Even though you might want to stay indoors and wrap up warm, it's very important to remember your pets and other animals during the cold winter months.
DOGS & CATS
· Don’t forget to make sure your pet has access to plenty of fresh drinking water and food.
· In Extreme Temperatures we recommend you always keep your pets indoors.
· It’s most important your pet has somewhere warm and comfortable to sleep, out of the wind and the rain. Their bedding should also be raised off the ground so they don’t catch a chill from the cold, damp floor.
· Dog kennels should be lined with old rugs and linen to help keep your pooch comfortable and warm. If you don’t have a protected area where your dog can sleep, the DSPCA recommends you bring them inside during the wet and windy weather.
· Your dog won’t mind that it's cold and dark as he or she still needs to be taken for their walk. It's a good idea to wear warm and reflective clothing (High Visibilty Jacket), so that cars and people on bikes can see you - and it's just as important for your dog too. Get a reflective collar and lead and a winter coat for your dog so that it can easily be seen when out on an evening walk.
· Make sure that your cat has a proper cat safety collar on, especially one with reflective pieces on it.
· Never let your dog off the lead on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm—dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
· Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat with a high collar with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.
· Cats also prefer to be snuggled up inside. A comfortable chair, basket or even a box can make the perfect bed for your feline friend. They’re always happiest sleeping by the fire or in front of the heater.
· It’s important though, that you keep a close eye on your pets if they’re warming themselves by the fire, because they could burn themselves if they get too close.
· Remember! During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
· Speaking of cars! Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
· Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
· When thunderstorms are forecast, the best place for your pets is indoors with you. The loud claps of thunder and bright lightening can be distressing for animals.
· Remember that you still have to pick up their poo even in the dark so a torch and bags are a must.
· It’s also important to make sure dogs and cats are microchipped, in case they’re spooked by the weather and run off. For more information on Microchipping please click here.
· Dog owners must keep pets well away from ponds and lakes that have frozen over. Thin ice may break under your dog’s weight
Our feathered friends also need extra care during the winter months.
· The DSPCA recommends birds are placed somewhere out of the wind and rain, in a draught free spot. It’s not a bad idea to bring the cage inside but it needs to be kept well away from the heater.
· Don’t forget to make sure your pet has access to plenty of fresh drinking water.
If you have a rabbit or a guinea pig in the garden then it is really important that spend some extra time on them at that time of year. Their hutched can get really cold and damp if not sheltered from the bad weather.
· Move the hutch to a more sheltered area, maybe outside the back door, in the side passage or into a shed or garage.
· Make sure they have plenty of nice warm, fresh bedding to snuggle down in and change it regularly.
· In extreme temperatures place extra bedding in their homes. Better still, move them to a shed or garage for extra shelter or if you have a downstairs loo or a utility or cloak room that can be used temporarily to keep them sheltered.
· Rabbits and guinea pigs will naturally eat more in the winter so that they have extra fat to help them stay warm, so make sure you give them plenty of food, fresh vegetables and fresh water.
· Don’t forget to check that the water does not freeze in the water bottle!