10 Jun 15

7 tips for nighttime dog walks ...

by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

Did you ever think about safety while walking your dog at night?  Now that it is summer time and walking in the evening can be a great time to take your pup for a long walk since it is cooler in the evening.  Don’t forget that while when you leave it may have been light out and on your way back it is dark out.

It amazes me how many people run, bike, or walk their dogs in the darkness of night without any reflective or light colored clothing on them or their pets.

Recently while walking my dark grey (blue if you will) dog, in the late evening, I put an LED color on him knowing it would be dark upon our walk back.  I lit that collar up when it got dark so, even though he was on a 6-foot leash and we were on the sidewalk for 90% of the walk, he would be more visible with the collar on while walking next to me.  Here on Long Island the summer brings out complete idiot drivers, (have you noticed or am I getting old?), especially at night.  People fly around corners, don’t stop at stop signs – and don’t look either way.  So here are some simple tips to help keep you and your dog safe while walking on a beautiful summer night!

1. Get an LED collar, (and leash), for your dog.  They are becoming more popluar and can blink or hold a steady light and make your dog more visible.

Cody walking with me at night.  You wouldn’t see him without that collar!

2. Just because your dog is now visible with his LED collar or leash – don’t let your own common sense fly out the window!  Teach your dog to wait, sit and stay at every corner. I have only had my dog for 7-weeks, (out of the shelter) and he already does this. (Good boy Cody!)  So you can safely cross the street after you looked both ways. AND in case someone is flying up to the stop sign or street corner – you do NOT want your dog out ahead of you! (Same goes for baby strollers, HELLO?  I see that all the time and cringe!)

3. DO NOT USE retractable leashes at night.  If your dog is zipped out 20-feet ahead of you, even if he is up into some bushes or ‘taking care of business’ and you have to get him out of harms way – you will NOT be able to fast enough.  And that skinny little line is hardly visible when you are a distance away, and likely a driver is not going to see your dog.  Enough said, right?

4. Be sure your dog is microchipped and has a proper ID tag on him with proper contact number.  Your cell number is best because let’s face it we don’t often change our cell number’s.  But a back up number or email is a good idea on that tag if you can fit it.

Twigo Tag!

5. Have a yard?  Check your gates!  Maybe you just came back from a walk and decide to let Buster take a romp in the yard, but your husband, kids or landscaper left the gate open – now it is night, dark and your dog is out of the yard.

6. No sidewalk to walk with your dog?  You should have light clothing on and a flashlight and be careful when walking on the side of the road!  Or find a safer area to walk your dog at night that has a sidewalk.

7.  This seems like a no-brainer, but be sure your cell phone is charged fully when you set out to leave for your walk.  Just in case you need it for the flash light, to make a call, etc.

Enjoy the summer evening walks with your dog and just keep these tips in mind.  Do you do anything in addition to these tips? We would love to hear it in the comment section below!

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