Enjoy the outdoors longer
Dog owners and their dogs venture outdoors every day of the year, in any weather, and in any light – or no light at all. As autumn fades away, so too do its bright mornings and evenings. Winter's beauty brings with it rapidly darkening evenings and a reminder for dog owners to think twice about what it takes to stay visible and safe until longer days return once again.
Daily routines become second nature for dog owners. Our dogs need to go out and so do we. So we often go out without thinking about how much light there is outside. And if we’re not thinking about how much light there is outside, we’re most likely not thinking about brightly colored outdoor clothing, reflectors, and headlights – the very things that keep us and our dogs safe in low-light conditions. The same can be said for other pedestrians, bikers, and motorists, who all need to be able to see us whenever we are outside with our dogs. And if your dog has dark hair or if weather such as rain and fog become part of the equation, visibility and safety become particularly challenging. Dogs outfitted with reflective apparel and add-on reflectors are up to 30% more visible in a car’s headlights than without, which helps everyone on the road travel more safely.
How to stay visible when it's dark
There are a wide variety of safety-enhancing products that can improve a dog’s visibility in the dark. The busier and darker it is outside, the more you will need to increase your and your dog’s visibility. High-visibility products not only contribute to your overall safety, they also make you feel more protected. When your dog wears a product that can be seen easily, you enhance your sense of security which in turn makes walking, jogging, and any time spent outdoors with your dog more relaxed and enjoyable.
When outdoors in a well-lit area, a good option is to choose a bright coloured harness or leash and high-quality reflectors. Materials incorporated into products like reflective stitching and trim or piping offer protection that you don’t have to think much about. But even add-on reflectors only take seconds to put on to your dog’s leash, collar, harness, or apparel. When outdoors in low light areas, you'll want to consider adding lights to your pups gear to make them more visible.
Dog visibility gear options
A harness with large reflective prints on the chest and back area can also ensure your dog’s visibility. When the harness padding is thick and wide enough, a long-haired dog’s coat will most likely not interfere with a harness's ability to reflect light. In thoughtfully designed products, reflective features are often built-in. Reflective neck and chest straps will also increase the dog’s visibility at the chest and flank area, plus you can adjust the harness easily to give your dog a snug fit.
A vest is another great option because it covers more of your dog’s body than a harness, thus enhancing your dog's visibility that much more. Vests are light and comfortable too, which means no chance of overheating in most instances, and they can be easily adjusted to fit your dog well. Some vests can even provide some protection from wind and rain. Look for one that has reflective sections or prints on both sides and other reflective features like stitching and piping so that your dog can be seen from all directions. And if need be, you can add to your vest’s safety by choosing bright, attention-grabbing colors, add-on reflectors, and even a leash with reflective qualities.
Attachable lights can help or may even be necessary too, especially in low light or foggy weather. Safety lights usually have a choice of either a steady or blinking light sequence that can get the attention of distracted motorists, and many have specially shaped lenses and the latest LED technology that can be seen up to three kilometers away.
Remember that you and your dog’s safety depends on you staying alert whenever you are outside in low-light conditions. But between apparel with large reflective surfaces or prints, bright colours, and lights, you should have all the protection you need to safely navigate urban areas in almost any light and weather.
Adventure with a small dog or one that gets cold easily? Check out our recent article with tips and tricks for winter hiking with them here.