Keep Dogs Safe on Night Walks
With daylights savings off, it gets dark by the time you come back home & take your dogs out for a walk. I’m sure that pet owners struggle with this every day. Winters make us feel tired, sleep and hungry, much before we usually do during the rest of the year. There is no escaping this, especially in the United States.
When the sun goes down, strange creatures start coming out, the weather gets chilly & vision gets compromised. That’s why it is important to keep dogs safe on night walks.
Here are some things to keep in mind this season:
1. Night Creatures:
If you live near the woods, you might have seen coyotes, stray raccoons & other wild creatures come out at night. While many of them seem harmless (except coyotes offcourse), they can jump out of nowhere & surprise your dog. Your dog might even be threatened to break away & chase after them with all their strength. Fido might even get hurt or even lost in the woods at night. To prevent this, try taking shorter walks & stay on familiar paths. You can even use a shorter leash to keep your dog close.
Also, consider indoor activities to tire your pooch after a quick poop & pee stop outdoors.
2. Strangers in the City:
While you might not come across coyotes in the city, you might spot the occasional stray dog or cat who might try to attack your dog & you. Choose safer neighborhoods for your night walks & keep your dog very close to you in the heel position. This will also prevent your dog from barking at the homeless people who line up on the streets at night. Their looks & smells might look strange & unfamiliar to your dog – this causes discomfort & irritation in them.
3. Dress Dogs Right:
Just like you, your dog might also need to weatherize & protect itself from Fall rains & winter snow. Make sure that you buy some rain & cold climate gear to keep your dog safe on night walks. Skip this step if you have a larger breed or one that is bred to survive the cold.
4. Prevent Accidents:
Vision gets compromised at night & this leads to accidents while driving, running or even walking outside. Dogs, especially one with darker coats, are prone to injuries at night because drivers, bicyclists & joggers can’t easily spot them.
To improve visibility, choose a reflective or LED collar or even a bright light attachment for your dog’s collar. Doing so will not only keep yourself & your dogs safe on night walks but it will also help the driver or bicyclist in front of you stay on track & prevent quick moves that lead to serious accidents. There are many brands that sell night gear for dogs but for Leo I use the ‘Simply B Vermont’ Reflective Dog Collar. I have also tried the SpotLit LED Clip-on Dog Collar Light by DogIDs. Do give them a try! I’ll be leaving a more detailed review of both these products soon. Keep an eye out for that.
I’ve also seen some dog owners run with their smartphone torchlight on but I suggest going hands-free with cheap LED options. Keep your hands free to control & lead your dog.
5. Call for Help:
We often feel safe & even slightly overconfident when we are out with our dogs because dogs are bred for protecting their owners & little ones. However, the reality is that they can’t always protect us. Someone with a gun or a sharp weapon can easily come & injure the dog before they get to you.
It is important to always keep your phone on you so that you can call 911 or a friend for help if you get into danger. Avoid being shot by running away in a zig zag manner. Doing so can save your life & even your pooch’s. Buy a quality Armband from Amazon, Target, Walmart or any other major retailer. This will allow you go hands-free & also protect the phone against rain & snow.
Dogs are family & they are too precious to lose. My advice this season is to get a lot of exercise & have fun but stay safe & keep their tails wagging for a long time!