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6 Tips for Walking Your Dog in the Dark

Is it OK to walk my dog in the dark? Can dogs be scared of walking in the dark? What should you wear and bring when dog walking at night? These and more questions answered!

As winter keeps creeping closer, and the evenings grow darker, we all spend more time dog walking in the dark at night. We've put together a few tips for making these dog walks more safe and enjoyable.

Choose a Familiar Route

Night time is NOT the time for exploring new territory when walking your dog. Exploring new routes is fun, both for you and your dog, but sticking to familiar grounds is the safe choice at night.

First of all, staying on familiar routes is a fool-proof way not to get lost. In urban areas you might also get unwantet company from other people. Your dog will try to keep you safe, and just walking with a large dog will probably keep this from happening, but why take the risk?

When it's dark, it's also harder to notice other animals and night creatures before stumbling upon them. When you're on a trail you know, you also know where these encounters might happen. There are plenty of night time animals you don't want your dog chasing. Staying on familiar and well worn paths, will reduce the chance of meeting other animals.

Use a Leash When Walking Your Dog In the Dark

When walking your dog in the dark, you should really consider the dangers of walking off leash. I love walking without a leash, but at night it's a little bit different.

First of all, seeing dangers is harder at night. It's harder for you to spot other dogs and animals that you don't necessarily want your dog to encounter without you.

Dogs can more easily be spooket at night. A small "something" moving in the wind migh scare them off into traffic or other dangers. Dogs see better than humans in the dark, but the darkness reduces what they see too.

Stay Visible With a Vest

Reflective vests for both you and your dog is probably the easiest way to keep you both more safe when dog walking in the dark. The reflective vests increase visibility for cars, bicycles and anyone else passing by.

We definitely recommend these for both you and your dog to be more visible at night.

Please check out the post we did on how to stay visible when walking your dog in the dark.

Light Up Your Large Dog

A LED collar, with or without a leash, is another great way to increase your visibility when dog walking in the dark.

LED collars have come a long way in the last years, and there are probably thousands to choose from. A household favorite here is the Illumiseen LED Dog Collar.

A LED leash also increases your visibility. I personally don't use these, as I don't need another gadget that needs their batteries charged. I prefer an ordinary reflective nylon leash, like this one, from Max and Neo. They donate a leash to a dog shelter for every leash sold.

Please check out the post we did on how to stay visible when walking your dog in the dark.

Wear a Headlamp

This probably isn't the top choice when just cruising the neighbourhood, but when doing your dog walking at night out of reach of the urban lights, a headlamp is a definite yes!

Not to forget the fun of picking up the poop from your pup - a most interesting task when doing it blindfolded by dark! A lot easier task when wearing a headlamp, which still leaves your hands free to use.

There are literally thousands to choose from, but a practical, rechargeable headlamp bright enoug for walking your dog at night, I'd recommend this one from Energizer:

Bring Your Phone

I usually try leaving my phone at home when taking short walks with my dog during the day. This is to be more focused on my dog and our time together. It's far too easy to pick up your phone and just start scrolling along on Instagram or whatever.

At night, I consider the phone safety gear, and never leave the house without it. With a phone, you're not that alone, and you always have a way to connect with friends or the police if necessary. I've actually called the police a few times because I've witnessed garage break-ins and trespassings when dog walking at night.

Keep your eyes open when walking your dog at night time, and your neighbourhood might even be a safer one because of you and your large watchdog.

Do you have any great tips or advice you'd like to share on dogs and darkness? Please share them below in the comments!


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