I don’t do as much running with the dogs as I used to (although I am trying to get back into it). When I was training for my marathon I was running 4 times a week – often at night after I got off work. However, I did learn quickly in those days how important it is that dogs, especially little dogs, need to be seen.
One night we were running and Chester was running a little bit out in front of me as usual. As we stepped off the sidewalk into the crosswalk a car tried to cut around the corner of the intersection really fast before he had to stop for me. He nearly ran Chester over. I had to yank on his leash and snatch him up by the harness lightening fast.
Now, I like to think this guy was just being a jerk because he didn’t want to wait but it is possible that he didn’t see us – or at least not Chester. I don’t know what I was wearing but I wasn’t born yesterday so it was probably something light-colored or reflective. Chester, on the other hand, wasn’t wearing anything but his black fur. To compound the issue, he is only about 18 inches tall.
This is how I began my quest for the perfect way to get him seen. I actually bought him a little orange and yellow reflective doggie vest similar to the kind street workers wear. That worked for a while but he hates jackets and I also thought I could do better because reflective things can’t be seen until the car’s lights shine on you….which might not be until they are almost on top of you.
I have gone through a few trials and errors but I think I have found our favorite “get me seen” item. We use the Night Ize SpotLit. It’s a semi-sphere about the diameter of a quarter. When you squeeze the sides it either turns solid red or blinking red (or purple or green if you choose that color), depending on how many times you squeeze it. When I take the dogs for a walk at night or early in the morning I clip this light to their leash or harness.
It’s great for us outdoorsy types who brave wet belly syndrome and the rain to and venture out on our walk because the SpotLit is weather resistant and has a secure stainless steel spring clip that won’t rust.
The battery run time is 20 – 25 hours depending on which mode you use so we can use it a lot before we ever have to replace the batteries (we like no or low maintenance things).
It’s not perfect though. Although it only weights a half ounce, Chester doesn’t like it hanging off him or swinging around his head. If I put it on his harness it will cause it to slip to one side if I don’t keep tension on the leash.
If it falls to one side of your dog or the other, that means that, unless the car is approaching from the “right” side, they might not see it. These are the primary reasons I started clipping it to the base of their leash. At the base of the leash it can be seen from more angles and doesn’t cause their harness to slip.
Although Chester doesn’t love the thing he puts up for it in exchange for walkies. We are still on the lookout for the perfect visibility apparatus but for now this is what we will use every time we go out in the dark.
If you want one, you can get yours here.
I noticed on the Night Ize website that they also have a newer prodouct that is similar to a SpotLit but made specifically for pets. This PetLit LED Collar Light only comes in a white light and you twist it to turn it on instead of press it. This one is significantly lighter (and I assume smaller) than the SpotLit, weighing in at .15 oz instad of .6 oz. Someday we may try this because the lighter weight is appealing (and the price is about the same at $5 – $7) but it looks like it is not available until 10/1/2011.
The honest truth: I have no affiliation with Nite Ize and they did not contact me about a product review or send me free product. This is something I bought years ago and wanted you to know about because it is great.