Now that we have had the autumnal equinox this morning, the days will be getting even shorter. And with Daylight Saving ending on November 4, there will be even more darkness for you to walk your pet in. Sunday morning the sunrise in Atlanta is at 7:45am, so you are likely walking your dog in the dark in the morning. Here are a few reminders for things to be aware of when walking your dog in the dark.
Wear reflective or light colored clothes. You want to make sure others, especially drivers see you. A reflective vest may be a good investment. If most of your jackets are darker, slipping that vest over it is easier than buying a new, light colored coat. There are reflective jackets for pets too. Plus there are a lot of lighted leashes and collars. These all work, but You’ll have to decide if your dog will wear the vest.
I’m not a big fan of the retractable leashes at any time, but especially at night. A car may see you, but if the dog is at the end of the leash, they may not see the dog. A sitter in Phoenix was walking a dog at night in one of those situations. The driver was looking out for the person and didn’t see the dog and hit it. If you do use one of those leashes, you may want to use a collar that has reflective material on it.
Even if the area you walk your dog in is well-lit, you should carry a flashlight. It’s easy to find a small, light flashlight that has a cord on it for you to loop around your wrist. Not only will it help you see where you are going, you can make sure your dog is not doing something he shouldn’t. Also, if a car approaches you, you can shine the light on the dog, to help the driver to see it.
Take your cellphone with you in case something happens, but don’t use it unless necessary. It can be tempting to get on and check all the overnight emails and news, but you need to keep your focus on your dog when it’s dark. There is a flashlight app for smart phones, but they tax the battery and a hand will have to be tied up holding the phone and your other phone will have the leash. With the loop on the flashlight you won’t drop it if you need both of your hands for some reason.
Don’t wear headphones, for the same reasons as above. Plus, you need to be listening for things because you may not be able to see them. You may not see another dog out being walked and you may get to close to each other before you realize what has happened if you are distracted by headphones.
As I mentioned in my dog walking kit blog entry, it’s a good idea to carry a boat horn with you to scare off dogs that approach you and your dog. Depending on the make up of your neighborhood, you may run into wild animals like a coyote. A good blast of the horn should send the animal on a quick retreat.
Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Woodstock and Kennesaw, GA. You can follow us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/.