Clean feet & heat for a wonderful winter!
When the winter weather takes a turn for the worse and temperatures start to plunge quicker than the price of a toaster on Boxing Day, it’s time to think about what can be done to help your fury friends beat the cold.
Hats, scarves and gloves are all well and good for owners, but they’re not much use to the millions of pets who need to stay warm, when the mercury drops.
Our brief guide will help keep your cats and dogs in tip-top shape during the cold snap, when threats to their wellbeing are not always obvious.
Rock Salt & Anti-freeze
Rock salt is a mixture of salt and grit used to de-ice roads in winter, and it is a danger to cats and dogs who walk over it and lick it from their paws or fur. Ingesting just a small amount of salt can cause thirst, vomiting and lethargy, accompanied by is a risk of convulsions and kidney damage in severe cases.
To minimise risk, wipe the feet and underbelly of your cat and dog when you suspect they have come into contact with rock salt on a gritted road or neighbour’s path. If they’re showing signs of discomfort wash them in a pet shampoo and make sure you dry them thoroughly.
Cats will drink anti-freeze if it’s been left out or formed a puddle after being spilt. If you suspect your pet has already eaten salt mix or come across anti-freeze, take them to a vet immediately. The RSPCA advises owners to act quickly. Never watch and wait if you suspect poisoning.
Take your dog or cat outside at the same time that you go out and, as a rule of thumb, take them back indoors when you’re feeling cold, as it’s likely they’re feeling chilly too. Young, old and ill pets are particularly susceptible to cold weather, so it’s probably best to keep those in really poor health indoors when temperatures get really low.
Pets with short coats don’t have as much fur with which to trap warm air against their bodies as longhaired breeds and may need an extra layer of warmth as a result. Jackets are widely available from good pet shops and online.
Frozen Ponds & Lakes
This year has been warm in comparison with previous ones but there’s still a chance that we might have another deep freeze. Should that occur, be wary of frozen ponds and lakes. Letting your pet run on to a frozen surface risks them ending up in freezing water and may leave you facing a perilous rescue.
Car Engines & Cats
It’s not unknown for cats to hop up into a warm engine compartment. If there is the slightest possibility that a feline might be lurking below your bonnet, please lift it and check before starting your engine.