How to Stay Visible on Dog Walks as Nights Get Darker

How to Stay Visible on Dog Walks as Nights Get Darker

As we wave goodbye to the summer, the lighter evenings and early morning sunshine also leave us behind for another year. For dog walkers who have to brave the elements to give their pet daily exercise, darker evenings can be a danger for them and their pet.

Heading out for walkies when it’s dark out means a higher risk of accidental injury, loss, and encountering nocturnal wildlife. Both you and your pet will be less visible to passers by and vehicles and any dangers in your surroundings will also be less noticeable.

Please read our tips and advice below to help keep you safe as the nights draw in:

Plan Your Route – your nighttime route should be planned in advance. The safest route is one which is well-lit, public, and that both you and your dog know well.

Walking a route that is already familiar to your dog is beneficial in case you should get separated, they’ll know where to go to be reunited with you and you’re more likely to be able to easily locate them.

Avoid woodlands and alleyways. These areas are dark, isolated, and you are more likely to encounter hazards such as broken glass, and wildlife. Even if you have a source of light with you in these darker areas, your safety will still be compromised.

Wear High Visibility Clothing – both you and your dog should be dressed with visibility in mind. Bright, reflective, and light up clothing and accessories will help you both to be easily seen by passers by, and oncoming vehicles. Just because you can see a vehicle, does not mean that they can see you.

For humans we recommend a reflective hi-vis vest that can be worn over your favourite winter coat. Dogs have a lot of options when it comes to high visibility accessories: reflective harnesses, leads, and even light-up flashing bands and collar attachments.

If you’re finding it difficult to source any of the suggestions above, an effective temporary solution is reflective tape. Stick it to your own clothing, or wrap it around your dog’s lead or harness.

Stay Alert – the best piece of advice we can give you for nighttime walks is to remain alert. Route planning and high visibility can only get you so far, remaining alert is the best protection for you and your dog.

Ditch the headphones, and instead listen for potential danger. If you can, buddy up for your evening walks – if there’s nobody in your household who can join you, ask a friend, or find a neighbour that would also benefit from company on their dog walk.

If you have to walk alone make sure a friend or family member is aware of your route. Use a location sharing App, or send location via WhatsApp so that somebody you love always knows where you are.

Top Tip: if you find yourself in danger and aren’t able to make the all-important 999 call, press the ‘Lock’ button on your phone five times in quick succession, this will dial 999 for you and the operator will send help to your location if you cannot speak.

The safety of you and your dog is priority, do everything you can to put yourselves in the best position during your autumn and winter exercise. Let us know any other advice you have, and share this with a friend to help stay visible on nighttime walks.