Top tips for walking in the dark

Once the clocks change again, many of us will be returning to walking at darker times of day. While this isn't always ideal for human eyes, our dogs have a different view...

Once the clocks change, walks with our dogs can take on a whole new feel. Especially for owners that are restricted to walking at certain times of day - the dark times!
Dogs are what is known as a crepuscular species, which means that they are more active at dawn and dusk. So for them, shorter days can mean that they get their walks at the very best time! Being crepuscular means that dogs do not see colour as well as we do, but do see far better in low light, and explains why many dogs are super-lively first thing or in the evening! 
So, while your vision might not be as good as you walk in dimmer light, your dog will totally aware of all the distractions around them that you might miss. Be aware if you have a reactive dog, or one who just loves to chase the neighbourhood wildlife. They may be far more alert and so demand more of your focus to prevent them going self-employed (especially if you have them off the lead).
This can be anything from inconvenient to dangerous - so always stay alert and only let them off the lead in very safe areas. Also make sure that you and your dog are visible in low light, so glowing collars, reflective leads and high vis clothing are all important, as is a torch.
Visibility for you and your dog is crucial if you're walking on the road, but also so you can see where your dog is - even if you're far away from the dangers of traffic. It is terryfying to lose sight and sound of your dog in the dark, and so a glowing collar can make the walk far more relaxing.
Be careful if you're walking on rough ground in low light, it can be easy for you or your dog to stumble on uneven surfaces. 
Finally, always be over-prepared for a walk in the dark. Even if you think you'll be back before dusk, you never know if you will be delayed, so make sure the safety of you and your dog are your top priority.
With a Kennel Club Pet Insurance policy, you can access the free Pet Health Helpline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The veterinary-trained team will advise on any concerns or queries that you may have over your pet’s health – much like the NHS 111 service for people. Call free on 03333 32 19 47.