The clocks going back mean one thing – winter is here. That means darker nights, shorter days and a whole heap of seasonal changes are on their way! Are you ready for the winter walks? Panic not as Rooke’s has got you covered with 5 essential tips to keep you and your pet safe on those early morning walks or late evening strolls.
If you’re walking in the dark, make sure you can be seen! That’s top tip number one. #RookesRecommends reflective collars, leads and coats (like the Ancol Stormguard or Sotnos Raincoats) to make sure your pooch can be seen by you, other dog walkers and vehicles passing by. (Psst! We’d suggest you wear some reflective clothing too!)
Don’t fancy getting an entirely new collar? Don’t worry. You can attach reflective lights to your pet’s collar for their walks instead. The Rosewood Silicone Collar Light is particularly popular for this time of year – its soft blinker is visible for up to half a mile. The Animal Instincts Flashing Safety Collar Clip is also popular among dog walkers as it quickly and easily wraps around your dog’s collar with its velcro strap.
You don’t want to be tripping up kerbs or standing in muddy puddles now, do you? So it’s worth thinking about carrying a hand-held or head torch. Not only will they help you to see where you’re going, but you’ll also be able to keep a closer eye on your precious pet. Just remember to check the batteries in your torch before heading out the door. In fact, it’s a good idea to take some spares with you in your coat pocket to avoid getting stuck (and potentially lost) in the dark.
Know your Route
It’s good to mix up your walking route to add variety and interest for both you and your pet. Just make sure you plan your route before leaving home and, where possible, stick to well-lit areas. It’s best to avoid isolated spots or shortcuts through alleys, parks or poorly lit streets, and stick to pedestrian-friendly pathways.
It’s common sense but pay close attention to your surroundings and keep an eye out for approaching vehicles, cyclists and other dog walkers. If you’re walking in the town or village, always keep your pet on their lead – you don’t want them bolting off into the darkness chasing after a wild rabbit or the neighbour’s cat! #RookesRecommends a sturdy collar/lead combination; or better yet a harness. The Doodlebone dog collars and harnesses are incredibly durable (and available in almost every colour of the rainbow!). Plus they can be perfectly matched with the Doodlebone leads (they’re also very strong, bright and super stylish!).
Know your Pet’s Limits
Some dogs may become anxious or agitated in the dark so, as responsible pet owners, we need to pay close attention to their behaviour and understand their comfort and tolerance levels. If your pet is skittish or becomes easily frightened, it might be worth adjusting their exercise schedule or choosing a more well-lit route.
We’re big fans of treats on walks. There’s always a training opportunity to be had whether it’s walking to heel or rewarding an amazing recall. So why not top up your treat bag with some healthy and tasty snacks? Pet Munchies Training Treats are ideal as they’re bite-sized, available in a variety of flavours and are wheat/gluten free too – great for dogs with sensitivities.
It goes without saying, but you’ll also want to take a handful of poop bags with you. #RookesRecommends the Rosewood Premium Poop Bags – they’re extra strong, fragranced and come in packs of 100… that should keep you going for a while! Oh, and have you seen the poop bag dispensers? They’re handy tools that clip to your lead – one less thing for you to carry! The Doodlebone Pick N Clip Poop Bag Holder comes in 4 colours to make poop picking more stylish. Simply pick it, knot it and clip it. It’s a simple solution for hands-free poop bags!
While you’ll almost certainly want to take your phone with you, keep in mind how distracted walking can increase the risk of accidents. So try to keep your phone in your pocket when you don’t need it and enjoy the walk with your four-legged friend.
In case your dog does get away from you, it is crucial to ensure their ID tag attached to their collar is securely fastened and updated with your details. It’s the quickest and simplest way to be reunited with them should they be found by some kind locals. (Did you know we have our very own tag engraving machine in store at Rooke’s? You don’t need to make an appointment, just pop in and choose the size, shape and colour of your tag and we’ll do the rest!
For those rainy days, the Happy Pet Groom Dog Drying Coat is a great and easy way to dry your pooch before they’re let loose for a mad 5 minute session of zoomies around the house! In fact, drying coats also help to quickly dry your canine companion after a relaxing bath or dip in the sea too.
As the nights draw in and darkness falls, pet owners need to be prepared for the seasonal changes that come with winter walks. Whether you’re a night owl or simply too busy during daylight hours, taking your furry friend out in the dark requires extra precautions to keep both of you safe.
From durable harness and lead combinations to must-have accessories including reflective raincoats, collar lights and poop bag dispensers, the team at Rooke’s are on hand to help you find the right products for your pet.
Pop in and see us to stock up on winter walking essentials and keep your pet warm, dry and visible.