While nighttime dog walks are quieter, they come with additional safety considerations. In a dog owner's community, there's a painful case where a dog owner took their dog out for a walk in their well-known neighborhood at night, thinking it was safe. Later, they discovered their dog had been bitten by a snake in the grassy area. Although the dog wasn't in life-threatening danger, this was a traumatic experience for both the dog and its owner. In reality, such accidents can be completely avoidable.
What should you pay attention to when walking your dog at night?
1. Increase Visibility:
- Flashlights are not the best choice as they require you to free up one hand to hold them. In comparison, recently popular Croc Lights are cost-effective and offer a headlight with impressive brightness.
- Don't underestimate the utility of having one hand free. You can use it to keep your dog on a shorter leash. Also, a headlight allows you to control the light source better and keeps your dog visible.
To make yourself more visible to others, avoid wearing dark-colored clothes when walking your dog at night. Light-colored clothing is more suitable for nighttime walks.
You can also consider carrying reflective vests, collars, or dog tags, which can enhance your and your dog's visibility. If you're planning to get a winter coat for your dog, those with reflective strips are the best choice.
2. Stick to Familiar Routes:
Dogs are naturally curious and enjoy exploring new things, including new walking routes. However, things are different at night. Unknown paths can pose dangers for both your dog and you. Moreover, you might encounter individuals with malicious intentions.
Think about an unfamiliar route you've never taken before. Do you know if there are broken glass shards, sharp plants, toxic dead animals, or sick dogs' feces on the ground? Is there a risk of encountering someone with ill intentions who might follow you?
Therefore, it's best to stick to familiar routes during nighttime dog walks.
3. Avoid These Practices:
- Retractable Leashes: Avoid using retractable leashes, especially at night. A regular leash is much more practical during nighttime dog walks. While your dog may have better night vision than you, it can still get overly excited or distracted by other nocturnal animals, such as a passing rat. In this situation, a retractable leash offers no advantages and may even trip others, leading to accidents.
- Smartphone: Many dog owners, and even non-dog owners, have the habit of checking their phones while walking. The smartphone's bright screen can cause temporary blindness when you look up after checking your device. During those few seconds, you may not see what's around you, potentially putting your dog or even a delivery person at risk.
4. Walk in Groups:
- If you're a solo dog walker, consider walking your dog with friends or fellow dog owners at night.
- If you're not alone, bring your significant other along for nighttime walks.
Walking in groups is generally safer.