I walk my dog every night in the dark and have been using and trying plenty of products that either produce or reflect light. When walking your dog at night, safety should be your highest priority. Drivers should be able to see you clearly but also bikers and strangers need to be aware of your dog.
Taking some precautions for you and your dog will make it so much easier and safer to walk. Sadly there is not a single solution that will guide you with light as well as brightly reflecting the headlights of a car. In the following list, you will find the products that will help you see as well as being seen.
LED Dog Collar
The LED collar was the first safety item that I bought for my dog. She is a Rottweiler and therefore invisible to me with her black coat in low light. I also wanted her to be easily seen by other people and bikers at night because I let her off-leash sometimes.
Her recall is very strong and bikes don’t bother her but I don’t want to get anyone injured just because they didn’t see my dog walking on the side. It’s also very handy to be able to see more of your environment with a little light walking beside you.
For her, I chose the Blazin’ Safety LED Dog Collar and I am truly satisfied with it. Most important to me was the brightness and safety of the LED collar. When you consider buying a rechargeable or battery-powered device for your dog, always make sure that it’s clearly described as water-resistant or waterproof because you don’t want your dog to get an electric shock when it’s raining.
I went for the green collar in size large. As I explained in my post Are Dogs Color Blind? canines are only able to perceive yellow and blue light wavelengths which makes them color blind to green and red. I don’t know if the colored light would be bothering her but I just wanted to be certain.
Dog Collar LED Light
A collar light can either be bought as an addition or as the only illuminating product on your dog. While I think that the LED dog collar gives more light, I was genuinely surprised by the power of the Clip-On Pet Dog Collar LED Light.
Again it’s completely waterproof and has a long-lasting battery installed. One side is brighter than the other so make sure to clip them the right way. The white one definitely has the lowest light but it’s perfect for walks in the early evening.
Besides the LED collar or light, having a harness with reflective stripes is a must. Now if you are like me and you don’t want to purchase and fit a specific harness only for night walks then I can highly recommend the Rabbitgoo Dog Harness.
This is the harness my dog is wearing on her daily walks. It is equipped with a front-clip which is a must for dogs that may pull in certain situations. I liked the very bright color orange which is reflective in itself apart from the stripes.
Phone or Flashlight
Now that your dog is seen by other people, you will need something to see for yourself. I always carry either my phone or a flashlight with me on every night time walk. It’s the dumbest thing to walk in pure darkness trying to find your dog’s poop to pick up.
If your phone’s light is not sufficient enough, simply carry an extra flashlight with you but don’t leave your phone at home because it is also a safety precaution in case of an emergency.
LED Dog Leash
I definitely prefer illuminating dog gear over reflective stripes as I tend to walk on sparsely lit tracks at night. Most of the time my dog will be walking off-
The Blazin’ Safety LED Dog Leash does a perfect job providing me with that extra light. I had to try a few of these leashes and they all stopped working pretty quickly. This is the only one that lasts me to this day and I am very happy about the brightness and quality of the product.
Dog Light Harness
The reflective stripes along the sides make it very easy for drivers to see you at night and they can anticipate a dog walking more quickly. I wish I had bought this harness earlier and the fit was surprisingly well which happens rar
Tips for Walking Your Dog at Night
Nighttime is definitely not the safest hour and the lack of light can make it dangerous for you and your dog. I have been walking my dog at night all her life and here are my tips for you:
Don’t Walk Alone
I am living in a very quiet and fairly safe town but nonetheless, I always like to bring my boyfriend with me. It just feels more protected if you are walking together with someone no matter the breed of dog you have.
If you don’t have anyone to go out with you, ask a friend if you can call them during the walk and talk about your day. Try to walk your dog as much as possible during the day if you are alone.
Wear the Right Gear
Now that your dog is fully geared and illuminated, you will need something for yourself too. There are many reflective vests for humans out there like the SAWNZC Reflective Vest that will keep you visible during the night.
Avoid wearing all dark clothes at night, even some bright running shoes would be better than nothing. Grabbing one of the LED lights and clipping it on your jacket will also do the trick.
Stay in the Light
Every path you walk at night should be sufficiently lit especially if you are going out alone. Shy away from dark fields or the forest where no-one would be able to hear you in case of an emergency.
Short sections can be illuminated with a flashlight or your phone. If you don’t want to have anything in your hands during the walk then consider buying a headlamp.
Better Stay Leashed
I told you before that I am keeping my dog mostly off-leash during the walk but that’s only because her recall is very strong, she doesn’t have any prey drive and there are no people or cars.
If you are walking anywhere near houses, roads, fields with wildlife or the forest then please put your dog on the leash. Canines are
Carry a Weapon
No, I don’t mean that you have to carry an actual weapon but if you are living in an area with a higher crime rate, consider protecting yourself with some pepper spray.
Pepper spray is incredibly effective and allowed to carry in most parts of the world. In case of an emergency, it will be able to protect your life by causing severe pain and burning sensation.
Know Your Way
Don’t try to go on any adventures at night and stay on the routes that are familiar to you. It will help you stay orientated as the same paths can look so different at night.
If you want to try some new walks then go there a few times in daylight first. This way you will get familiar with the new route and your dog will also be able to follow the way easily.
Keep Off the Headphones
Your full attention should be given to your dog and the surroundings at any time. Turn off all distractions when walking your dog at night otherwise you might not be able to hear oncoming cars or people.
Also, keep an eye on your dog’s body language and posture that way you will be able to react in situations where your dog is able to see something way ahead.
What are your experiences with walking your dog at night and what products are you using to stay safe? Let me know in the comment section.