Winter is coming. And with it the cold and, above all, dark season. In the following post, I would like to share with you my basic thoughts on walking in the dark and show you how to get your dog through the winter well. If you want to help me, then share this post on your social networks so that other dog owners can get food for thought and take a little more care of the safety of their dogs.
Visibility – Seeing the Dog Better in the Dark
If you walk the dog in the dark, you should keep your dog on a leash. This is the easiest way to prevent the dog from going outside of the shortened view. Even if I’m not a big fan of Flexi lines, they are an alternative to letting them run free in the winter, as their radius of up to 8 meters ensures freedom of movement. However, if you prefer to walk in the dark without a leash, you should improve your visibility.
Flashing collars are a great way to increase visibility. However, they are not a panacea and there is much cheaper Chinese junk on the market, which in many cases simply does not fulfill the promise of making a dog more visible. The bands are ideal for short-haired dogs, but for long-haired dogs, you should opt for the model from the quality guide “Lichtie” per se. Because the small and inexpensive collars do not have enough luminosity to shine through the long fur. Luminous collars are most likely to serve the purpose of locating. They do not necessarily make the dog more visible to car drivers, since depending on how the dog stands in relation to the car, the luminosity is limited by the fur and body.
I don’t leave the house in the evening without a flashlight. The flashlight is particularly effective and valuable on my walks in the forest in the dark. I can find my dogs in no time, even if they are off the trail. However, the flashlight is at least as valuable for drawing the attention of other road users to me and the dogs. When choosing the lamp, the following points were particularly important to me.
- High light intensity and long light duration without recharging
- The flashlight should be as small and easy to carry as possible
- It should be valuable, robust, and waterproof
That’s why I chose the Fenix LD20. The manufacturer specifies a burn time of up to 100 hours in the weakest light mode. However, I tend to move at full luminosity and then the lamp lasts a good 2 hours. I switch light modes depending on the situation. I use full strength to light up dogs and warn cars. Otherwise, the lamp is either off or lights my way at half power. So I only have to charge the batteries once a week, which I find convenient and practical.
Head or headlamp
I also have a headlamp. The big advantage here is that you don’t have to hold the lamp in your hand and you only have to switch it on to light it up. Another advantage is that the lamp always shines exactly where you are looking. In practice, I use the headlamp less often than my flashlight described above. I think I just don’t like having something strapped to my head all the time. But that is certainly a matter of taste.
Raincoat with reflectors
Depending on the weather, our animals are put on a raincoat or winter coat for dogs. While the dog Oscar has a coat without reflectors, Bruno has a coat that is sewn all around with reflectors. The result and the added value are gigantic. As soon as light (e.g. a car headlight) is thrown onto the coat, Bruno lights up like a Christmas tree. Since the coat envelops the entire body, it almost doesn’t matter in which position the dog is in relation to the light source. Only from the very front is the luminosity a little weaker, but here our dog has his luminous collar on.
Reflectors for humans
If you often walk your dog in the dark, also think about your own safety clothing. A reflective band for the arm, a reflective vest, or a cross-belt (tip!) create an additional reflective surface and are extremely inexpensive.