Winter Walkies – Keeping Safe and Healthy in the Dark Days

Summer is dwindling and sadly the leaves are falling. We are beginning to think about the next season before it is upon us. Here in Scotland during midsummer it rarely goes dark at all. We go to bed in the light and get up in the light and we suspect it’s not so different where you are. 

Those long days where we could walk through the evening and into the night wearing only a sweater, and our dogs were visible throughout, are giving way to gloom and damp, dark nights. Yes things are changing and winters preparation is afoot, shops are bringing in their Christmas goods and we think it is time to talk about safety in the dark.

The darkness is great, isn’t it, when we are snuggled up and warm inside. When a crackling fire warms the home and a cosy dog that is snuggled up with his chin on the hearth has already been exercised. But what about the days where we have been to work all day and the daylight hours are so few that we have no choice but to walk in the matt gloom of a black afternoon. What then?

Then we think about safety, for both of you.

First of all your own safety and depending on where you live you may want to carry a personal alarm. It can be pretty scary in an urban park in the dark and an alarm will give you some confidence. Sadly dog theft in some cities is becoming more common too and if your pet is one for running up to strangers in the dark then you might want to keep him on the leash.

Next if you decide to walk along the pavements instead, and that would be understandable, wear lights. Light yourself up like a Christmas tree, because the more visible you are the more motorists can see you. We have a great range of lights that attach to backpacks, collars, everywhere.

Carry a strong torch if you are walking rurally, partly so you can watch your dog but also so that you can see where you are walking. It is easy to catch a foot in a rut or hole in the dark, I know because I have done it, before you know it you are laid on the ground wondering whether you will ever get up again. The dark and one working leg is not the place to be. Take a mobile phone wherever you go too, just in case of emergency.

As for your dog well the most important thing is that you can see him. If you do go to a local park or field that is used regularly by dog walkers on winter evenings you will know the scene that I am about to describe. The red, white and yellow lines of glowing winter collars shooting around like erratic sparklers as gleeful dogs run merrily in circles. It’s great fun.

It is important though that you purchase a good quality light collar. Cheaper ones fall off, break, lose their light pretty easily and your dog can suddenly vanish. We have tried all sorts of light collars and this is exactly the reason we decided to stock the very best. It is worth the investment to buy a light collar that is hardy, waterproof and will not drop off and lay somewhere dwindling in the grass whilst your dog is racing around a few hundred yards away, dark as night itself.