When the days are short and the nights are long, there is sometimes just no way to get your dog the exercise it needs without walking it after dark. But it’s no secret that walks at night are a lot less safe than daytime walks, and you need all the help you can get to make them a fun and safe experience.
Challenges of Walking Dogs at Night
Dog walks at night can be pretty challenging for a number of reasons. Some common challenges of walking dogs at night are:
1. Reduced visibility
One of the biggest dangers of walking at night is the highly reduced visibility. This not only limits how far you can see but also affects your depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision. And while dogs can see much better than humans in the dark, this too can be a problem if your dog tries to run off after something you can't see.
2. Increased chance of accidents
There is a significantly increased risk of accidents at night due to the reduced visibility. This means that if you lose sight of your dog when it's dark and it accidentally walks in front of a moving vehicle, there is a great chance the driver may not see it until it’s too late.
3. Predatory animals
Depending on where you live, there might be plenty of predatory animals that come out at night, like bears, coyotes, and lions. The night is also home to skunks, raccoons, and opossums, who are often considered to be docile and non-aggressive but can be quite dangerous to walking dogs at night if provoked.
4. Novel stimuli
Animals that are exclusive to the dark and can’t be seen during the day may serve as novel stimuli for your dog and excite it to the point that it becomes difficult to control. This may then lead to your dog trying to run after the thing that caught its fancy, causing disastrous consequences.
5. Higher risk of getting lost
When you walk dog at night, it is at a much higher risk of getting lost if it runs off due to the low visibility. That’s why even dogs trained to walk off the leash should wear a reflective or light-up leash (or at least a reflective vest) when walking at night.
How Late is Too Late to Walk Your Dog?
There is no definite answer to this question, as dogs are in fact social sleepers for whom the concept of too late or too early doesn’t exist. Most dogs will be perfectly happy to wake up and walk at night if you wake up and decide it’s time for a walk.
While walking your dog ‘too late’ may not have any negative consequences for your dog, it is generally not advised to walk your dog after a certain time because a dog barking or triggering other dogs to bark tends to adversely affect the sleep of any neighbors.
How to Safely Walk Your Dog at Night?
Here’s how to stay safe while walking your dog at night:
· Use reflective & led gear
An essential dog walking safety gear is reflective gear designed to reflect most of the light that hits it back toward its source. There is plenty of specialized reflective gear for dog walkers available in the market, including harnesses, vests, bands, jackets, etc.
When you take your dog night running, Kuoser recommend you to use the dog collar with LED.
· Invest in a safety light
Even better than wearing reflective gear is to carry around a battery-powered light for walking dog at night. Such safety light for walking at night include headlamps, collar lights, light-up leashes, etc. These increase your visibility to help you navigate, in addition to making you more visible to other walkers, cyclists, and motorists.
· Keep your dog leashed
Your dog has a much higher chance of startling and running off in the dark, and this can be dangerous for both you and your dog, even when appropriately equipped with dog walking safety gear. So keep your dog leashed the entire time when walking your dog in the dark and use a shorter, non-retractable leash with reflectors or safety lights for maximum safety. Click Here to urge a broad range of washable dog leashes for your dogs!
· Plan your route
If possible, avoid walking your dog in an unfamiliar area at night. Carefully plan your route and stick to areas that are well-lit, familiar, and have low crime rates and traffic. Also, avoid passing through areas with hidden dangers like broken glass, sharp debris, and barbed fences.
· Be vigilant
Always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings when walking dogs at night. Not everyone out at night wears reflective gear, so keep a sharp eye out for other walkers, cyclists, and incoming traffic. Avoid looking at your phone when you walk and be aware of other dogs and wild animals that your dog might have a strong reaction to or attempt to chase.
· Dress appropriately
To walk dog at night, you must dress appropriately for both the weather and the dark. To do so, wear fleece in bright colors like white, yellow, orange, and green. And don’t forget about your dog! Dress it up in a warm reflective coat or jacket to keep it safe and warm throughout the walk.
· Walk against traffic
When walking near or on the road at night, walk against traffic, so you can see everything coming. Choke up on your dog's leash when passing near vehicles and take care so that it doesn't get spooked by sudden car horns or lights.
· No headphones
While we have already stressed the importance of looking around when walking at night, hearing everything around you is equally important. You might love your early morning jog with some music, but you need to ditch those headphones when walking at night.
· Stay on sidewalks
Another thing you need to keep in mind when walking your dog at night is that sticking to sidewalks is the best way to ensure your safety. So stick to sidewalks in well-lit areas where you are easily visible, and avoid taking shortcuts through dark lots or alleyways.
· Never forget your phone
Phones are lifesavers in emergencies, so make sure you always have yours with you when out at night, and it is fully charged with all emergency numbers saved. A phone can also serve as a backup light for walking dog at night and can even help you navigate better in the dark through navigational and route planning apps.
· Carry defensive equipment
If your dog is a large and intimidating breed, you might feel safe enough walking around with it at night, but it never hurts to be prepared. Evaluate what kind of dangers you can encounter when out and plan accordingly. This might include getting a taser, a can of bear spray, or even some regular pepper spray to repel smaller animals.
· Walk with a buddy
If you're still concerned about walking dog alone at night, consider asking a friend, neighbor, or another dog owner to accompany you. If you plan well, it will be an excellent experience for everyone involved, and you won't have to worry about being alone.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Bad to Walk My Dog at Night?
While walks at night aren't exactly bad, they are riskier than walking a dog in the day. So invest in dog walking safety gear like dog flashlight, dog light harness, dog flashlight collar, etc., and be careful at all times.
Should You Walk a Dog Before Bed?
Exercising before bed has proven to improve sleep and health in humans, but what about our canine companions? Research shows walking your dog at night a little before its bedtime can help digestion, improve health, and result in better sleep.
Do Dogs Like to Walk at Night?
Nighttime walks are an opportunity for your dog to explore the world after dark and a healthy dog has a much better night vision than a human, so a lot of dogs will like waking at night. However, if you have a dog that really doesn’t want to walk at night, then don’t push it.
Should I Walk My Dog in the Middle of the Night?
While most dogs seem to have no problems with being woken up in the middle of the night to be taken for a walk, you should avoid doing so unless you have a very good reason to, as taking your dog for a walk so late at night is likely to disturb sleeping neighbors.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Night Walk?
Walking your dog at night comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Some of the major disadvantages are poor visibility, greater safety concerns, predatory animals, and other unforeseen dangers.
Walking a dog at night comes with certain challenges, but it can be a very worthwhile and fun experience when you plan everything well and implement all the tips shared above.
Hope this article helps! Got tips or funny stories? Share your experiences with nighttime dog walking in the comments down below!
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