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LED safety lights are an increasingly popular choice for dog owners. They are either an attachment which can easily be added to your dog's collar or harness by a carabiner or clip and is available as collars that are lined with LED lights.
Taking your dog for a walk can be more challenging at night. In winter months, when sunlight hours are fewer, this will likely be a daily occurrence for most dog owners so a safety light will be a great aid. Visibility is reduced in darkness, so a safety light will be really helpful in spotting where your dog is and keeping track of their movements, especially if you will be letting your dog off lead (recall is also important to master!).
Although a dog's sight is still better than ours in darkness, their visibility is similarly reduced so they can find it harder to see us. Therefore, we must not assume that they are invincible to hazards at night time. Twinned with their incredible sense of smell, they are still at risk of running off if they are spooked or intrigued by something so we must take extra precautions.
Not only do safety lights make it easier for dogs to be visible to their owners, but it also makes it easier for others to spot them too. Cyclists, joggers, drivers and other passers-by are all potential hazards so it could help avoid an accident if they are easier to see.
Whilst safety lights, either as attachments or light up dog collars, are predominantly for use when walking your dog, they can also be used when you let your dog into your garden at night. Sadly, dog theft is on the increase, particularly among purebred dogs and can happen anywhere. Making your dog visible even when in your own private garden, can be a deterrent to thieves as it means their owner is continually watching them leaving no window of opportunity.
An attachment or light up collar should be able to withstand pressure, so you don’t have to worry about your dog destroying it whilst they are exploring on a walk. For example, the Orbiloc Safety Light has been proven to impact resistance up to 100kg.
Another factor to consider is whether or not the product is waterproof (and splash proof!). This may not sound essential, as not all dogs like to swim or jump in puddles, but if you’re caught out in heavy rain, it helps to know the lights on the attachment or within the collar won’t be affected.
Most LED safety lights will be battery operated and depending on the product, will come with spares. It’s worth looking into how long the batteries last and whether they are long-life, so you will not need to change the batteries as often. Some products, like the light-up dog collars, are USB chargeable, but make sure you check how long you last when they are fully charged and how long they take to charge too. The longer they last and the quicker they charge, the better.
If your chosen product is battery operated, make sure the cover is not easy to remove, as batteries are toxic to dogs if ingested.
Safety lights and light up dog collars are available in a range of colours so you can choose your favourite! Regardless of colour, you still need to be able to spot the light from a fair distance if your dog is off lead to be able to keep an eye on your dog at all times. Most products will also offer different modes, for example ‘glow’ or ‘flash’, which can also save on battery charge when in use.
Safety lights should be able to be attached to the collar or harness and LED collars, of course, sit in place around your dog's neck. It would be unsafe and uncomfortable for your dog if the product was too heavy as it can rub on their skin or cause irritation, so look out for lightweight ones instead.