Vizsla Ruby wearing a Ruffwear Beacon PICTURE COURTESY OF RUFFWEAR
It’s a few weeks since we changed the clocks now, but the nights are still getting longer and our dogs still need walking. That means it’s time to lighten up.
Your pet’s night-time visibility is important all-year round if you like walking him or her after dark, but it becomes even more significant during the winter when it’s almost impossible to confine your strolls to daylight hours. Even in well-lit urban areas, drivers and other road users will struggle to see you and your dog, so lighting up in some way could help avert an accident.
We’re all used to seeing cyclists, horse-riders and just about anyone who works anywhere near a road wearing high-visibility jackets. They’re an option for night-time dog walkers too – along with a torch, of course. It’s not hard to find these products online or on the high street, but lighting up your dog requires a little more research...
Finnish company Hurtta makes the high-vis Dazzle Harness PICTURE COURTESY OF HURTTA
Many collars, harnesses, leads and vests have bands or patches of reflective material in them so that, as soon as something like a car headlight hits them, they reflect that light back to the source. Most dogs wear a collar and lead, many wear harnesses too, so you don’t necessarily need to buy any extra gear. Simply check, next time you buy any of these accessories, that they’ve got reflective material in them. They may be a little more expensive than the more basic kit, but that extra cost is worth it if it helps avoids an accident.
Some products are designed to help you (and other pedestrians) see your dog in the dark – particularly useful if, like my terrier Jess, your pet likes to skulk off into the darkest places for a poo. These include battery-powered LED head collars and clip-on lights. If you’re buying one of these, you need to check that it’s waterproof – batteries and the British weather are a potentially lethal combination. Some of these products aren’t as visible in car headlights as reflective material, so a combination of the two is probably the most effective way of lighting up your dog at night.
The ChuckIt! Max Glow Dog Ball glows bright green PICTURE COURTESY OF THE GLOW COMPANY
Finally, on a lighter note (no pun intended), dog toys... You can now get a range of glow-in-the-dark toys as well balls with LED lights in them, so playing fetch in the dark becomes a little less hit and miss. If Fido can’t be bothered to go and retrieve his toy, at least it’s not lost forever. Unfortunately, Jess’s version of fetch is more ‘search and destroy’ so we have to restrict her games to daylight hours.