Winter can be tough, the nights are long and the weather is miserable; so the last thing you need is a urgent trip to the Vets with one of your pet's... follow our easy steps to make it through Winter safely.
Stay safe and be Seen
Don't become a victim of a road traffic accident with your pet during dark winter walks, ensure both you and your dog can clearly be seen by motorists and cyclists on the roads. Reflective doggy harnesses/coats are easily available online and in pet shops, they offer protection against not only the damp, muddy weather, but ensure your dog can be seen by oncoming vehicles. You can even buy illuminating collars and lights that attach to collars and harnesses.
Cats too can benefit from reflective collars, that make them easier to spot when crossing roads. More cats are killed during dark nights than at any other time day, so it's worth investing in a reflective collar (ensure it has a safety release click in case they get caught on anything).
Winter play time
With reduced viability, it may be a good time to buy your dog a 'glow in the dark' toy, which will be easier for you to spot and you will have the added benefit of seeing where your dog is whilst he is carrying the toy.
If you are walking your dog during icy spells, avoid lakes, ponds and rivers that are frozen over. These could prove fatal for your pet if they fall into frozen water and become stuck in broken ice. Don't put yourself in danger trying to rescue them, always call for help.
We talked about antifreeze dangers in our last blog post, this sweet and tasty liquid is loved by pets but will cause kidney failure and often death if your pet consumes any. Always keep them away from antifreeze products and contact us immediately if you suspect your pet may have ingested any antifreeze.
Outdoor Cats during Winter
Many cats go missing during cold weather as they seek shelter inside sheds, garages and outbuildings; often they can end up getting locked inside as unknowing humans close the doors. Once locked inside, some sadly die from lack of food and water before being discovered. You may wish to limit the length of time your cat spends outdoors in winter, call them in sooner and keep them inside overnight.
Cats can also be injured or killed when they seek shelter underneath cars or perch under wheel arches on top of wheels. Check under your car or bang on the bonnet before starting your car and driving off.
If you are lucky enough to have open fires in your home, ensure your pets are protected from burns by having a fire guard in place. Cats will often warm themselves next to radiators, so why not invest in a cat radiator hammock to help keep them cosy.
Rabbits are often left outside and spend much of the Winter alone as we don't venture outdoors as much, but it's important to make sure your bunny has everything they need to stay safe and happy over Winter. Check out our entire blog about Rabbit care during the winter here.
After walking dogs or when cats return from being outdoors, it's important to wash/wipe their feet to remove any grit or salt from their paws. During cold winters, salt spreading is common and your pet could have walked over gritted roads and pavements; when they groom themselves and lick their paws they could be ingesting the salt/grit which will make them poorly and if not washed off, it could irritate their skin.
Older pets can feel the effects of the cold and for those suffering from conditions like Arthritis it can be worse during cold weather. Speak to the vet about keeping your older pet healthy during the Winter and how you can help keep them comfortable.