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Dog Walking at Night: How to Keep You & Your Dog Safe

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Do shorter days mean your evening dog walks are now taken in dim light–or after dark? Whether you are walking during the last rays of light or at night, both you and your dog are difficult to see. With lighted dog collars and other reflective gear–and some extra safety precautions–both you and your dog can stay safe when dog walking at night.

Dog Walking at Night: How to Keep You & Your Dog Safe

Is it OK to walk dogs at night?

Dogs definitely need the routine of their daily walks, even if they have to be taken at night. If you have a safe, well-lighted place to walk your dog in the evenings or at night, you can take precautions to keep you and your dog safe.

Most dogs also benefit from a quick potty break just before bedtime. While this stop doesn’t have to be a dog walk, it does mean getting out–and, depending on where you live, it may mean walking a distance to a potty area.

Dangers on nighttime walks

As the light lowers, the risks to you and your dog start to increase. Your risks on a night dog walk include:

  • Falls. It is easy trip because you can’t see where you are going. As you fall, not only do you run the risk of injuring yourself but you also risk falling on and injuring your dog or dropping the dog leash and your dog getting away.
  • Traffic. Cars and bicycles have a much harder time seeing you and your dog after dark so your risk of injury rises.
  • Wildlife. Snakes, coyotes and other wildlife come out at night.
  • Losing Your Dog. If your dog gets away from you at night, it is much more difficult for you to find him in the dark.

Steps You Can Take to Stay Safe on Night Walks

Just like you take certain safety precautions when walking your dog during the day, you’ll want to take particular safety steps when walking your dog after dark. On night dog walks, be sure to:

  • Wear reflective clothing. Bright or white shirts, shoes with reflective strips and reflective strips on your dog walking bag (like our YUCKY PUPPY crossbody purse and fanny pack for dog walkers) helps cars see you after dark.
  • Choose reflective or lighted dog gear. Reflective collars and leashes help cars see you in the dark but lighted LED dog walking gear really makes you visible. Below you’ll find our choices for lighted gear. You can also opt for a head lamp (which is great for bending down to scoop the poop–no juggling a flashlight in one hand and poop in the other!)
  • Stick with the light. If you walk in the city, choose a well-lit dog walking route.
  • Bring your phone. If you fall and are injured, be sure you have your phone handy to call for assistance–or call a friend for help if your dog gets away from you. You can also use the light on your phone as a back-up light in case your flashlight (below) gets weak.
  • Bring your own lights. We live in the country so there are no street lights–which means walking with a flashlight. (If you, too, live in the country, I’d also add the tip of making some noise. I talk with our dogs as we walk so we don’t suddenly walk up on a coyote or bobcat.)
  • Know your route. It’s easy to know your route when it’s your home dog walking route but, when you’re traveling with your dog, that gets more difficult. Scope out the area around your hotel if you think you’ll be walking your dog after dark. Notice where the street lights are, uneven surfaces and traffic hazards.
  • Walk facing the traffic. Walk on the sidewalk facing oncoming cars to see traffic and have the time to move to safety if needed.
  • Leave the ear buds at home. You need all of your senses for a night walk so leave headphones and ear buds at home!
  • Use that leash. Even if you opt for off-leash walking during the day, always walk your dog on leash at night. You need to make sure he stays at your side in case of sudden traffic or wildlife.
  • Use a fixed leash. Night walks are times for fixed leashes, not retractables. You don’t want your dog to be yards ahead of you crossing a driveway when a car suddenly turns in. You also won’t be able to see hazards–whether that’s broken glass, a snake or a discarded chocolate candy bar–ahead if your dog is too far away from you.
  • Tag your dog. Be sure your dog is wearing a current dog tag with your address and phone number just in case you are separated on your night dog walk.

Choosing Lighted Dog Walking Gear

Lighted dog collars and other LED dog gear including lighted dog leashes and LED dog tags are one of the best ways to help you see and be seen during dog walks after dark!

lighted dog gear

LED — light-emitting diode — lights are powerfully bright but have the advantages of staying cool, having a longer lifespan, having a small size, and being comparatively inexpensive, perfect for your dog gear. Consider LED gear for these reasons:

To make sure cars see your dog.

If you should drop your leash and your dog gets away from you, make sure he’s seen by oncoming traffic.

To be easier for you to spot.

In the case of a dropped leash, be sure that you’re able to find him in the dwindling light. His LED gear will be easy to follow in the dark. If you enjoy after dark dog park visits or other off-leash play, lighted gear is essential as well.

To protect YOU.

LED gear makes not only your dog easier to spot but YOU easier to spot as well.

To see on camping trips.

Fall camping trips are a great chance for you and your dog to hang out around the campfire and enjoy the stars together. But when your dog steps away, be sure you can see him in the darkness by attaching a LED gear in the form of a light or lighted collar.

To see during and after evening meals.

We love to enjoy patio dining with our dogs during autumn months. Those late night meals mean dark walks back to either our car or hotel room. While we carry a flashlight if we’re walking back to a hotel, we love the security of knowing exactly where our dogs are because of their lighted collars.

To see your dog on the day’s last potty run.

Especially when we’re traveling with the dogs, we put on a lighted collar for that last potty run before settling in for the night.

To see on fall and winter walks.

If it’s dark when you get home from work, put on a lighted collar before you step out for your walk.

To protect your dog during emergency weather situations.

If you’re under a tornado warning in the evening hours, slip a lighted collar on your dog to make sure he’s visible should you become separated.

What to consider when buying LED dog collars, leashes and tags

Not all lighted dog gear is created equal. Before you decide, ask yourself:

  • Is the gear USB rechargeable or does it use batteries that will either need to be removed and recharged or replaced?
  • How long will the battery last? How long is the recharging period?
  • Is the gear waterproof? Water-resistant?
  • Do you want an LED collar to wear all day as a traditional collar or just to slip on over your dog’s collar on walks?  Some lighted collars just slip over your dog’s head and are not suitable as walking collars.
  • Does the gear include different modes such as flashing? This can be useful if you’re walking multiple dogs and want to be able to distinguish one from the other in the dark.

Lighted Dog Gear We Love

Glowdoggie

Glowdoggie lighted dog collar

Glowdoggie offers a slip on collar  that emits a bright glow. We’ve had our collars for eight years and they continue to work like a charm, even after countless dog walks and evening strolls. See our full review.

Canine Care Products

Canine Care Products  offers lighted collars, lighted leashes, and lighted dog harnesses to keep  dogs visible during evening walks.

Canine Care Products lighted dog collar

The lighted dog collar has a small pack that uses two CR2032 batteries to allow up to 100 hours operating time of the LED strip.

The lighted dog leash works in a similar way and can be set to glow constantly or to flash. The lighted dog harness also features a battery-operated strip of LED lights that can flash at your choice of two speeds.

LED dog leash

Some of the most special fall memories you and your dog can make are in the evenings — whether it’s a late night stroll, an evening meal, or a vacation getaway.

Make sure you’re making good memories by always protecting your dog with lighted products!

LED dog collars

Mat

Tuesday 12th of November 2019

OMG, yes! Please please light your dogs at night. Also, please light yourself! Also, please train your dog! Getting a program from a certified dog trainer helps a lot. Adrienne Farricelli has tons of info on her website and a great training program. Shes CPDT-KA certified even (They need 300+ hours of training!) Check her out https://rebrand.ly/CertifiedDogTraining

Pamela

Tuesday 4th of August 2015

WOW, this article was right up my alley....as the author of "Get Your Leash On!" I am a strong advocate of being safe WITH your dog and living healthy!......While it's important to light up your dog with leashes, collars, etc .....Don't forget to light up yourself! And don't forget even doggie bags have lights attached to them if I'm not mistaken! So that when we are out about with our dog at night, we can be responsible and CLEAN up after them! No Excuses! Stay Safe, healthy and hydrated this extremely warm summer season!