How to keep your pets safe in these cold winter months...
If you do manage to get out and about on the freezing days, keep your dogs away from ponds or lakes that have frozen over as their weight might cause the ice to break under them.
Also watch out for snow and grit. The grit can cause nasty sores in your dog's paws and the snow can ball up into painful lumps of ice. So avoid both if at all possible and give their feet a good wash after walks. Be aware that antifreeze and grit can be poisonous to pets.
Keep safe when walking your dog in the dark, wear reflective clothing and think about a reflective collar or light for your dog’s collar.
Older animals, especially if they are arthritic, will really feel the cold and can be noticeably stiff. Keep an eye on them and give us a call if you have any concerns.
Check that your cat’s bedding is warm and dry, and away from draughts.
In cold weather cats may decide to take shelter under your car, and may even crawl under the bonnet. Tap the bonnet and check in wheel arches before starting your car.
Also, don't forget about smaller pets who live outdoors. Make sure rabbits and guinea pigs have well insulated hutches, plenty of bedding to snuggle down in and check their water twice daily to ensure it hasn't frozen. However, do let them out on the finer days to stretch their legs. Their coats will grow more than thick enough to keep them warm and they will appreciate the fresh air!
Garden birds are extremely vulnerable during the winter months and providing food and fresh water is one of the most helpful things you can do for them. It is important to ensure that birds have access to fresh (not frozen) water since many birds die in severe weather due to dehydration. A suspended water dish is a good way of achieving this and, if it is very cold you can use tepid water. Further information on caring for garden birds can be found online at www.rspb.org.uk