A Labradoodle is on the beach at sunset

Dog Walking in the Dark

7 December 2022

Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 6 June 2023

When the days get shorter, this often limits how many and the length of walks our dogs can get.

To keep yourself and your dog safe during this time, there are a few things to consider when walking.

1. Be Visible

Whether you are in the city or walking along country roads, it is highly important to be visible to others, especially cars. Wearing dark clothing can put you at risk.

Instead, try light clothing and consider reflective gear. You can include your dog in this by using a reflective collar and lead or one with LED lights.

Doggy member Bear, the Siberian Husky wearing a reflective harness as the evening draws in

2. Dress appropriately

Along with dressing to be seen, you should be dressing for the weather. Autumn and winter often means quick changes in weather and dropping temperatures as it gets dark. Opt for layers, a waterproof coat and shoes. If your dog is short-haired, you may consider a coat for them too.

3. Be alert

Although this isn’t just a tip for walking in the dark, it is especially important when walking alone at night. It is a good idea to have your phone charged as you can get help if needed and access GPS if you become lost.

It is also recommended to avoid wearing headphones, especially noise-cancelling ones in order to keep you alert around traffic and other dangers.

4. Stick to what you know

Walking familiar routes keeps you safe as you will be familiar with any common dangers on that route. Choosing well-lit paths and parks that you know may help you feel more comfortable and safe when exercising your dog.

Lead walking is suggested as it is easier to keep an eye on your dog.

5. Countryside safety

Remember when walking on country roads, especially with a thin path or none at all, to walk against the traffic. It is much easier for you to be seen this way.

When walking in the countryside, you may not have as many options for well-lit routes. Following the suggestions above about visibility and being alert is extra important.

Doggy member Loki, the Border Collie on top of a hill at sunset

To find out more about walking in winter, take a look at our 5 Top Tips for Dogs During Autumn and Top tips for winter walks.

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