During autumn the shorter days mean there’s less daylight for those all-important walkies. While your dog still needs their daily exercise, that afternoon stroll can feel less appealing when the sun’s not shining. So we’re here to help! Read our top tips for walking your dog in the dark – so you can enjoy your exercise time together whatever.
Making sure others can see you and your dog when you’re out walking will help you both stay safe, and give you extra peace of mind.
For your dog, you can use a reflective lead, collar or harness to stand out on darker walks. And if you feel comfortable letting them off the lead during twilight or you just want to go that extra steo, a light-up collar will ensure they can be seen by you and others. Wearing a reflective jacket yourself is also a smart tip for staying visible to passersby and other dog walkers.
Take a torch
A handy bit of autumn and winter dog walking kit. You can use your torch to identify any trip hazards for you and your dog, avoiding any rolled ankles or poorly paws. Great for those bits of the park the street lights don’t reach!
A torch can also help you spot anything unsuitable on the ground which your dog might try to eat. Don’t forget you can always distract or reward them with a more dog-friendly treat too!
Stick to the lead
If you’re walking in a well-lit area, there are likely to be cars and other traffic around. So it’s best to keep your pup on a lead wherever it’s busy and there’s low visibility. Especially as it’s harder to spot your dog in the dark.
The same goes for parks or areas that might not have lighting throughout. Without those street lights, it can be harder to see your dog – or anything they might eat that they’re not meant to! That doesn’t mean all freedom is gone though, a long line can be the best of both worlds. Your dog can roam a little for those really good sniffs, but stay within close enough for you to still see them.
Wrap up warm
Shorter nights and darker dog walks often means colder ones too! While some dogs don’t feel the cold much, especially breeds with thicker coats, others can benefit from an extra layer. This means they can still enjoy their time outside and get the exercise they need, and stay toasty.
- Not sure if your dog needs an extra layer? Read an expert’s guide to jumpers and coats for dogs.
- Want help finding the right outerwear? Browse our dog coat guide for more info.
And remember, wrapping up warm goes for you too!
Follow your dog’s lead
Walking in the dark all depends on your dog’s preferences. As the afternoons and mornings darken, keep an eye on your dog’s behaviour and body language as you walk. If they appear uncomfortable, you can always change your routine before the days get even shorter.
Some dogs enjoy night or early morning walking, whereas others aren’t so keen. You might try walking with friends or other dogs to keep them feeling calm and confident, especially if your dog already knows them.
If your dog doesn’t like walking in the dark, or it’s not something you enjoy either, why not try some indoor enrichment activities instead? Engaging your dog’s brain is a surefire way to burn off some energy and leave them feeling satisfied without that dark walk.
Walking in the dark – the wrap up
We hope these tips for walking your dog in the dark help you enjoy those winter strolls together. Got any more top tips of your own? Share them in the comments below, or tag us on Facebook or Instagram using #tailsdotcom. Or share them with fellow pack members on our dedicated Facebook group – the tails.com Wet Nose Nation!