to people. Dog owners also have the responsibility to keep their pups safe from harm. That also means walking your dog after dark could become a little bit harder and dangerous if you don’t have all of the safety precautions in place.
In this blog post, we’ll go over 13 tips on how you can safely walk your dog at night!
1. Always Use a
Leash and Harness When Walking Outside at Night
Your fido will always need a leash and harness when walking regardless of the time of day, but it’s absolutely essential at night to keep them safe. That will not only make it easier for you to control them if there’s any danger, but it also ensures that they don’t run off and get lost if they get spooked.
One thing, though, don’t use the lead that retracts. Instead, secure your pup with a traditional leash to keep your dog close to you at all times. And it’s also a good idea to use a leash and harness with reflective materials (reflective vests) so people and motorists can see your dog in the dark.
2. Protect Your
Dog’s Paws with Boots or Paw Wax
It’s hard to see puddles, rocks, and other objects when the sun goes down. That’s why your pup needs protection on their paws to keep them safe from injury after dark.
You can buy boots for dogs just like people do, or you could use organic dog paw balm, which will create a protective layer of wax to encapsulate your four-legged friend’s feet and shield them from dangerous objects like sharp rocks and broken glass.
3. Keep Your Dog
It can get pretty cold out there, and there will be sudden changes in temperature and cold winds while walking or running with your dog outside at night, especially during wintertime.
So, you would need to make sure your pup is bundled up with the appropriate clothing like dog sweaters and coats to keep them warm. And you might even need to consider getting them a very well-insulated neck and ear warmer hood if they are sensitive to chilly temperatures.
4. Make Sure Your
Dog’s ID Tag is Up to Date or Let Them Wear a GPS Tracking Device
It’s also crucial to keep your furkid’s ID tag up to date or have them wear either cellular or non-cellular dog collar GPS tracker. This way, if they, for some reason, manage to slip out of their harness and run away, there’s a way you can locate them, ultimately preventing them from wandering into unsafe areas.
Read More: 5 Best Escape Proof Dog Harnesses in 2022
Don’t Walk Alone
And don’t walk alone! Always walk with at least one other person, especially if you live in a high crime rate city or areas where predators like coyotes, wolves, and cougars are commonly found.
If your dog is friendly with other dogs, you can even enlist the help of a canine companion to keep them company. The more people or dogs there are in the group, the less likely you both will be at risk for a potential predator attack.
You may also want to carry pepper spray to protect yourself and your pup in case anything happens.
6. Stick to the
Route You Are Familiar With
You know it’s hard to navigate and find your way in the dark, so don’t try exploring new trails!
Stick to the route you are familiar with, and if you find yourself lost in unfamiliar territory at night, call for help or try heading back out to where you came from.
7. Stay on
lighted Areas and Sidewalks
It is scary and not safe to be where there is little or no lighting. So, make sure to stay on well-lit areas and sidewalks when walking your dog at night and avoid crossing dark streets with no streetlights.
8. Wear a
Headlamp and Carry a Flashlight
You would also need to provide yourself with extra light. So, wear a headlamp and carry a flashlight with you on your night time walks. That will ensure you can be seen and avoid accidents. Plus, the extra visibility will make navigating and picking up your dog’s poop a lot easier!
Some people may prefer to walk with the flow of traffic, but please don’t do that. The reason being is that it will make you vulnerable as you can’t see what’s approaching you from behind. What if the driver is up to something bad? Or what if the tire blows out, causes the car to veer off the road, and head towards you? You may not have enough time to react!
So always walk facing oncoming traffic, which is, in fact, what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends. And it’s even more important to do that when walking your dog at dusk.
Be Aware of What’s Going On Around You
Besides staying visible and walking facing oncoming traffic, it’s also imperative to pay attention to your surroundings when walking your dog at night. You have to stay alert and be aware of what’s going on around you. And that leads to our next point, keep off your headphones!
The reason why you shouldn’t wear headphones while night walking with your pup is quite apparent. You need to keep an ear out for any strange noises and be able to hear anything that may be happening around you. If there’s an emergency, like a car coming or someone running up behind you, it could save lives!
12. Bring Your
Carrying your phone with you is a must for walking your dog at night. In the event of an emergency, it’s great to have on hand for calling 911 or any other form of assistance that you may need, as you never know what could happen!
Lastly, use good sense and sound judgment. For instance, don’t wear dark clothes and don’t let your dog run off-leash! If there is an unsafe feeling about what could happen, don’t go despite how much they want to follow their nose.
Frequently Asked Questions About Night Time Dog Walking
Is it ok to walk my dog at night?
Yes, it is ok to take your dog walking at night as long as you take the necessary precautions. That includes wearing reflective gear and bringing your phone with you at all times. Ensure to let someone know where you’re going when walking outside after sundown and tell them roughly what time you will be home.
What time should you walk your dog at night?
There are no standard time frames, but it is crucial to let your dog have a break and rest from time to time. If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable with the surroundings at any point during your walk, stop what you’re doing and go back home.
Do dogs like night walks?
We know that dogs, on average, need to walk at least 30 minutes a day. However, as the sun sets, it’s easy to fear what may be lurking in your neighborhood. But if you keep the above tips in mind when walking your pup at night, you can feel confident that they’ll stay safe and sound by your side every time!
Be street-smart and be aware of what is going on around you. And again, turn off all distractions and make sure that your canine wears a collar or harness with reflective materials. Also, remember to carry some form of light for yourself, so other people can see both of you coming from afar.