Our dogs depend on us to do everything for them, from feeding them to walking them – and everything in between. So, if you have a furry four-legged best friend at home, just waiting for your arrival, there will be times that you have to walk them at night – especially in those winter months when daylight savings happens.

One important thing to remember is your dog cannot use the toilet like humans or the litter box like cats – and no one likes having to clean up an accident (though accidents do happen). So, what can you do to ensure that you and your furry best friend are safe and sound? Here at six safety tips for walking your dog at night.

Wear Bright Colors
One of the best things you can do for your safety when walking your dog at night is to dress for the occasion and wear bright neon-like colors. When you wear dark clothing, it can make it harder for incoming vehicles to see you walking. But, with brightly colored clothing, you will stand out among the darkness – making it easier for cars to see you and safer for you and your pup.

If wearing bright colors is not an option, or if you want an extra layer of precaution, you can purchase reflective tape – putting a few strips of this on your clothing and dog’s leash, and collar is another way to stand out to incoming vehicles.

Make Sure You Are Alert
With the dark making it hard for vehicles to see you walking, it is super important to ensure that you are paying attention to your surroundings while walking. So, while walking your pup while blasting your favorite tunes might seem like the best way to pass the time, how about ditching the headphones and ensuring your senses are focused. Make sure you can hear and see anything coming your way – whether that is other people walking behind you or in your direction or a speeding car coming around the bend. Stay alert, stay aware, and stay safe.

Stay On A Well-Lit Sidewalk 
Even though it is not always possible when walking your dog, especially at night, it is important to stay on a well-lit sidewalk – preferably with your dog walking inside. Not only does this help you be able to see and track everything that is going on around you, but it almost helps ensure that you are seen by speeding cars making sudden turns. As well as making your presence known to other people walking around. And if walking on a well-lit sidewalk is something you cannot do, make sure that you take a bright flashlight – point it in front of you and anywhere else that you and your pup look and walk.

Walk against traffic
If there is no sidewalk available, like in some neighborhoods, you must walk against traffic – meaning walk so you face the incoming vehicles. Not only does this ensure that these vehicles see you in the glow of their headlights, but it also ensures that you see them.

Always Use A Leash
Imagine you are walking your dog on a nighttime walk, and they are off leash (something that they are entirely used to and something you have done a million times). You guys are walking along when something in the bushes suddenly spooks your dog. And, in fright, they take off running and are not responding to your voice commands (their fight or flight instinct kicked in). This situation has created a dangerous situation for you and your furry best friend. So, even if your dog is well trained and can walk off leash without wandering off, it is still essential to use a leash when walking your dog – especially at night.

Always Carry Your Cellphone
Most importantly, always carry your cell phone when walking at night! You must always be able to reach for help if you need it – whether that is a loved one or emergency services. Also, a cell phone will be a lifesaver if you are ever feeling unsafe, lost, or in a sticky situation and need help.