Posted 29 October, 2018
Get Expert Advice on Caring for Your Pet in Winter Weather from Pdsa Vet Nurse Kristiana Shirley
With temperatures dropping and as we approaching fireworks season, so here’s my advice on keeping your pets safe and cosy over winter.
Over seven million UK cats and dogs are afraid of fireworks. If your pet is one of those affected, here are my top tips to help reduce any fear and anxiety they may experience:
- Build a den – somewhere they feel safe and can hide away, padded with pillows and blankets.
- Give dogs a nice long walk early in the day, and spend time playing with your cat to help exert their energy.
- Bring hutches safely indoors, a car-free garage or shed is ideal. Extra bedding, hay and blankets help to minimise external noise but take care not to obstruct air flow.
- Ensure your pet is microchipped (a legal requirement for dogs anyway) and the database holds your up-to-date contact details - essential if your pet runs off in a panic.
- Use a pheromone plug-in diffuser. We can’t smell the scents, but they can calm pets.
For more tips to keep your pet happy, go to pdsa.org.uk/fireworksready
Walking in the (cold) air
With the darker evenings and colder weather here, even if we might prefer to stay inside, it’s important to brave the outdoors to keep our pets happy and healthy.
Here are some tips to keep pets active and happy in cold weather:
- Dogs: Ideally walk them during the daytime, but if you do need to walk in the dark make sure you both wear high-visibility clothing and your dog has a bright lead and harness. Dogs with extremely thin fur may benefit from a warm coat, but make sure that it fits well and doesn’t interfere with their movement.
- Cats: Keep them active indoors with toys and games – objects they can chase, climb and jump up on to are ideal.
- Rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets: Move them indoors or into a cosy sheltered area. They still need space to explore and stretch their legs and keep them snug with extra bedding and hay.
Cold weather also brings hidden hazards which can harm our pets:
- Antifreeze and de-icer. These are very toxic. Cats are at a high risk because they can drink from puddles, or accidentally lick it off their fur whilst grooming.
- Salt and grit. This can irritate pets’ paws and is toxic if they lick themselves clean. Rinse paws if they come into contact with salt and grit after walks.
- Cars. Cats often shelter under cars in cold and wet weather, so check near the engine and by the wheels.
- Poisonous plants. Festive favourites like holly, mistletoe and poinsettia are all harmful to pets if eaten.
- Festive food. Many foods, including raisins, chocolate and alcohol are toxic to pets. Stick to treats meant for pets (ensuring they don’t overindulge and get an upset tummy!)
For more advice on keeping your pet happy and healthy this winter visit PDSA’s website.
See you at the show and look out for our stand with a special offer from PDSA Petsurance, proud sponsor of the National Pet Show