Monday, 14 October 2013

Walking Your Dog in Winter

It really hit me this morning. Not the fact that it was Monday morning and my alarm was a deafening reminder that I have another week of work to look forward to, but the fact that it was pitch black as I attempted to drag myself out of bed. In a few weeks time the clocks will go back, making it even darker in the mornings and the sun will take it's merry self away a lot earlier in the evenings too.

It's getting pretty hard to get up in the morning!

This inevitably means that most dog owners will be forced to walk their dogs when it's dark, something that I don't particularly enjoy the thought of. But needs must! I thought I'd put together a list of tips and essentials that could help brighten up your winter dog walking sessions.

Walk in Day Light

Sounds simple enough, right? But if you have a job, then it's more than likely you'll be leaving the house when it's dark and returning to the same darkness that you left behind. So apart from weekends, this simply isn't an option. It's time to wrap yourself up and face the night.

Pair Up

Where we live, there are dozens of households with dogs who regularly get walked, many of them at the same location we take Del. Sometimes, when I see a certain dog owner we go and say hello. If the dogs get on we have an impromptu play date. Why not arrange to walk your dogs together on the darker nights?

When it's dark it doesn't feel as safe, and restricted visibility can make you feel vulnerable. So pair up with another dog owner and walk together. It's a great way to make friends, too.

Make Yourself Visible

It's important that you make you and your dog visible to others, especially cars. When you're walking in the dark shy away from wearing dark colours. In fact, when you're choosing your winter dog walking coat go for the brightest colour you can so you're visible to motorists, other pedestrians and also other dog owners. Even better, buy yourself something to wear that is fluorescent at night, giving you the most visibility possible.

And Your Dog...

You can buy a range of high-visibility collars and coats for dogs too. It's just as important to make your dog visible to motorists too. Drivers may be able to see you buy they may miss your dog.

If you let your dog off the lead it's also important that you can locate them.

Amazon do a good range of high visibilty dog wear so you can rest assured your pooch will be spotted at night, like...


Take Suitable Accessories

Every dog owner has their own little 'kit' of dog walking accessories that accompany them on every walk. Your kit will probably include treats and poo bags. But on winter nights it's important to think practically. 

Try and invest in a small and durable torch that you can keep in your pocket/bag. In case you find yourself somewhere with limited lighting, it's important to carry one just in case. A torch is also useful for helping your find your dog's 'mess' when you can't see that well!

Also, ALWAYS carry a mobile phone with you, just in case. You never know what's round the corner, so it's important to make sure you can stay connected in case you need assistance.

Stay in Public Areas

Not wanting to sound like your mother, but always stay in public areas. Many summer dog walking routes take us through the woods, down by the river, over meadows or onto remote fields. As much as it's great to give your dog some freedom and let them have a good run around, it's not the safest option when it's dark. Keep these places for when you can walk your dog in daylight, for the safety of yourself and your dog.

Your turn-what do you take on your winter walks? Is there anything I've missed?