We are now officially in wintertime and the evenings are drawing in, with longer, colder nights. Looking after your pet in the wintertime is a bit different to the summer and there are some winter hazards to be aware of.
- With cats, who like to roam about at night, we would strongly advise a high visibility reflective collar. If your cat will not wear a collar, do try and keep him or her in after dark. Unfortunately, the incidence of road traffic accidents involving cats does increase in the winter months.
- Dogs can also benefit from high visibility wear or LED light collars, enabling motorists to see them and helping you find them once they are off the lead in dark woods! There is a good range of high visibility pet products at www.atomicpet.co.uk.
- The days and nights will become progressively colder so make sure your pets are warm. Smaller, older and thinner animals will feel the cold more so keep them in or, in the case of dogs such as whippets, toy breeds and lurchers, you may want to buy a dog jacket. With old, thin cats; keep them in on the coldest nights.
- Rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and other outdoor hutch animals are fine to remain outside as long as they have plenty of extra bedding. They will make a nest, which retains heat. Make sure the hutch is draft-free, block up holes and make sure it is rainproof! On bitterly cold nights, when the temperature drops below freezing, it might be worth insulating the whole hutch with a large plastic sheet or similar or putting it into a garage or shed.
- Make sure all outside animals have access to water and ensure it does not freeze over.
- Place a rubber ring in fishponds to prevent them freezing over completely and if they do freeze over, DO NOT break the ice as the shock will kill the fish.
- Anti-freeze is highly poisonous. Puddles in and around cars are potentially lethal drinking for your pet. Clean up spills and don’t let your pet drink from puddles in car parks.
Remember, you can always call or pop in to your local veterinary surgery for free advice about winter hazards.