Fall is here! Leaves are starting to fall, temperatures are getting cooler, days are shorter and everything is suddenly pumpkin spice flavored! Not only does dusk set in earlier, but full nighttime darkness does as well. If you’ve ever been driving at night and come across an opossum or raccoon in the road, or even a deer, you know how hard these animals are to see in the dark.

Pets can be just as hard to see in the dark as wild animals. Here are some steps you can take to keep your pets safer at night.

Nite Ize reflective collar

Walk Your Dog on a Leash

It’s always safer to walk your dog in the daylight, but during the fall and winter with later dawns and earlier dusks, that’s not always possible. Make sure you always walk your dog on a leash, especially after dark. A leash makes it easier for you to keep your dog off the street and out of the way of on-coming traffic.

A leash also helps you keep your pooch away from nocturnal animals you may encounter on your walk. In addition, you can prevent your dog from chasing after an animal, which could result in him being injured or lost.

Have a Reflective Collar and Leash for Night Walks

Reflective items will light up when caught in the beam of a headlight or as you walk near streetlights. If your dog wears a coat, getting a reflective one will be a huge help in making him more visible.

Get a Light for Your Pet’s Collar

There are different styles of lights you can hang from your pet’s collar, like those by Nite Ize, that can be turned on at night. These lights make your pets more visible in the dark. Since the lights can’t always be seen if hit by another light source (such as a headlight), putting a light on a reflective collar increases the chance your pet will be seen.

Nite Ize collar light

Carry a Flashlight

Take a flashlight with you on your walks as well. Even if your route is well-lighted, you might hear a sound your want to check out. It will also make it easier to see so you can clean up after your dog.

Take Care on Halloween

If you or your children take your dog our trick-or-treating, and he is in costume, make sure your his reflective collar and light aren’t obscured by his costume. Better yet, get him a costume that is reflective or add reflective tape or paint to it. Be sure your children understand not to give your pets any treats until you have okayed them.

Even if your dog stays home on Halloween, he might still dart out the door either from fear or excitement. Put his nighttime collar on even if you don’t plan to take him out, just in case he does get loose, and be sure that collar also has a tag with his name and your contact information. If excess activity stresses your pet, you might consider using a calming aid like those available from Pet Releaf.

Evening and nighttime walks with your dog can be just as pleasurable as afternoon strolls. Dress your pup appropriately for nighttime visibility, and enjoy that nice walk with your dog, even if it’s after dark.