Take care when walking the dog on dark mornings
Taking your dog for a walk is a wonderful exercise for you and an essential routine for your dog. Don’t let less than perfect weather and falling temperatures stop you from taking your daily walk. Your pet of course, needs some daily exercise regardless of the weather, as without it he may become easily bored and show destructive behaviour, as he relieves his frustration. So no matter what the weather, hail, snow or rain, you need to get outside and take a walk with your dog. There are also several things you can do to ensure that you stay safe and healthy when walking on a dark, cold morning in winter. Obviously take the usual precautions that you would take if you were walking without your dog, especially if you are a female and walking in an isolated location.
- Try if possible to walk on lit streets where there are plenty of houses and people. Make sure someone knows your route.
- Always carry a mobile phone in case of an emergency, however, don’t be constantly checking to see if you have received any new emails overnight. Make sure that your focus remains on your dog in the dark.
- Make sure you are highly visible – your dog, you or even both of you should be wearing high visibility gear or light coloured clothing to allow others, especially drivers able to see you. There are many items available to buy for improving your dog’s visibility, including reflective harnesses and collars, blinking collars and leash lights.
- Always carry a torch, not only to see where you are walking but also to locate any dog poop.
- Your dog should always have a detailed ID tag attached to his collar, never let him leave home without wearing it, and of course, he should be micro-chipped. Having some form of pet identification increases the chances of finding him should he be startled and run off. This factor is, of course, important no matter if you are walking in the dark or in daylight hours.
Just as humans can suffer from SAD, seasonal affective disorder, scientists believe that dogs can also suffer symptoms too. The reduction in natural daylight causes hormonal changes which can put us all into a bad mood. Your dog may display behavioural changes, become less energetic and not seeming as happy as he usually is in the summertime.
Fresh air and daylight are just what your dog needs to improve his mood and lethargy. Take time to exercise your pet, and play ball games to vary his routines. A balanced diet is essential to sustain his immune system during the winter months and be wary of overfeeding, as less exercise can bring about weight gain and physical strains.
It’s important that during the cold winter months that you wear appropriate clothing; a padded, waterproof jacket, sturdy boots or footwear, a good pair of gloves and a hat are basic essentials. Keep moving – if you stand still you will feel the chill.