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7 Safety Tips for Walking Your Dog in the Dark

Whether your walks in the dark take place in the early morning or at night, walking your dog in the dark can have some challenges. It’s more difficult to see obstacles, other animals or uneven ground. Add in cars driving by and during the winter, weather, and you have a recipe for a serious incident if you aren’t careful. Here are 7 tips to keep you and your dog safe while walking in the dark.

1. Wear reflective clothing and shoes – Reflective clothing helps other people and drivers see you more easily in the dark. If your dog wears a jacket in the winter, make sure to get one with reflective material also.

2. Always carry a flashlight – A handheld flashlight can be used as a weapon in case you encounter a wild animal during your walk (or a human). If you are less concerned about your light doubling as a weapon, you can get an LED headlamp instead to keep your hands freed up. Also, buy a clip-on LED collar light for your dog to make her more visible at night.

3. Invest in a reflective or light-up leash – A reflective leash and collar can help you and others see your dog’s whereabouts better in the dark. LED lighted collars and leashes are also a great choice.

4. Carry your phone in your pocket – This one might sound like common sense. While it’s a good safety tip to carry your phone with you on your walk, it’s best to leave it in your pocket unless you need it. Avoid getting distracted from your surroundings by looking at your phone or wearing headphones while walking your dog.

5. Stay on a familiar route – Find a good route that has sidewalks the entire way, goes against traffic and has the best lighting possible. Then, make this your normal route. The familiarity of the route is good for you and your dog in case you were to be separated. Your dog will know your route and make it easier for you to find them.

6. Be aware of dangers on your path – Cracked or uneven sidewalks, potholes, broken glass and areas that ice up during the winter can all be dangers to you and your pet during your walk. These dangers can cause injuries for you or your dog so it’s important to know the existing dangers but also be aware of potential new ones.

7. Be wary of unfamiliar dogs and people – Meeting an unknown dog can be stressful for your pooch under good circumstances but can be even more stress-inducing in the dark. Step off the path, if needed, to allow the dogs to pass each other without incident. Also, be aware of joggers and bikers while on your route to avoid any accidents.

For many dog owners, walking your dog in the dark at some point each day is unavoidable, whether super early in the morning or in the evening. These 7 tips will help keep you and your dog safer during your walks in the dark.