How to keep your dog healthy and safe in the winter:
As days continue to grow shorter in the winter months, dog walks in the dark can become unavoidable. To ensure your dog’s safety on dark walks, wear reflective clothing, bring a torch and keep your dog on a lead when walking near traffic.
Cold road surfaces, ice and salted pavements can irritate your dog’s paws so be sure to wash them after walks in these conditions and be vigilant of your dog’s behaviour – lifting their paws or refusing to walk could be a sign that their feet are hurt or cold.
As our friends at Blue Cross point out, breeds that don’t have a lot of fur, like greyhounds, feel the cold more than other dogs. Investing in a jumper or coat will help them deal with the change in weather.
Keep an eye on their weight – some dogs will exercise less in winter (don’t we all?!) so may be prone to putting on a few extra pounds. Ensure they continue to eat healthily and alter their diet if recommended by a vet
How to keep your cat healthy and safe in the winter:
As temperature begin to drop, keep an eye on where your cat likes to hide and keep warm, cold cats tend to hide in garages and sheds where they can become trapped or, more dangerously in car engines.
If the temperature seriously drops, try and keep your cat indoors as they can develop hypothermia and frostbite in extreme cold.
How to keep smaller pets healthy and safe in the winter:
Smaller animals can be particularly vulnerable to colder temperatures so make sure outdoor hutches are positioned so that rain and snow can’t blow in and, for extra warmth, partially cover hutches with a thick blanket.
If weather conditions are scheduled to be especially bad consider bringing your pets’ hutch indoors into an unused garage or shed.
Your pet will need extra calories in order to keep warm so be sure to give them plenty of hay and pet food, remember to keep an eye on their water on colder days so you can replace it if it freezes.