Yup, it's winter. That means gloves and boots for walking the dogs, but what about that nasty business of walking at night?
You're driving home from work, wondering when it started getting dark so darn early, when BAM you get a little too close for anyone’s liking to someone walking their dog. Where the heck did they come from!?
It’s happened to me at least three times this week alone, twice being the driver and once walking the dogs (oops).
The fact of the matter is it has gotten really dark really quick, and as dog owners, it’s time to collectively pull out the reflective gear. Let’s go over my favourites:
Night Ize lights (pictured below on my mutts). I’ve raved about them before and I’ll do it again: they’re the best. It’s a small light that you clip to your dog’s collar, they can stay constantly lit or flash, come in loads of colours, and you can swap the battery out when it dies. They’re usually about $10 and most pet stores will sell them. Extra handy for finding dogs in the yard when they go out for their last bathroom break in the dark.
Reflective leashes! Ours are by a brand called Jump, and Bosley's sells them. They are mesh leashes with reflective stitching that actually clip around my waist. It gives me a lot more peace of mind to have the dogs fully attached to my body, and the reflector is great for everyone!
I have a full-on construction worker safety vest. My Grandpa gave it to me and was adamant I wear it for walking the dogs in the evening. I laughed at the thought for a long time, but it’s made its appearance in my regular gear this year. You can get your own at Canadian Tire for around $25. Are they kind of nerdy to wear walking the dogs? Yes. Will you shine bright like a diamond and not be hit by a car? Bigger yes. And drivers will thank you majorly, too.
If the bright yellow and orange safety vest isn't your thing (listen, I get it), at least deck yourself out in bright colours and some reflective materials. And, no, the tiny lululemon logo on the back of your pants is not enough. One of my favourite things in my closet is my 'Barbie running jacket'. Hot pink (and we are talking neon) and covered in reflective dots. It's from a company called Sugoi and I bought mine in a large so I could layer underneath it. I ordered it through Kelowna Cycle and it's worth every penny. I love that it's hot pink so out in the woods, I'm visible, and there is so much reflective on it for night. Seriously my favourite.
I also have a light up collar I put on my roommate's dog when I feel brave enough to take all three. It works really well for him because of his short hair. Originally I bought it for Hudson after thinking "what a great idea", but his hair just covers it up, so think before you buy. Ours is from Night Ize, it has reflector and light. Fancy.
My final note on this is PLEASE don't walk with your headphones in, especially at night when you can't use other senses as much to be aware of your surroundings. If you just can't live without your favourite podcast, listen on low volume and with only one headphone in. This drives me nuts. Don't y'all know how crazy people can be? The night is spooky.
Whatever you do, make sure you're seen out there. The dark winter nights are here for a while, so investing in some gear for you and your pup is totally worth it.
LADIES, yup, specifically looking at my dog mamas out there: do you have a pocket knife or pepper spray with you walking at night? Because you should. The likelihood of someone approaching you with your dog is slim, I get it, but there are weirdos in the world. Canadian Tire carries a cute pink keychain of "dog deterrent" which I can't imagine would feel lovely for a human. Check it out here and for the love, please go get one. As the ladies of my favourite podcast would say: SSDGM, stay sexy and don't get murdered.