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Being Wise with Winter Walks

Night time safety blog header

With winter well and truly on the way, the pitch black of night can be upon us in a flash as the evenings draw in and the sun dips below the horizon ever earlier. During winter, the cold temperatures and lack of light mean it’s important to make sure you and your dog stay safe on your nightly walks.

What are the most important factors to take into consideration?

Visibility –

Making sure both you and your pooch can be seen by others on cold, dark winter nights is extremely important. Unless you and your dog are wearing reflective or high-visibility clothing, it will be extremely difficult for not only motorists, but also cyclists and joggers to see you clearly. There are several reflective options to choose from, including reflective dog collars, tags, leggings and jackets to name a few.

Another option is to buy small LED lights for your dog’s collar, or that wrap around your dog’s leash, that flash and alert others to your presence. Finally, you can buy chargeable collars that illuminate and are specially designed for walking your dog at night.

Warm clothing –

As you set off on your evening promenade with your pup, chances are you will reach for your winter coat before heading outdoors. Because dogs have fur, we tend to think that they are always naturally warm. As the temperatures plummet, your dog will begin to feel the bite in the air just as we do. This is especially true for breeds that have short or thin coats. Consider buying your dog a jacket or jumper to keep them warm on those frosty winter evenings. Looking for a reflective jacket that also offers warmth means you can make your pet visible and keep them warm with one purchase.

Be route-wise –

During the summer months, we may often find ourselves being rather nonchalant in regards to the route we take our dogs walking on. The warmth of the sun’s rays can inspire casual meandering, the spontaneous exploration of new paths and roads, and general care-free wandering. In winter, it’s much safer to have your route carefully planned out. Consider street lighting – or lack of! Try to take a route that is well lit. Also be on the lookout for steep roads or paths that may be slippery with ice. Finally, try to keep to well-maintained roads and paths that are free from hazards such as potholes or roadworks.

It’s important to maintain your dog’s routine and exercise habits, even when the weather is less than ideal. By considering a few small factors, you can ensure that winter walkies are still a safe and enjoyable experience for both you and your pooch. If you need any further winter advice, please get in touch with your local Medivet practice by using our online practice finder.

Posted November 17, 2015 by Sarah Allen in Seasonal Care

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