With the onset of fall, the dogs are delighted about the puddles and sopping wet leaves that they get to romp through.
Like most dog owners, I’ve stopped brushing the dust off their coats and returned to the supply of old towels next to the back door, folded and ready for the dogs after they go outside. Three out of four stop at the door because they know the drill, but the puppy comes rocketing into the house full tilt, joyously shaking off dog-scented rain in every direction.
It’s a weird canine game show moment over here, where I’ve got 10 seconds to catch a wiggly, slippery puppy for $100. I’m mostly successful, but the only prize I’ll ever win is that my kitchen floor and cabinets aren’t soaked from top to bottom.
The days have rapidly grown shorter and darker, and around Bainbridge there aren’t a whole lot of sidewalks, especially in the more rural areas. Streetlights also aren’t common; well lit areas are few and far between in many areas of Kitsap.
All that means it’s hard to see dogs, and even harder when their coats are dark or brown against the backdrops of trees and dark pavement. When you’re driving it can be extremely difficult to spot a dog walking to one side on the absolute end of a leash, or trotting in front of the owner and partially blocked by their body.
It’s especially true if you’re in a larger vehicle, since dogs are lower to the ground and often end up in a car’s blind spots.
Gear up so both you and your dog can be seen
There’s all sorts of reflective and light-up wear for us humans, but did you know there’s also a lot of it designed specifically for dogs?
Reflective or light-up leashes and collars are the easiest to use to help your dog be visible to drivers and other dog walkers. Choosing a good one is pretty simple: look for a reflective leash that’s as wide as the dog can comfortably wear, with as much reflective material as possible (a thin stripe down the edge won’t do the job).
Using your phone flashlight to check a leash you’re going to purchase works great – it should shine brightly when you angle a light across the material. And no one in a pet store is going to look at you weird for taking out your phone and checking the reflective properties of a leash, honest!
We might wonder a bit if you wear it out instead of your pup, but tell us you’re going to a rave dance and we’ll totally understand.
Collars should follow the same rules as leashes. Please be aware that a dog with a shaggy, heavy coat and thick ruff will lose some of the reflective properties of a collar since it’s buried in their fur. For those dogs of the fluffier persuasion, light-up collars are a better choice! These collars are LED powered, and come in multiple colors like their counterpart leashes, tags and harnesses.
Some designs can be plugged in and recharged daily, others require standard batteries. I use rechargeable batteries in mine because it’s so easy to pop the old ones out, put the new ones in, and always be ready to head out for a walk.
Bright-colored vests and coats with reflective tape aren’t just for construction folks, drenched commute bikers and determined joggers. You can purchase them for your dog too. They come in an array of sizes to fit all dogs from tiny to huge, and are many fashionable neon colors, such as hot ‘80s pink, fashionable traffic cone orange and the eye-searing safety yellow that can be seen from space. Some vests have built-in LEDs or EL wire. These can be absolutely invaluable to make sure your dog is glowing and visible like a canine UFO!
A quick final safety tip for folks and dogs. If you walk your dog with a retractable leash, please lock them close while on the roadsides. Wild critters are most active at dusk and dawn and while you or I may never see them or smell them, your dog sure can.
Some dogs will abruptly bolt to see what’s on the other side of the road, which can be scary as heck for you, your dog and drivers.
Go out there and walk safe, keep dry, and enjoy your time with your dog!
Learn more at pawsfinspetshop.com, visit at Suite 104 – 1050 Hildebrand Ln NE, Bainbridge Island and stay up to date with the latest news on Facebook.