As temperatures start to drop, vets are warning pet owners to make sure their dogs and cats are kept free from hidden and potentially fatal hazards this winter.
During the winter your pets can be affected by the cold and get ill. To avoid this walk your dogs for less time but more often when the temperature drops and consider dog coats for older dogs and those with fine coats. Try to walk dogs before nightfall and if not possible make sure to use a reflective lead, collar or dog coat.
Keep older cats inside when temperatures drop. Also do not forget the small and furry pets such as rabbits and Guinea pigs that usually live outdoors. It is necessary to ensure outdoor hutches are well insulated from snow, frost and winter rain and kept between five and 20 degrees C. The small body size of these animals makes them more susceptible to hypothermia.
Do not bathe your dog or cat too often, unless they have rolled in something unbearable!!
When walking in snow and ice keep on a lead particularly where canals, ponds and lakes have frozen over. Animals often don’t understand the difference between solid ground and ice and can fall through. In this situation owners are urged not to go in after their pets as, although distressing, it is never worth risking your own life - better left to informing the professionals.
Simple things like not leaving your dog sat on cold ground outside a shop while you pop in or putting your cat out at night can cause it to get chilled and suffer from a range of illnesses.
When it gets cold many of us use de-icer which often leaks into the ground and this can prove deadly to pets so it is worthwhile wiping their legs and paws after being outside.
Anti-freeze, in particular, is highly toxic with one in four vets reporting having to treat cats for anti-freeze poisoning in the past year.
Extreme cold as well as salt and grit used on the road can irritate your pet so when you wipe their paws check for cracks and bleeding.
The cold can also worsen some established problem conditions such as arthritis which can be effectively treated by your vet.