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With the clocks changing at the end of October it can only mean one thing, long nights. It can be dark by 17:30 and for those dog owners who take their pets for a walk in the evening knowing how to stay safe is extremely necessary. Here are tips for you this winter:

Planning is important:

  • Dark nights can appear quickly, if you are leaving home in the light you may not coming home in the light, plan ahead, dress appropriately and plan your route with time in mind.
  • When walking your dog at night, avoid unlit, empty areas for the safety of both you and your pet.
  • When you can walk with a friend or neighbour.

Staying visible:

  • Wear light, bright or reflective clothing, both you and your dog. Hi-visibility jackets, belts or armbands for you and leads, coats or harnesses for your dog. Anther good idea is adding flashing lights to collars and leads.
  • Always walk towards the flow of traffic this will allow you to be aware of what the traffic is doing and will also allow headlights to shine on your high-visibility accessories.
  • Whatever you choose, be sure that you and others can easily spot your dog in dark hours.

Being safe:

  • Keep your dog on a shorter lead when walking at night and stick to the centre of the pavement. Extendable leads are not recommended at night as you don’t have as much control over your dog.
    • Don’t walk with headphones in or chat on your phone, you should be aware of your surroundings.
    • Always tell someone where you are going to be walking and how long you expect to be.
    • Take a mobile phone with you in case of emergency.
    • If the temperature is really low you it may be icy, wear appropriate clothing and always clean your dog’s paws as they may have got grit in them whilst walking.
    • Take a torch to stay safe.

Responsibility:

  • Remember to respect other members of the public who may be on their way home, stay in control.
  • No matter what the time of day or where you are, always clean up after your dog.