There's no doubt that taking your dog for a night-time stroll can be a peaceful and refreshing experience. With less traffic on the roads and fewer pedestrians on the paths and in the parks, the whole thing just feels that bit more relaxing. For owners who work long daytime hours, an evening walk may be the only opportunity for exercise they have. For many, a bracing stroll in the British outdoors is the perfect way to unwind after a busy day.
But there is a downside to everything and night-time dog walking is no exception. The likelihood of something happening – a traffic collision, for instance, is far greater after dark than during daylight hours. During dusk and in the weeks approaching winter when the evenings draw in fast, you and your dog become virtually invisible. Even when walking in well-lit areas, your chances of being noticed by motorists are reduced.
Car headlights won't be enough to illuminate you so it is essential that you take every measure to ensure your visibility when walking at night. This means investing in some high visibility, reflective clothing and accessories, both for you and your dog. VioVet offers a great range of essential reflective items both for humans and dogs.
Once you are fully kitted out with your reflective jackets, collars and leashes, you are well on your way to better protecting yourself and your dog this winter. As well as reflective clothing and accessories, it is useful to always carry a torch or headlight when walking after dark so that you can see what’s ahead of you, and so others can see you too. A headlight is a practical option because it keeps your hands free.
The last thing you want to happen is to lose your dog, so never let him off the leash when walking in the dark. In the event this happens, your torch will prove an invaluable aid, as will a high-pitched whistle and your mobile phone. Ensuring your phone is fully-charged before you leave the house is crucial as you may need to call for help.
Keeping your dog on a relatively short leash will increase your control and you will never be in any doubt as to your companion’s whereabouts. Loose dogs, wandering cats and wild animals may be present in the area, as well as troublesome people, so staying close to your dog at all times is very important. Ensure your dog is microchipped and that it's details are kept up-to-date.
You should also bear in mind where you walk, being sure to stay in populated areas with good lighting and plenty of evening activity.
Lastly, if you have to walk at the roadside, walk towards traffic rather than with your back to it. If you walk with the flow of traffic then you are not in a position to see what’s happening behind you – it might be that a vehicle has lost control and is hurtling towards you, or a van has driven up, ready to snatch your dog. Walking against traffic makes you more visible to cars whose headlights will reflect off your high-visibility clothing, thereby alerting them to your presence.
When it comes to night-time hacking, many of the same safety principles apply. Brightly-coloured, reflective clothing is a must, for both horse and rider. Again, essential items can be purchased at VioVet. For more advice on hacking safety, check out our related blog 'Be visible, not vulnerable.'
If you have any advice on this topic, please share it with our other readers! Feel free to contact me directly with any further questions and/or suggestions for future blog posts: [email protected]
Written by Hannah Dyball