Dogs will need to use the bathroom even when it is dark outside. And on hot days you may not have a choice but to walk your dog late at night. Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of being able to let their dog into their backyard for a quick potty break before bed.
Still, it is important to take your safety into account on night walks. This is especially important for those who are particularly vulnerable or live in areas with high amounts of crime.
Follow our tips for walking your dog safely at night.
Let’s dive right into it!
Is it Okay To Walk My Dog at Night?
The answer to this question depends entirely on the location.
Some areas are extremely dangerous to walk in alone at night, with or without a dog. Meanwhile, other areas are completely safe. Sticking to safer areas when walking at night is extremely important. This is especially true for those who live in cities and areas with a high crime index.
What Time Should You Walk a Dog at Night?
While the time of night may not matter as much as the location, it is still a good idea to take it into consideration. It is usually better to take your dog for a walk at least before ten o’clock.
This is because people are still generally awake and alert before this time. This can be important in case something goes wrong.
Benefits of Walking Your Dog at Night
There are definitely some benefits to walking at night, especially for those with energetic or reactive dogs.
Here are the two main benefits of walking your dog at night.
It Helps You and Your Dog Wind Down for the Night
If you have a hyper dog, then you are probably always looking for ways to calm them down before bed. Well, going for a night walk can help them do just that!
Walks tire dogs out because it involves physical activity and provides them with mental stimulation. This is especially true if you are walking in areas with plenty of interesting smells.
Also Read: Should I Let My Dog Sniff on Walks?
Walking at Night Can be Good for Reactive Dogs
More people choose to walk their dogs during the day.
As a result, taking dogs for walks at night can be great for dog owners struggling with reactivity.
Choosing quiet areas where people hardly walk their dogs at night can allow you and your dog to enjoy a nice walk without any outbursts.
6 Tips For Walking a Dog at Night
Remembering to keep you and your dog safe during nightly walks is extremely important.
Here are our six safety tips for safely walking your dog at night.
1. Walk in Well Lit Areas
You cannot see as well in the dark as you can during the day. As a result, it is always better to walk your dog in well-lit areas. Streets and parks with lights are great options.
This will allow you to keep a better eye on your dog, and it will also allow you to take better notes of your surroundings.
2. Walk in Areas That are Well Trafficked With Pedestrians at Night
For those living in cities, it may be a better idea to walk in areas that are well-trafficked with pedestrians at night. These areas are usually safer, and there are people around in case of an emergency.
Walking in areas with many pedestrians also has the benefit of having lower amounts of car traffic. This is great because cars at night are particularly hazardous since they have lower visibility. There is also a lower likelihood of running into predators like coyotes in areas that get a lot of pedestrians at night.
3. Stick to Areas You Know Well
It is also a good idea to stick to areas that you know well when going for night walks. After all, you don’t want to get lost, especially in the dark.
You will also be calmer and more confident walking your dog in areas that you have walked in before.
Sticking to areas that you and your dog know well could also help with your dog’s confidence.
Dogs are very alert at night, and more nervous dogs may have trouble walking in unknown areas when it's dark. This is especially true if you encounter stimuli that make your dog uneasy such as loud sounds.
4. Always Remember to Bring Your Phone
It is crucial to have a cell phone on you when walking your dog at night.
This is for everyone, even those walking in very safe areas. It is important that you ensure that your phone has a decent charge on it before leaving the house as well. Having your phone charged up by at least over 50% is a good idea.
5. Keep Your Dog on Leash
Keeping your dog on a leash when going for night walks is a good idea. This is even for dogs with good recall that walk fine off-leash during the day. There are several reasons why this is the case.
To start off, you cannot see as well at night as you can during the daytime.
As a result, your dog could potentially get into things or go into hazardous areas without your knowledge.
There is also the chance of something coming up that you cannot see such as a bicycle or another dog.
Dealing with these things with a dog off-leash at night can be incredibly stressful.
6. Essentials For Walking Dog at Night
Ever wondered what to wear walking a dog at night? There are some other items that you may want to have on you at night.
Here is a short list of the best gear that can help you and your dog feel safer on night walks.
- Dog walking flashlight
- A reflective vest for yourself
- A reflective leash for your dog
- A whistle
- Protective items such as pepper spray
Flashlights can help you see in areas that are not well-lit. This is great for those who do not have access to well-lit walking paths at night. Meanwhile, reflective vests and harnesses can help others see you and your dog.
Though the last two items on our list may seem to be overkill to some, they can be important. Having a protective item such as pepper spray can help you to protect yourself in the case of an emergency. This can be particularly important for vulnerable individuals living in cities or areas with high amounts of crime.
Having a whistle on you can be extremely beneficial for everyone. This is because whistles can get people’s attention if there is an emergency. Additionally, blowing a whistle could temporarily startle an animal or another dog that is coming at you. These few moments could allow you and your dog to get to safety.
Nighttime dog walks are both enjoyable and beneficial. Whether you have a busy daytime schedule, or you have a reactive dog, dog walking at night doesn't have to be unsafe. Following these tips will help you and your dog remain safe while out for evening strolls.