With Daylight Savings Time into full swing you’ll find yourself having to walk your dog at night a lot more than you’d like to. Lighting, terrain, weather, and wildlife are just a few of the dangers that you can encounter while walking your dog at night with low visibility.
There are several things that you can do to help protect you both while walking your dog:
1) Do not leave your house without a charged cell phone. Your cell phone will come in need of use to call for help in case of an emergency or to help you find your way back in case you were to get lost. We don’t recommend using the flashlight on your cell phone while walking your dog. Using your cell phone as a flashlight ties up your hands leaving less control of the leash.
2) Carry a Self Protection Item: Airhorns and pepper spray are great pocket-sized protections to help protect you against someone sneaking up on you. Pepper spray can also be utilized when you encounter wild life!
3) Don’t use headphones. Wireless or hands free it’s still not recommended to use headphones while walking your dog at night. Listening to music or a podcast can distract you from hearing immediate threats that you may not yet see to both you and your dog.
4) Walk on the sidewalk. At night the farther away from traffic you can walk the safer you will be. Don’t walk on the street or bike lane in the dark or at times throughout the day with low visibility.
5) Plan your walk. Nighttime walks are not the time to walk the extra block to check out the new part of the neighborhood. Have a route and stick to it at all times. When planning your walk at night take the route that is well known, well lit, and familiar. You could even ask your neighbor to walk their dog with you! Doing so will make it a lot easier if anything was to happen. Once you have the walk planned let a family member, friend, or neighbor know the time(s) and route that you take so they know where to start looking in case anything were to happen.
6) Use a Reflective leash and collar
7) Wear Reflective gear: Vests, leg bands, or hat. It doesn’t have to be all three or any of the three. Just make sure that you and your dog have at least one reflective item each so that you are visible to traffic.
8) Use a Wearable light: Adding a small light to your dogs leash will also help catch the attention of traffic, cyclists, and pedestrians.
9) Wear Light colored clothing: Dark colors blend in at night. Wearing a white shirt and light colored shorts is highly suggested.
10) Wear Sneakers: This is very common in South Florida with our weather. Don’t make the mistake of wearing sandals or open toed shoes that would be hard to run in if you were to encounter any sort of danger.
Other Things to Consider
Always stay on guard and alert while walking your dog. There are so many unknown dangers that could happen at any time of night.
Dogs feed off of our energy. Remember to not panic or get overly excited.
Use a shorter leash. It’s very important to keep your dog closer than normal to you at night.
An evening walk with your best friend is something we all look forward to at the end of a hard day’s work. Just remember to be vigilant and have fun.