Taking a stroll with your dog during the fall and winter months often means that you’re walking in the dark. Morning walks may happen before sunrise, and many people don’t return home from work until well after sunset.

While our dogs can see especially well during dawn and dusk and have better vision than we do in the dark, it’s important to make sure you both stay safe and visible to other pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers while walking at night. Pedestrians are more likely to get hit by a car when it’s dark out — but there are ways to mitigate this risk.

Stay Visible with Reflective Gear

Both you and your dog should wear bright reflective clothing and gear. Make sure that the reflective features of your jacket or coat are visible from all sides, not just the front or back. Consider wearing a reflective vest as your last layer if you prefer to switch up your outerwear based on the weather.

Dogs should have a reflective leash and collar. Ideally, a reflective harness is a better option, as reflective collars are less visible from behind and are easily hidden by thick and fluffy fur.

Light Up the Night

To increase your visibility for others, add gear with built-in lights. Make it fun with LED-powered collars, harnesses, and leashes, which have a variety of color options. You can often even set them to flashing, making your dog more noticeable.

Wear a headlight or carry a flashlight as you walk. Not only does this help others see you, but it also helps you see what’s ahead. You can even wear light-up shoes or glowsticks to make it a “party” walk.

Stick To Well-Lit Sidewalks and Pathways

If your usual walking route doesn’t have streetlights or good lighting, map out a new route that does. Another thing to consider for safety is using sidewalks, if available, versus walking in the street. This may or may not be doable, depending on your location. If there aren’t sidewalks or streetlights, wear your reflective and light-up gear and carry a flashlight.

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