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Walking dogs in the dark

In the short days of winter, many of us will be walking our dogs in the fading light of dusk or dawn! While this might be our least favourite time of the dog walking year, our dogs may well be looking on it slightly differently.

Once the clocks change, walks with our dogs can take on a whole new feel. Especially for owners who are restricted to walking at certain times of day - the darkest times!

Dogs are a crepuscular species. This means they're more active at dawn and dusk - so for them, shorter days may mean that they will now get their walks at the best time, as far as they are concerned! This is one of the reasons dogs do not see colour as well as we do, but do see far better in low light. It also explains why your dog is wide awake while you are still grasping for your morning coffee - and why the evening zoomies (or just demands for a game) aren’t at all uncommon!

Here are 3 top tips for walking your dog in the dark:

1. Be aware your dog can see things you can't
So, while your vision might not be as good on your daily walks, your dog will be aware of all the distractions around them that you might totally miss.

Be aware if you have a reactive dog, or one who just loves to chase the neighbourhood wildlife, that they may be far more alert and so demand more of your focus to prevent them going self-employed (especially if you have them off the lead). This can be anything from inconvenient to dangerous - so stay alert and make sure you only let them off the lead in safe areas.

2. Be prepared and visible
Make sure you and your dog are visible in low light, so think glowing collars, reflective leads and high vis clothing - and of course a torch!
Visibility, for both you and your dog, is not only crucial if you're walking on the road, but also so you can see where your dog is - even if that's far away from the dangers of traffic. It's very scary to lose your dog in the dark, and so a glowing collar can make the walk far more relaxing.

3. Watch your step
Be careful if you're walking on rough ground in low light, it can be easy for you or your dog to stumble on uneven surfaces. 

It's always best to be over-prepared for a walk in the dark. Even if you think you'll be back before dusk, you never know if you will be delayed, so make sure the safety of you and your dog are your top priority.

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