How to keep furry friends warm and safe during the colder months
During winter, it’s not only important to take extra care of ourselves by wrapping up warm as temperatures plummet, but also ensure we do the same for our four-legged friends, too.
“Winter can bring its challenges especially for the fine coated, young, sick or elderly pets in our lives, so it’s important that owners go the extra mile to protect them from the cold and other potential hazards”, says PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing. “Here’s some helpful advice for keeping our four-legged friends safe and cosy during wintertime.
Offer welcome warmth
“It goes without saying that extra layers and indoor warmth can provide plenty of protection against the cold. It’s great to provide canine companions a couple of extra blankets for their bed to help them stay cosy and lift their bed off the floor to prevent them from sitting in draughts. For pooches that really feel the cold, it’s a good idea to get them a well-fitted coat for winter walks.
“Feline friends will likewise appreciate added comfort. Igloo beds, and high up dens can be perfect places for your puss to lie in.
“Smaller pets like rabbits and guinea pigs can really feel the cold too, so it’s important to bring them indoors or into a warm, sheltered area such as a shed if you can. If not, you can insulate the sides of their home with newspaper and plastic sheeting or carpet cut offs. Blankets over the front of their home are also useful to keep out icy rain or wintry gales, while allowing good ventilation. Provide plenty of extra bedding for them to snuggle, away from any draughts.
Watch out for slippery surfaces
“As the winter season sets in, there’s likely to be periods of ice and snow outside. If you’re taking your pooch for a walk, mind out for icy surfaces – they can slip over too. Check paws if they’ve been frolicking in the snow, as it can collect between the pads and cause discomfort. Salt or grit on the roads can irritate paws, so you’ll need to give the pads a good wash when you get home.
Avoid festive frights
“We all want to enjoy festive food and decorations as we approach Christmas. This is a time when you need to really look after your furry friends. A lot of merry treats, such as raisins, chocolate and alcohol, are toxic to our pets – so if you want them to feel part of the festive spirit, stick to nibbles specially designed for animals.
“Be careful where you hang decorations, too. Baubles and lights are objects that can be chewed and swallowed, and can be irresistible to curious felines, so keep them well away from any probing paws. A trip to the vets is certainly not what you want on Christmas Day!”
PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information. This winter, your support is vital for poorly pets – find out how you can help us give pets a fighting chance at www.pdsa.org.uk/pdsa-chance