Well we may not have had a white Christmas, but if the cold weather hits, here’s how to help your pets cope.
In freezing temperatures, hypothermia can occur after just a few minutes and can kill. Our pets are more at risk than we are as they are smaller and prevention is always better than cure, so don’t leave pets outside in freezing temperatures without access to shelter and warmth (or in cars – they act like fridges in cold weather). If your dog has a short coat, use a warm dog coat in colder weather – or even better on dark mornings and evenings, a warm high visibility coat. Prevent snowballs from forming by trimming the hair between your dog’s toes and wipe their paws after walks to remove any salt or chemicals and prevent chapping.
Beware of antifreeze! It smells and tastes good to animals, but it is very poisonous so make sure it is stored well out of reach and spills are cleaned up quickly.
Exercise is great, but ensure dogs don’t run onto frozen waterways. They could fall into icy water if the ice is too thin. And, while your pet might see snow as a novelty, don’t let them eat it – dangerous objects or chemicals may be hidden in it and it can cause stomach upset and even hypothermia if ingested.
Make sure that there is somewhere warm and cosy for your cat or dog to sleep. Pets with arthritis will feel more discomfort when it’s cold so try to keep those older pets as warm as you can. Cats will curl up next to anything hot to keep warm – that can include climbing under the bonnet of a car, so bang on the bonnet before starting the engine, just in case.
Provide outdoor pets, such as guinea pigs and rabbits with extra bedding and be prepared to move them into a shed or unused garage for extra shelter while it is cold, but don’t house animals, or birds, in greenhouses or conservatories due to the temperature changes.
Regular pet health checks help to keep your pet in good health all year round and are a great time to get pet care advice and share any concerns you may have. The Clockhouse ‘Paws and Claws’ plan helps to spread the cost and get discounts on treatments. Ask for details on 01453 752555.