Last Updated: September 5, 2023 by Lisa Melillo
As winter months approach and the daylight quickly fades, many people reduce or even give up walking their dogs until spring comes around. With many dog owners working nine to five jobs and daylight diminishing before you even return home, evening dog walks may be a difficult part of your routine.
However, it is absolutely recommended to find the time in order to maintain proper exercise and well-being whether it’s a quick walk around the block or a night-time ride with bike leashes – both can be a fun and rewarding experience if properly equipped. However, having incorrect safety gear for dogs can result in a stressful and potentially dangerous walk in the park for the following reasons:
- Visibility is significantly decreased. Vehicles and other pedestrians will have a hard time seeing you and it’s also more difficult for you to see obstacles in walking paths such as broken glass.
- Nighttime animals (raccoons, opossums, cats, etc) are on the prowl that your dog will want to chase.
- Dog’s can be easily spooked at nighttime.
- Drops in temperature during winter months – don’t forget to dress your pups warmly!
Safety Gear for Dogs
The best way to combat these concerns is to use the proper safety gear which most notably consists of light. Light safety gear for dogs include LED or reflective collars, leashes, and vests, among many other devices. Let’s dive into a few do’s and don’ts for walking dogs at night before detailing our list of best safety collars and vests for dogs:
Do’s and Don’ts for Evening Dog Walks
Do: Reflective Safety Gear for Dogs
Always use reflective gear when walking. We consider this a must have when walking at night especially if you will be anywhere near traffic (such as city sidewalks or anywhere near roads and cars). The reflective material will brightly shine when car headlights are pointed towards it and alert the driver that someone is ahead. There is a wide array of reflective safety gear for dogs including reflective vests, collars, and leashes. PetMD even recommends more reflective pet products including:
- Collar tags with reflective coating
- Reflective leg bands for dogs
- Clip-on blinking lights or flashlights for collars
Do: LED Lights for Dogs
A recent trend that drastically improved evening dog walking is LED lights. These small lights that seem to last forever are being added to regular everyday pet products including collars, leashes, and vests. We absolutely recommend the use of at least one LED safety product on both you and your dog for every night walk. This allows people to see you even if a light is pointed at you to reflect light from your other reflective gear. Essentially, you should have a good mix of LED and reflective safety products. We personally use an LED collar for our dog, a reflective leash, a reflective vest for myself, and a flashlight.
Don’t: Use Flexi-Leads
Flexi leads are regularly frowned upon lately even when walking your dog during the day. At night, however, it adds even more uncertainty to the situation. Most flexi lead leashes are black which makes them almost impossible to see at night. Nearby pedestrians, joggers, bikers, and vehicles may think your dog is off leash and wandering about at night, which can lead to a multitude of problems.
What not to do”: dont use flexi leads… it looks like the dog is off leash, cant see it. Use a solid leash
Do: Wear Your Own Safety Gear!
It’s easy to put all of your effort into making sure your dog has the correct safety gear and completely forget about yourself. Make sure to also purchase reflective and/or LED vests for yourself and always bring a flashlight. Many people also recommend bringing a whistle.
Best Dog Safety Collars
Illumiseen LED Dog Collar
This budget-friendly option is an amazing LED collar for any sized dog. This model comes with a lifetime warranty and can be recharged with a USB so you won’t be going through batteries left and right. Three different options include steady mode, rapid flashing, or slow flashing to customize the style that best fits your application.
PupLight2 Reflective Dog Safety Collar
If a bright LED collar isn’t what you’re looking for, the traditional reflective collar with an attachable bright light may be your best choice. This provides the best of two worlds by including reflective material but also including a constant light which hangs from the collar and is operated by AAA batteries.
Best Dog Safety Vests
Noxgear LightHound LED Vest
Noxgear LightHound is our go-to vest for all night-walking applications. Not only does the harness fit perfectly, but the LEDs are incredibly bright and can even change appearance with 8 different colors and 6 different flashing modes (Disco Dog, Rainbow, Cool Comet, Rescue, Independence Day, and Photon Burst). The Noxgear LightHound vest is visible up to a half mile away and also includes reflective material. You get the best of both worlds with this safety vest and cannot go wrong with it.
SafetyPUP XD Dog Reflective Vest
The SafetyPup XD reflective vest is a simple, effective, and easy to use way to ensure safety at night. This vest is completely adjustable from 14 lbs to well over 100 lbs. The stylish appearance is bright for both day and night applications and is a much cheaper option. It’s important to note that this is simply a vest and NOT a harness like the Noxgear LightHound.
Best LED and Reflective Leashes
The Illumiseen LED dog leash is hands down our favorite choice. Best of yet, it matches perfectly with the Illumiseen LED collar we mentioned above. You can synchronize the two products so they are the same color and flash at the same time or change them up for extra attention-grabbing effects. Best of yet, it’s cheap and can be recharged with USB!