Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you
Daylight savings time just started, and with it comes less daylight and darker nights.
There’s one “person” who doesn’t care about the time change, and that is your dog. He still needs exercise and proper mental stimulation which means going for a walk at night.
In addition to the coats and warmer clothes needed, you have to be prepared to walk him in the dark. Even with the benefit of street lights, if they are any on your way, you still must be concerned with many things that we can NOT see at night.
We’ll provide our best advice on gear and helpful tips to walk your dog at night.
Best Gear for Walking your Dog Safely at Night
Waggin Tails Dual Handle Leash with Reflective Stitching
Summary: The waggin tails reflective leash comes with dual padded handles, is trainer approved and is 6 feet long. This is a great leash for medium to larger dogs and helps reflect any headlights to be more easily seen. It is also available in 11 colors and comes with a lifetime warranty!
Illumiseen LED Night Time Dog Leash
Summary: No street lights, no problem. For those walking in areas that are really dark the Illumiseen LED Dog Leash is perfect. Vehicles will DEFINITELY see your dog with this leash. Available in 4 ft or 6 ft lengths, this LED leash has a USB rechargeable battery, that lasts for 5 hours at a time. It also comes with a lifetime guarantee.
SafetyPUP XD Reflective Vests
Summary: The SafetyPup Reflective Vest is a sight to see, which is perfect for in the dark. Available in 5 sizes, extra small to extra-large, these vests help keep your dog visible on or off the leash. They are also durable enough that they can be worn during the day which is nice during hunting season to make sure your pup doesn’t look like a deer. This vest is made of premium quality, rip resistant Oxford weave fabric, and is available in 5 colors. We also try and choose products that offer a money back guarantee and this is no different.
JUXZH Soft Front Dog Harness with Reflective Stitching
Summary: The JUXH Dog Harness no pull harness is perfect for any bigger dog as it provides reflective material and helps as a harness making those walks easier. It is made of scratch resistant Oxford material and nylon webbing that has 3M reflective material built into the stitching. It has a comfortable lightweight mesh lining and is available in 9 colors.
Mighty Paw Reflective Dog Collar
Summary: The Might Paw Waterproof Collar is perfect for the cold and often wet winter. With a coated nylon webbing and a reflective stripe, this collar is smell-proof and waterproof. The material is incredibly easy to clean, just wipe it down with a cloth or paper towel and it’s good as new. This collar comes in 3 sizes, and 2 colors.
Lightweight Reflective Safety Vests with Arm Bands
Summary: The lightweight reflective safety vest is perfect for walking or running with your dog at night. It’s easy to put on top of clothing and even fits well over the top of jackets.
It also comes with arm bands that only add to the reflective power to make sure that cars and other vehicles can you see you and your pups at night.
Difficulties with Walking Your Dog at Night
Hazards on the Path
One concern with walking in the dark is what your dog may get in to. Sometimes they like to eat grass, other times be much worse such as droppings (ew!) he finds along the way. During the day, you can spot things easily and steer them away, or use the leash to redirect him, but at night, it’s a much bigger challenge.
It’s important for both of us to be aware of our surroundings, too. Even though you may take a couple of known paths during the day, at night it’s easy to get turned around. The usual landmarks you are familiar with aren’t as easily visible at night. After it’s dark, it’s best to try to stick to the most familiar and well-lit route for our walks.
It’s also important to be on the lookout for other animals. Between raccoons, deer, rabbits, and cats it may cause your dog to chase after them. This can be both heart wrenching and unsafe for your dog. It can be difficult to track them down, or worse if they were to get hurt.
Cars and Safety
Always try to remember is to walk against the traffic. Cars can see you much earlier in oncoming traffic than by the traffic going in the same direction. Plus, you can get out of the way quicker, if you see it coming in front of you. With the reflective gear listed below it’s going to make you even more visible.
Dogs still needs exercise, day or night, so to help them be seen (and safe!), I’ve invested in some special accessories to help keep the both of us safe during our nighttime walks.
Helpful Tips for Walking your Dog at Night
Evening walks can be a great time for your dog to explore and get out of the house. If you don’t live in a neighborhood where this is safe, there are some things that you (and your dog ) need to know!
Walk with a Light
Either on your person or attached to a leash.
There are several LED lights available for dogs that clip onto the collar or harness, and even more that attach to leashes (and are thus visible to vehicles and other people). You can of course use anything you feel comfortable with – including a flashlight or simply a lighter!
Use Reflective Gear or Clothing
Dogs can be very difficult to see at night – even if you have a light and are wearing reflective gear on yourself, it’s still helpful to make your dog more visible. There are many special doggie running vests and coats made from reflective material! (Again, Pet Safe suggests making sure that any apparel is tested for safety before use.)
Stay on Known Paths
Dog’s eyes will adjust to darkness much more quickly than yours, but they can still have trouble finding their way around. If you live in a neighborhood with sidewalks and well-lit streets, stick to that!
If it’s dark or foggy outside (or if there are lots of other dogs or people out), it may be safer to stick to the road and only cross streets at lights or in crosswalks, as opposed to “going rogue” and taking to the sidewalks or lawns.
Even if you’ve done all of these things – stay alert! It’s dark out there, and dogs can still get hurt. If you see something suspicious, have a dog that’s out of control, or just sneak up on other walkers without realizing it – keep your cell phone handy. Things happen faster and get closer before you can see them in the dark.
You should also bring dog treats with you in case you come across another canine or someone who wants to pet your pup! It’s important to have treats to make sure that your dog doesn’t run off and so you can quickly get your dog’s attention. Your dog isn’t likely to stray far if you have good treats on hand.
Reasons to Walk your Dog at Night
There are Fewer Dogs and People Out at Night
If you have a reactive dog, the fewer people there are to react to – the better! There are also fewer dogs out at night. This makes things easier on your pup and you! If you want a peaceful and easy walk at night and maybe even let your dog off-leash then a nighttime walk might be best for you.
The Temperature is Cooler at Night
If hot weather is a problem for you and your dog – then a night walk might be best. Evening walks are lovely, especially in fall or winter when it’s cooler out! You can miss the heat of the day and not have to worry about taking more water or the amount of time out in the sun.
It’s a Great Way to Destress Before Bed
If you know your dog is more likely to sleep through the night after having a successful walk – then nighttime walks can be very helpful for both of you. If your dog has lots of energy and needs an outlet before bedtime, or if you have trouble falling asleep because your mind is racing, going for a calm evening stroll could help!
It’s also a great way for you to relax after a long day of work and meetings. It’s much easier to be happier after a walk with your best friend and get a night’s sleep even if you’ve had a stressful day.
Just because it’s darker soon does not mean that pups doesn’t need the exercise any more. There are still effective ways to walk your dog at night. It’s not a bad thing for us, either. With proper preparation the proper accessories, we can still enjoy our walks in the evening.