How to keep you and your dog safe when walking in the dark

Walking your dog in the fall is full of dilemmas – like being strangely bent over looking for poop in the leaves.

With the recent comeback of clocks, another big problem we face is taking our dogs out for walks in the dark.

It’s dark very early now which is a nightmare if you come home from work after the sunsets. But just because it’s dark doesn’t mean we can’t walk around.

However, there are some dangers you should be aware of, such as:

So with these dangers in mind, Vets now has put together some tips for keeping you and your puppy safe when you go exploring at dusk.

Tips for you:

  • Always carry a torch. Or better yet, wear a headlamp, as they leave your hands free.

  • Wear light-colored clothing. Equally important is that you wear a shiny coat, ideally with reflectors.

  • If you want to take your dog on a new route, try it out in daylight first.

Tips for your dog:

  • Reflective equipment. In addition to reflective collars and leashes, consider putting reflective bands on their legs. If your dog wears a coat, this can also be purchased with reflective patches.

  • LED lights. These lights are now lighter and brighter than ever before and the batteries last much longer. The clip-on versions can also usually be recharged via a USB stick.

  • LED necklaces. These can make it much easier to find your furry friend in the dark.

Things to watch out for:

  • Other dogs. Meeting other dogs is more of a problem in the dark, so if your pet is nervous it’s probably best to keep them on a leash or within sight.

  • The other people. Think of the joggers on the paths and the cyclists on the bridle paths.

  • Potholes and other objects. Watch out for broken glass and other sharp objects that can injure your dog’s feet. Sharp dogs may also attempt to jump over fences or walls and may be unable to see depth or fall on the other side, or other hazards like barbed wire.

  • Cars and other vehicles. Road accidents are a common cause of emergency admissions, especially during hours of darkness.

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Did you know that dogs see much better than us in low light and here’s why:

  • Their pupils are bigger so they let in more light

  • They have more rods in their retinas and these are designed for low light

  • They have a tapetum behind the retina, which reflects light again, so technically they see twice as bright

  • For these reasons, don’t take anything for granted when walking your dog in the dark. Your dog may spot something you can’t see and rush to find it. It is often these unexpected accelerations that lead to an accident.


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