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How To Keep Your Dog Safe When Walking At Night

We’ve all experienced the joys of heading out for a dog walk on a bright sunny day. With our often-hectic lives to contend with, however, sometimes we’ve simply no choice but to turn these daytime outings into nighttime strolls. And we all know that that means – from reduced visibility to potential wildlife, walking a dog at night comes with a whole new set of factors to prepare for!

In which case, what can you do to be better equipped for your next nocturnal outing? We’re exploring how you can navigate the night safely, highlighting a few essential dog walking tips, and running through the must-have gear for walking your dog at night.

Can I Walk My Dog At Night?

First up, you absolutely can walk your dog at night. In fact, nighttime dog walking actually has a range of advantages. Temperatures tend to be cooler – vital on those hot, summer days – while the outdoors are also generally quieter and more peaceful, which can be particularly helpful for nervous pups

Dog wearing a harness outdoors at night.

However, walking a dog at night also creates several potential hazards to be aware of:

  • Low Light & Visibility: Dim conditions can increase the risk of accidents as it’s harder for drivers or other dog walkers to see you and your pooch.
  • Wildlife: The night brings out different animals to what you might encounter during the day. This could tempt your dog to give chase, potentially leading themselves into difficult situations.
  • Reduced Temperatures: As much as cooler temperatures can sometimes be an advantage of nighttime walks, this can work both ways! When conditions are particularly cold, certain breeds can struggle without suitable preparation.

With all this in mind then, here’s a few dog walking tips to get you ready for when the sun sets.

Essential Nighttime Dog Walking Equipment

A well-prepared night walk starts with the right gear, and that includes what both you and your dog are wearing. 

For your dog, opt for reflective or light-up clothing. There are plenty of LED collars available, or you can simply clip a light or reflective strip to your dog’s existing collar or harness. And remember, if it’s particularly cold outside, ensure your dog is wrapped up warm!

Dog at night wearing a light-up collar.

As for humans, avoid wearing too much dark clothing. Instead, choose reflective gear for dog walking such as a reflective jacket, vest, or hat, and consider a light-up armband. Headtorches are also great for lighting the way in front of you – just make sure the batteries are fully charged before heading out!

Otherwise, if you’re walking your dog at night, make sure to keep your mobile phone with you for emergencies. A GPS tracker can also be a useful tool if your dog becomes lost, and make sure your details are all up to date on your dog’s microchip records.

Dog Walking At Night – Tips & Advice

So, you’ve got the gear and clothing sorted. What else do you need to know?

  • Stick to Familiar Routes: Choose well-lit and easy-to-navigate paths, and save the new routes for daytime adventures. Familiarity brings comfort and safety.
  • Keep Your Dog on a Lead: Using a lead or harness ensures control, especially with the heightened presence of wildlife and the fact that dogs can see better in the dark than humans.
  • Be aware of Your Dog’s Emotions: Stay alert and keep an eye on how your dog responds to walking in the dark. Some dogs may need a little reassurance so consider using an ADAPTIL Collar to provide some extra comfort on-the-go. That being said, don’t be afraid to find an alternative indoor activity if dog walking at night is making your pooch uncomfortable.
  • Safety in Numbers: Wherever possible, try to avoid heading out alone. This could be someone you live with or could mean timing your walks with any other dog walkers you know. If you are walking alone, make sure to let someone know your route and plans.
  • Be Cautious on Roads: Avoid routes that involve walking directly on any roads. If this is unavoidable, such as in parts of the countryside, walk facing oncoming traffic and ensure you’re visible.
  • Mind Other Night Walkers: Remember, you’re probably not the only one enjoying the calm of the night, so be conscious of other dogs, joggers, and cyclists.
  • Be Wary of Wildlife: If you spot any wildlife while walking a dog at night, make sure to give them a wide berth. This will reduce the chances of your dog reacting while also helping any wildlife to feel less threatened by your presence.

Man walking his dog on the beach at night.

What Time Should I Walk My Dog At Night?

The ideal time for a night walk depends on your schedule, your dog’s routine, and the reason you’re walking at night in the first place. For example, if you’re walking at night to avoid the heat of the day, you should wait until the temperature has cooled to a suitable level – usually just after the sun has set. 

While there’s technically no cut-off time for nighttime walks, bear in mind that your dog may struggle with anything that deviates too much from their normal routine. Likewise, the later it is, the riskier your walks potentially come. Aim to keep your walks early enough in the evening that there are still enough people around to be safe, and if that’s not possible, consider an alternative form of exercise that can be done indoors!

Are you on the lookout for even more dog walking tips? Then get in touch! We love hearing all about your doggy adventures and sharing all the advice we can. You can also stay informed with our latest tips, guides, and product information by signing up to our newsletter.

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