Safety After Sunset
Stay Alert and Visible to Prevent Mishaps After Dark
By Camp Bow Wow
Although we’ve passed the winter solstice, January days are still short. If you work regular business hours, that means you are probably walking Fido before the sun rises or after sunset. Take some precautions to keep you and your furry family member from having a mishap in the dark.
Use a sidewalk if possible, and walk facing traffic, so you can be aware of approaching vehicles. Make sure your pup’s leash is tight enough so you can pull him close and off the road quickly if necessary.
Invest in some reflective gear – both for you, and your precious pooch. Dark-colored pups will blend in with the
surroundings, making them almost impossible to detect.
Wear a headlamp or carry a flashlight. Not only will it make you more visible to motorists or other walkers, the light will illuminate your path and expose any hazard prior to your stumbling upon it. Harnesses, leashes and collars come in reflective fabric as well as with LED-powered lights. You can also attach an illuminated tag to Fido’s collar to make him easier to see — some even flash in a variety of colors.
Did you know dogs’ eyes work better in the dark than humans do, and especially at dawn and dusk? Your furry family member will see an approaching animal before you do and may try to investigate. Be wary of wildlife. Early evening hours are often a busy crossing time for deer, porcupines or even a stray coyote. You don’t want to tangle with a not-so-friendly woodland creature. In addition to light, make some noise to alert wildlife of your presence. You can wear a bell, jingle your keys, listen to a podcast out loud or carry on a one-sided conversation with your pup. Typically, animals will melt away into the darkness rather than put up a fight for streetside territory.
Walking in the dark is not the time to be distracted on the phone or use earbuds. As the pet parent, you are responsible for your pup’s safety and wellbeing as well as yours. Make sure you stop at signs and look for crossing traffic before leading Fido across a street.
Don’t give up the healthy benefits of exercise for both you and your furry family member just because winter days darken early. San Antonio’s mild weather means temperatures often will be more pleasant than in our scorching summers. Taking a few extra precautions can keep you walking despite the diminished light.