Dark nights

Products to make your dog seen...

17th February 2022

The winter months are not only known for their blustering weather and frosty mornings, they are also renowned for their long nights, particular at the time of the winter solstice when the shortest day only offers just under eight hours of daylight. With the long dark nights it means that for us dog owners unless you’re able to walk your pooch during the day, you’re probably out in the dark trying to make sure they’re still getting the exercise they need.

Kitting your dog in reflective gear (and making sure you wear some yourself) can help keep them safe if you venture out in the darkness. With so many different products available for our canine companions, it’s hard to know what’s best for your dog.

To help save you some money and to spare you from having to try them all yourself, we’ve put some products to the test to see if they’ll help your dog be seen when it matters most.

The canine critic

Lulu is a 9-year-old Staffie x Collie cross. She is as full of life as she was as a puppy, even having had a litter of eight of her own. She can be found zooming around her farm chasing the pheasants or snoozing on the recliner armchair which she has claimed for her own!

On a typical day, Lulu is walked at least three times a day for no less than 20 minutes at a time.

The harnesses

A good harness will reduce pulling, increase your control over your pup, and decrease stress on their neck and joints as it covers their chest, shoulders, and upper back which helps disperse pressure over a larger surface area.

Embark Pet Illuminate Reflective Dog Harness

Said to be a lightweight, high-visibility harness, the Illuminate Reflective Harness is designed to slip over your dog’s head and buckle around their belly. With a matching lead and collar available, Embark Pet wants to make sure that their products pop in the dark.

embark harness product review rating

Pros

  • Good visibility at close range
  • Very durable and high-quality material
  • Well-fitting, safe and secure on large dog
  • The material used can be wiped clean
  • Tough metal ring on top to securely attach a lead

Cons

  • The material is not very reflective
  • Not very visible at long distances (over 10 metres) in the dark
  • Fits well on a large dog but is very tough to adjust the stiff straps in cold weather
  • Lulu seemed uncomfortable almost like the straps need ‘breaking in’ with more use as they’re very tough
  • A little fiddly to put on without instructions

Price: £19.99

3 Peaks Ascent Dog Harness

3 Peaks is specially designed to perform in tough outdoor conditions and provides a balance of functionality, technical specification and durability. Their Ascent Dog Harness has a reflective trim to help increase visibility, let’s see what Lulu thought!

3 Peaks harness rating graphic

Pros

  • Good visibility at close range
  • Material is very tough and durable
  • Waterproof
  • Well-fitting, safe and secure on large dog
  • Wouldn’t break or damage easily as it’s designed for long adventures
  • Tough metal ring to securely attach a lead

Cons

  • Not very visible at long distances (over 10 metres)
  • Fiddly to put on without instructions

Price: Starting from £28.00

Julius K9 Harness

Designed with working dogs in mind, Julius K9 Harnesses are a popular choice for household pets. Advertised to keep your dog safe, secure, and comfortable while being quick and easy to use, Lulu put their Powerharness to the test for those night-time strolls.

Julius K9 harness rating graphic

Pros

  • Excellent visibility at both close and long distances
  • Extremely high-quality material
  • Fully waterproof and suitable for all-weather
  • Fully and easily adjustable
  • Perfect fit, snug and comfortable
  • Safe and sturdy metal ring to attach a lead

Cons

  • It’s a bit more expensive than other harnesses

Price: Starting from £18.49

The collars

There are lots of different types of dog collars available with plenty of materials to choose from depending on your dog’s needs and how you’ll be using them. It’s important to consider that while collars must be worn to hold a dog’s identification, they might not be ideal to be used as illumination in the dark as they can sometimes get lost under long fur. But let’s put this to the test…

LED Dog Collar

A simple collar with adjustable light settings, Lulu tests the LED Dog Collar to see if it’s really as bright as it looks in the dark.

LED Dog collar rating graphic

Pros

  • Very bright green with adjustable light settings
  • Excellent visibility both at short and long-range
  • Very easy to turn light on and off
  • Comfortable fit yet sturdy and safe
  • Can be wiped clean
  • USB recharger with no need for batteries
  • Safe solid metal ring to attach a lead
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • No indication of how long charge lasts

Price: Starting from £8.49

Zöon Flash Collar

Listed as a perfect collar for walkies on those winter nights, we wanted to try the rechargeable collar for ourselves.

Zöon Flash Collar product rating graphic

Pros

  • Very bright with adjustable light settings
  • Easily adjustable
  • Came with USB recharger cable
  • Very good quality material that will not easily break or get damaged
  • Safe solid metal ring to attach lead

Cons

  • A little difficult to figure out how to turn on the light
  • No indication in description of how long a charge lasts
  • Unclear whether it is washable or waterproof

Price: Starting from £10

ILLUMISEEN Collar

With over 18,000 reviews, Lulu wore the ILLUMISEEN Collar to see if it really would help her be seen during those darker walks.

ILLUMISEEN collar product rating graphic

Pros

  • Very bright with adjustable light settings (static or flashing)
  • Easy to figure out the light modes with a click of a button
  • Safe and sturdy
  • Lots of sizes available and easily adjustable, fits well on a large dog
  • Comes with a single USB recharger cable (Five hours of light for one hour charge)
  • Safe solid metal ring to attach a lead

Cons

  • Unclear whether it is washable or waterproof
  • No specific information on whether the battery is removable
  • The material felt a little lower in quality than the Zöon collar

Price: Starting from £13.98

The coats

Not all dogs wear coats but some will prefer to have the extra layer depending on their breed, health or age as it can help them adapt to the changing climate around them.

Ancol Hi-Vis Stormguard Dog Coat

Inspired by professional outdoor pursuits, the Ancol Hi-Vis Stormguard coat offers thermal and waterproof qualities using high visibility material and finished with a reflective trim for nighttime safety.

Ancol Hi-Vis Stormguard Coat product rating graphic

Pros

  • Somewhat visible at close-range
  • Waterproof and very warm
  • Snug and comfortable fit
  • Easy to wipe off mud and splashes

Cons

  • Not reflective at all (tested with flashlight shining on it and phone light)
  • No visibility at long-range on a black dog
  • The L size was a little too long on a large dog
  • Fabric did not look or feel like it would be chew-proof
  • No apparent attachment available for a lead

Price: Starting from £21.99

Danish Design 2-in-1 Hi-Viz Coat

The Danish Design coat has a removable polar fleece liner that converts it to a light raincoat and with the easy-fit Velcro strips the fleece can be re-attached ready for those colder days.

Danish Design coat product rating graphic

Pros

  • Excellent visibility both at close and long range
  • Good quality fabric, looked and felt durable
  • Fully waterproof
  • Snug and comfortable fit
  • Very warm and comfy
  • Easy to wipe off mud and splashes
  • 2-in-1 coat – the inner liner can also be removed so suitable for warmer nights

Added bonus: comes with a cute little hood!

Cons

  • The L size was a little too long on a large dog
  • No apparent attachment available for a lead

Price: Starting from £11.99

REFLECT360 Waterproof Fleece-Lined Dog Coat

Utilising millions of tiny, highly reflective glass beads, the material is said to shine brightly when caught in torch beam or vehicle headlights. Lulu wanted to see for herself and headed out with her owner to put it to the test.

REFLECT360 Waterproof Fleece-Lined Dog Coat product rating graphic

Pros

  • The material is reflective when light is shining on it
  • Material is thin but soft and warm
  • Good quality and durable fabric which appears tear and chew proof
  • Fully waterproof
  • The coat can be worn on top of a harness which was a plus

Cons

  • Not very visible at long-range
  • Velcro fastening but not very easily adjustable
  • The thin rear strap designed to help the coat stay in place was too thin and long
  • The L size was too long and wide for a large dog

Price: Starting from £29.99

We hope our tests help make your decision a little easier when it comes to choosing the best reflective gear for your pooch. Whatever you decide to do, it’s important to make sure you and your dog are visible if you head outside in the dark. Stay seen, stay safe!

Please note: All products were purchased by Animal Friends Insurance and are not part of any existing partnership with the suppliers listed. Prices were correct at time of purchase. All products were tested on the same day and with the full support of Lulu.

Read our dog blog!

If you found this article useful, why not visit our dog blog for more news, insight and opinion pieces?

  

Need dog insurance?

Dog insurance can help cover the cost of veterinary treatment if your dog gets injured or falls ill.