3 min read

7 Safety Tips for Walking Your Dog at Night

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Overview

Should I walk my dog in the dark? When is too late to walk your dog? As a pet parent, you’ve probably asked these questions when creating or tweaking your pup’s daily routine. There is no single correct answer, as everyone’s schedule and situation are different. Reasons for after-dark walks include shorter days, working odd hours, and having a high-energy pup who requires more than two walks per day. Some pet parents also try walking a reactive dog at night to see if it's a better option for them.

Walking your dog after dark can be challenging—you have to deal with low visibility, traffic, and/or wildlife, among other potential dangers. However, there are several things you can do to protect yourself and your four-legged friend during your nighttime strolls. Check out our tips on how to safely walk your dog at night.



Silhouette of three people and two dogs walking at dusk - 7 Safety Tips for Walking Your Dog at Night

Buddy up for night walks

There’s safety in numbers, so if you know another pet parent who walks their dog at night such as a trusted neighbor, then consider taking your evening strolls together. If that’s not possible, be it due to no one being available or your dog preferring to fly solo, at least let a friend or family member know about your nightly walks with Fido. Be sure to give them important details such as where you're going and how long you'll be out.



Always leash up for safety

Though quiet and peaceful, the night comes with additional dangers such as nocturnal animals. Depending on where you live, you and your pooch may encounter badgers, raccoons, opossums and coyotes on your nighttime walks. Making sure your best friend stays by your side and doesn’t chase after wildlife helps to keep them safe. Of course, you should always have your pup on a leash whenever you’re out in public regardless of time and location.



Person and leashed dog walking along a brick street at night

Ditch the earbuds to stay focused

While this may seem like a good time to listen to some music or catch up on your favorite podcast, it’s best to leave the headphones at home when you’re walking your dog at night. Tuning out puts you and your furry pal at an increased risk of harm. You should be aware of your surroundings and hear everything around you, from approaching vehicles to people trying to communicate with you, and even to bad weather in the distance.



Stick to familiar routes

Changing up your walking route is a good way for your dog to experience new sights and smells and get more mental stimulation. However, it’s best to reserve this sense of adventure for daytime strolls. When walking your pup at night, you’ll want to stick to a planned and familiar route. Choose areas that are well-lit and well-known, ideally with good sidewalks or walking paths.


Man and dog walking at sunset

Bring a fully charged phone

Anything can happen at any time, so you want to be prepared in case of an emergency. Always make sure your cell phone is fully charged before you and Fido venture out so you can call for help if needed. Don’t use your phone while walking, though. Be aware of your surroundings at all times; any texts, calls, or notifications you receive can wait until you and your pooch are back home.

 

Carry a personal safety device ay night

A personal safety device can aid in self-defense should you and your pup get attacked. Options include strobe lights, pepper sprays, and personal alarms, all of which can stop an attacker in their tracks and give you and Fido enough time to escape. Whatever you choose, it’s important to test your device at home first so that you know how to use it properly should you find yourself in a dicey situation.


Man and woman walking two dogs at night on residential street

Wear light-up or reflective gear

Make yourselves more visible to drivers and cyclists with light-up or reflective gear. You don’t have to go crazy and wear multiple items; one each for you and your pooch should be enough. Some of the best products for walking your dog at night are a reflective harness or LED collar for Fido and a reflective cap or light-up armband for yourself. These items can be found almost anywhere, including your local pet store, sporting goods stores, and online. 



Do you have other safety tips for walking with your dog at night? Share them with our readers in the comments below!



Not comfortable walking your pup after dark? Let a trusted Pet Caregiver do it for you! Walking services are available until 10:30 PM, so book a walk with Wag! today!


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