I walk my dog every night in the dark and there are a couple of products that I use to make my walks in the dark safer and more enjoyable.
Flashlights, reflective vests, and leashes for walking your dog at night will improve your and your dog’s safety a lot and that should be your highest priority.
Drivers should be able to see you clearly but bikers and strangers also need to be aware of you when you walk your dog at night.
Taking some precautions for you and your dog will make it so much easier and safer to walk. Let me know if you own a great tool that I haven’t covered.
I’ve tested plenty of them myself and use them daily since I’m walking my Rottweiler in the dark every single day.
A couple of these are nice to have while others are essentials if you plan on regularly going for a stroll after dark.
The LED collar was the first safety item that I bought for my dog and is essential when walking at night as it increases visibility for your dog and it’s the first thing strangers will notice.
Any dog breed profits from having something illuminating around their neck at night but since my girl is a black and tan Rottweiler, visibility can be incredibly low without a light.
I also wanted her to be easily seen by other people and bikers at night because I let her off-leash sometimes.
Her recall is very strong and bikes don’t bother her but I don’t want to get anyone injured just because they didn’t see my dog walking on the side.
It’s also very handy to be able to see more of your environment with a little light walking beside you. Most important to me was the brightness and safety of the LED collar.
As I explained in my post Are Dogs Color Blind? canines are only able to perceive yellow and blue light wavelengths which makes them color-blind to green and red.
Always make sure that it’s clearly described as waterproof or at least water-resistant.
When it comes to rechargeable vs. battery-powered, I’d choose the rechargeable one.
Personally, I stay away from the flashing function. Not sure if the colors are bothering my dog but I had a green one before and now I have a red light.
Sadly, the quality of many LED collars is lacking and I went through a couple, this one holds up just fine in my experience.
A spotlit LED collar light can be the only illuminating product on your dog, but I’d recommend using it in addition to another illuminating product such as a leash or harness.
It’s best to pair this product with something else as it won’t be as noticeable to other people.
While I think that the LED dog collar provides more light, I was genuinely surprised by the power of this one.
It holds up in light rain and has a long-lasting battery installed.
Depending on your collar, there may be no additional clip at the chest or your dog may simply dislike the jingling all the time.
Make sure to introduce your dog to this device beforehand and you should be ready to go.
But if you have a very powerful puller I would rather suggest you use a LED collar with a regular no-pull (front-clip) harness or a gentle leader.
The reflective stripes along the sides make it very easy for drivers to see you at night and they can anticipate a walking dog more quickly.
Honestly, it’s fine if you go with a reflective vest or collar and you can optionally add an illuminating tag or leash.
However, you might be interested in an illuminated harness instead so I just threw it in the mix.
Besides the LED collar or light, having a harness with reflective stripes is a must.
Now if you are like me and you don’t want to purchase and fit a specific harness only for night walks then I can recommend the Rabbitgoo Dog Harness.
This was the harness my dog was wearing on her daily walks.
Now it’s a bit worn but it lasted around 3 years of daily wear and tear which I think is okay at that price point.
It’s equipped with a front clip which is a must for dogs that tend to pull in certain situations.
I liked the very bright color orange which, in addition to the stripes, might come in handy at night.
It’s not the highest quality harness out there but has lasted a couple of years with my Rottweiler and it’s a pretty cheap option.
I definitely prefer some illuminating dog gear over reflective stripes only as I tend to walk on sparsely lit tracks at night.
Most of the time my dog will be walking off-
The Blazin’ Safety LED Dog Leash does a perfect job providing me with that extra light.
Since these leashes will be handled a lot, the tiny LEDs inside often just give up soon after buying but this one holds up well and fits nicely with the LED collar.
Ideal for a game of fetch, this ball glows in the dark and is a great option if you seek more than just mental stimulation and a quick stroll at night.
Just hold it under sunlight or a flashlight for as little as 5 minutes for 20 minutes of play. No batteries that could be chewed and swallowed!
That being said, if your dog is a heavy chewer make sure to supervise him when playing with the glowing ball.
Chuckit is one of the few major dog toy brands where the products hold up pretty well.
Some sizes may go out of stock though so you may have to keep an eye on it if your dog is a ball fanatic like my dog.
If balls are not your dog’s thing, check this frisbee out. Made of soft-touch plastic and LEDs in changing colors from the outer rims, it’s the ideal toy for a quick game in the dark.
The battery is protected against your canine’s teeth but you should still supervise your dog in order to avoid him getting to the batteries. The batteries are replaceable, of course.
Now that your dog is seen by other people, you will need something to illuminate the way. I always carry either my phone or a flashlight with me on every nighttime walk.
It’s really challenging to locate your dog’s poop in darkness or round a new corner just to gaze into the darkness.
If your phone’s light is not sufficient enough, simply carry an extra flashlight with you but don’t leave your phone at home because it’s also a safety precaution in case of an emergency.
I’ve tested this flashlight and I don’t have any complaints about it.
Most importantly, the flashlight is really bright with 4 brightness levels while still being appropriately sized, at no cost to the battery capacity. Holds up rather well and can be charged via USB.
As a bonus, this flashlight was still functioning on rainy nights.
Now that your dog is fully geared and illuminated, you will need something for yourself too.
There are many reflective vests for humans out there like this reflective vest that will keep you visible during the night.
Avoid wearing all dark clothes at night, even some bright running shoes would be better than nothing. Grabbing one of the LED lights and clipping it on your jacket can also do the trick.
Tips for Walking Your Dog at Night
Nighttime is definitely not the safest hour and the lack of light can make it dangerous for you and your dog. I have been walking my dog at night all her life and here are my tips for you:
Don’t Walk Alone
I am living in a very quiet and fairly safe town but nonetheless, I always like to bring my partner with me.
You just feel safer knowing your dog doesn’t have to take over in an emergency which nobody really wants.
If you don’t have anyone to go out with you but feel a bit anxious about it, ask a friend if you can call them during the walk.
Try to walk and exercise your dog during the day if you are alone.
Stay in the Light
Every path you walk at night should be sufficiently lit, especially if you are going out alone. Dark fields or forest paths may cause you to trip and fall.
Short sections can be illuminated with a flashlight or your phone. If you don’t want to have anything in your hands during the walk then consider buying a headlamp.
Better Stay Leashed
I told you before that I am walking my dog mostly off-leash but that’s only because her recall is very strong, her prey drive is low with few animals around, and there are rarely people or cars.
If you are walking anywhere near roads, busy places, or areas with active wildlife, then please put your dog on the leash.
You never know what could be around the next corner and when in doubt, better stay leashed!
If you are living in an area with a higher crime rate, consider protecting yourself with whatever your local law allows you to carry outside.
Pepper spray can be relatively effective and many parts of the world allow carrying one.
A dog repellent spray may also help if you have reason to suspect that encountering a roaming dog on your nighttime walks is a possibility.
Know Your Way
Don’t try to go on any adventures at night and stay on the routes that are familiar to you. It will help you stay orientated as the same paths can already look so different at night.
If you want to try some new walks then go there a few times in daylight first. This way, you will become familiar with the new route and your dog will also be able to follow the way easily.
Keep Off the Headphones
Your full attention should be given to your dog and the surroundings at any time.
Turn off all distractions when walking your dog at night otherwise, you might not be able to hear oncoming cars or people.
Also, keep an eye on your dog’s body language and posture. That way you will be able to react in situations where your dog is able to see something way ahead.
What are your experiences with walking your dog at night and what products are you using to stay safe? Let me know in the comment section.