Walking your dog at night can be challenging, and those challenges might change with the weather and the area where you’re walking. Depending on where you live, some of the following tips for walking your dog at night may not be applicable to you. If, for example, you’re like me and live in a very rural region populated with many nocturnal animals, nightly walks with your pet are far from ideal. However, if you live in the city, or aren’t too worried about those night time critters, we’ve got a list of suggestions for how you and your pup can stay safe during those nighttime walks.
1. Reflective Clothing Or Lights (For You And Your Dog)
You can, fortunately, pick up reflective clothing and lights for night walks almost anywhere, like from your local pet store, the internet, or sporting goods stores. You don’t have to go all out like you’re in a Fourth of July parade, but a reflective vest and leash for your dog along with a reflective vest or hat for yourself may be the difference between life and death for you and your pet. This is crucial if you are walking your dog along roads and sidewalks, of course. You may be able to get by with fewer lights or reflectors if you are in the woods or in the city where traffic or lighting might not be as big of an issue. It’s still important that people be able to see you for your own safety.
2. Carry Your Phone And Portable Charger
While we would like to believe otherwise, an emergency situation can, unfortunately, arise anywhere. It is best to be prepared, and that means having both your phone with you and a means to charge it should the battery be running low. If you are able, having a Bluetooth attachment may also behoove you as it will cut down the time to pull out your phone and dial emergency services, too. Accidents happen, so it’s best to be able to get help quickly.
3. Watch For Animals
Night time brings out many nocturnal animals, as mentioned earlier. While most do not pose threats to you or your dog, it is still vital to be on alert. Skunks can definitely bring down your nightly trek if one or both of you get sprayed in the process, and then there is the risk of more aggressive animals like badgers. For those of you who have the bad habit of walking your dog without a leash, smaller dogs could end up being at risk of more predatory night animals like coyotes, too. Be aware of your surroundings and be loud so you don’t sneak up on any animals that might react aggressively when surprised. A flashlight might also help to scare away some nocturnal animals. Here’s a guide on what to do if you encounter a wild animal on your walk.
4. Take Only Known Routes
There’s already enough risks involved with walking your dog at night, but adding an extra level of adventurousness by taking unfamiliar routes is definitely not a good idea in the dark. With lowered visibility and potentially hazardous walking conditions, taking unfamiliar routes could have dangerous consequences. Changing up your routes during the day isn’t necessarily a bad idea, and it could give your dog some extra exercise and mental stimulation. That said, make sure you’re familiar with all of the paths you take prior to venturing out at night.
Have any other tips for night walking your dog at night? Let us know in the comments below!