Well, you reveled in that extra hour of sleep, but you are now coming to terms with the reality of it becoming darker earlier.  Last night, it may have been a bit of a shock when you went out to walk Spike at 5 or 6 p.m.

Evening walking and early morning winter walking safety a serious problem.  You are five times more likely to die while walking after dark than by getting shot.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 70% of pedestrian deaths occur after dark.  ‘

Today, we want to take a few minutes to build a strategy to increase the safety of a pet parent and their dog.

1. Reinforce commands such as STAY, SIT, LEAVE IT, or HEEL.  You don’t want your dog darting out into traffic and drivers can’t see him.

2. This isn’t the time to celebrate your inner-Goth.  It might be the time to celebrate orange being the new black.  Wear lighter colors and stay away from black or dark blue.

3. Consider investing in and wearing reflective gear It may not go with your ensemble, but both you and your pet should be wearing some type of reflective apparel. It can be a leash or collar for Ruby and ChiChi and a vest or jacket for you.  Some folks invest in reflective patches on their walking shoes. 

Pet Reflective Vest

Night Dawg LED Collar Cover

LED High Visibility Flashing Safety Armband Cycling Jogging Walking Reflective LED Armband – WalGap(TM

MAXSA Innovations 20026XL Yellow with Yellow Reflective Safety Vest with 16 LED Lights, X-Large http://www.amazon.com/Innovations-20026XL-Yellow-Reflective-X-Large/dp/B00351LCCQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1383582705&sr=8-3&keywords=Reflective+Gear+for+Night+Walking

3. Do not use a retractable leash.  If it slips and you are walking here in an urban area such as here in Washington, DC, Cello could get hit by oncoming traffic.

4. Stay on the sidewalk and off the street.  There is a reduced chance of you being hit

5. Cross at the corner.  Life is challenging enough making it across many busy downtown streets in D.C. as well main thoroughfares such as Connecticut and Wisconsin so take the time to use the lights in your favor and cross at the corner or in a crosswalk.

6. Watch when stepping off the curb.  92% of older pedestrian fatalities happened when they tripped or fell when stepping off the curb. 

7. You also may want to consider in investing in and wearing a head lamp or carrying a flashlight to more easily light your way.  It also makes it so much easier on poop patrol!

8. This isn’t the time to catch-up on your calls or listen to music.  Don’t talk on your cell phone or mp3 player.  Do take your cell phone with you for safety.   Injuries are doubling annually when people are tripping, falling or colliding as they are talking on their phones or texting.  This is supposed to be a time when you are bonding with your pet and enjoying the change of pace.

Take time today to plan your safety strategy and perhaps head over to Amazon.com or other sites to purchase some reflective or safety gear.

Have a great week!