Keeping pets safe in winter weather

Here are some tips on how to ensure that your pets are kept as safe as possible during the winter weather’s cold snaps.

Invest in a pet coat

For pets that spend the majority of their time indoors, this is not so important. However, if your pet spends lots of time outside – because they live outside or are taken for long walks – you should definitely consider investing in a pet coat or jumper. This’ll reduce the risk of your pet becoming unwell and will also help to prevent any skin problems that happen as a result of the cold weather.

Be cautious with antifreeze

During the winter months, antifreeze is a huge health risk for pets, as even the smallest amount can cause serious health issues. It often drips from car radiators, which means that you should try to clean your driveway regularly over winter to remove any residue that your car may have left.

However, it also means that you should keep dogs on leads in areas that cars may have been in order to prevent them from wandering and drinking from an antifreeze-laced puddle. Antifreeze poisoning can result in your pet seeming ‘drunk’, but they may also vomit or have seizures. If you notice anything strange in the way your pet is behaving, you should seek veterinary advice without delay.

Keeping pets safe in winter - A girl cuddles up with her Alaskan Malamute dog

Tap your car bonnet

This may sound odd, but during the winter months, cats often take refuge in the warmth that is under a car, as the heat from the engine keeps them warm. This, as you might imagine, can end badly. However, to prevent any mishaps, simply tap your car bonnet before starting the engine, and if there is a cat hiding, it’ll move out of the way.

As a result of the sun setting earlier in winter, it’s always a good idea to invest in a reflective collar for your pet. This means that even if your pet is wandering around at night, any traffic that comes across them will easily spot them as their car lights reflect on the collar. For dogs, reflective leads and jackets could also be a good idea, and will mean that traffic can easily see them in the dark.

Provide plenty of fresh food and water

In the winter, pets may need more food in order to help them maintain weight that will help to keep them warm, and it is also important to keep them hydrated. Refreshing food and water regularly is a good way to encourage them to eat and drink enough. Obviously you don’t want your pet to become overweight over winter, so you should be aware of how much they are eating – but a little weight gain for the cold weather is nothing to worry about, as it can easily be lost when your pet begins to exercise more in the warmer weather.

It’s important to ensure that your pet is kept as safe as possible for the entirety of the year, but winter time can pose more risks to your pet’s health and safety. If you have even the slightest concern about your pet’s well being, you should not hesitate to seek advice from your vet.

You can also check out our post about dark walkies: dog walking in the darker months.

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