With freezing temperatures and icy conditions forecast in many parts of the country, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) is advising pet owners to take extra precautions to ensure dogs, cats and other small pets are kept safe from hidden and potentially fatal winter hazards.
As with humans, pets can fall ill upon exposure to extremely cold temperatures for extended periods. To avoid this, BVA is asking owners to consider putting a coat on old dogs or those with thin fur to keep them warm.
It is also important to wipe your dog’s paws and belly on returning home from a snowy walk to remove any traces of ice or grit, and to regularly check for cracks in paw-pads or for redness between the toes.
Keep older cats inside during an extremely cold spell and ensure that even healthy young cats have easy access to shelter and warmth.
Cats are especially at risk of poisoning from antifreeze at this time of the year, which can be fatal for them even in small amounts.
Over half (51%) of vets who treated toxic ingestion in cats over the 2019 festive period saw cases caused by antifreeze.
Store and use antifreeze products carefully, clean any spillages thoroughly, and contact your vet immediately if your cat develops symptoms of antifreeze poisoning.
Caring for small animals
Small pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs that usually live outdoors are