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Winter is approaching. We layer up our clothes, turn the heating on and enjoy warm beverages much more regularly… but what is it like for our pets? How do shorter, colder days affect them? How can Christmas be a safe, enjoyable time for our furry friends?

Colder temperatures can make the great outdoors much less appealing. We need to ensure our pets are still offered an adequate, consistent amount of exercise each day. Exercising our pets helps to improve their bone and tendon strength, helps their circulation, whilst also boosting their mental wellbeing. It may be advisable to buy your pet a winter coat if they are sensitive to the cold, and highly reflective colours would be recommended, especially as the days are much gloomier and daylight hours shorter. Torches may be useful too, due to the days becoming dark sooner. 

If your cat lives outdoors, they may choose to go out less. Snow and frost seem strange to many pets and they may behave differently when they first experience these weather conditions. We need to ensure our cats have the option to return home if they want to. If you are not at home throughout the day, enabling you to let your cat back indoors, working (and unfrozen) cat flaps are essential. 

Cold, frosty evenings and mornings mean you may find pets and wild animals hiding in warm places. Be sure to check underneath your car before turning on the engine to ensure nothing is sleeping under it, or even on the engine block. Always check your sheds and garages to ensure you have not accidentally locked wildlife away. If you suspect your pet is missing, check warm, insulated areas of your home and garden before panicking.

Animals living in outdoor cages should be brought into a shed or indoors. Alternatively, extra protection such as blankets and extra bedding should be added to secure thermal protection. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and prepare for the worst. Ensure the water supply to your pets is always liquid, water bottles especially often freeze in the cold weather! Smaller pets are much more likely to suffer from hypothermia than larger pets. Hypothermia can be fatal, so take precautions early. 

Antifreeze is toxic to cats and dogs. Prevent them from drinking from puddles or ponds. Ensure you store it out of reach so they cannot ingest it from the bottle. If any is spilled, mop it up immediately. Symptoms that your pet has ingested antifreeze may include incoordination, nausea, excessive urination and diarrhoea, weakness in their muscles, tremors, increased heart rate and depression. If any of these symptoms are seen then you should contact us as soon as possible. 

Wintertime also means Christmas time! 

Christmas time for pets can be extremely exciting if they are able to get involved in the family fun safely.

What gifts can I give my pets?

  • New toys

  • Food and water bowls

  • Leads

  • Collars or harnesses

  • New winter jacket

  • New bedding or blankets

You should avoid any toys with small parts which may fall off and get stuck in your pet’s throat, potentially causing them to choke.

Dressing your pet up seems to be a popular thing to do over the Christmas period however this can cause irritation and anxiety for our pets. Should you decide to dress your pet up, you should keep a very close eye on them as they may get caught on obstacles and become uncomfortable.

Over Christmas time, you should be careful of any decorations that your pet may get caught on. This can be very stressful for your pets and they could be caught for long periods of time. If your pet is particularly inquisitive, they may try unwrapping gifts, especially gifts which smell nice. 

Cocoa is toxic to cats and dogs. It causes organ failure, so watch out for anything containing chocolate. Similarly, raisins are also toxic so be careful of Christmas puddings and mince pies! Ensure gifts are kept out of reach from your pets to avoid any medical emergencies such as choking or intoxication. 

Christmas trees can cause damage to our pets. Small conifer needles fall off the tree and can get stuck in your pet's feet or even worse, they could swallow them! Be sure to keep the area tidy and if possible, keep your pets away from the tree!

Winter is a fabulous time of the year to make memories with your families and furry friends, working together we can keep it a safe one!



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