As temperatures drop it’s important to keep our furry companions in mind, Battersea and the RSPCA have some winter care advice to keep dogs safe throughout the colder months.
Pet safety is just as vital in the winter as it is in the summer, with darker nights and colder days our four-legged friends should be well protected for the seasonal change. With advice from the RSPCA and 10 tips from Battersea, we can make sure everyone is warm and happy this winter.
It’s tempting to stay snuggled up in the comfort of our own homes during bitter days, however, pets still need to stay active. The RSPCA advises for afternoon and evening walks, humans and dogs should be protected with reflective clothing. Both charities advise to stay clear of frozen lakes or ponds as thin ice can easily break under the weight of a dog, and also being aware that antifreeze and rock salt is poisonous for pets so paws need to be checked and washed thoroughly.
Here are Battersea’s 10 tips for winter safety:
1. Wrap up on walks
It may be cosy indoors, but your dog needs regular walks regardless of the weather. When out on walks it’s important to make sure your four-legged friends are wrapped up warm. Put a dog coat on them when you go out, especially if you have a fine-coated dog, such as a Greyhound or Staffie.
2. Check for snow between their toes
Check your dog’s paws and dry them thoroughly after they’ve been outside. This is especially important with long-haired dogs as they are prone to snow compacting between their toes and turning into ice balls which can prove very painful. If they are agreeable, you could trim the long hair between your dog’s toes to help prevent this.
3. Check for salt and grit between their toes
Clean their paws at the end of your walk as salt and grit from roads and pavements can also get lodged between their toes.
4. Keep them warm and dry
Dry off wet and muddy dogs after walks and make sure they have a cosy bed to return to which is away from any cold draughts.
5. Keep them active indoors
Some dogs can be very reluctant to venture out into the cold. If this is the case, do not force them out but make sure you provide them with lots of toys for them to play and keep them occupied while indoors.
6. Adjust their food if necessary
If you do find that your dog is less active in the winter months, make sure you adjust the amount of food you give them accordingly to avoid weight gain.
7. Make sure they have good recall
Cold weather often brings reduced visibility in foggy or snowy weather conditions. If you’re letting them off the lead, make sure your dog has good recall to avoid them getting lost and, as always, make sure their microchip details are up to date with your correct contact information.
8. Make them visible
As the nights draw in earlier and the sun rises later, attach a small light to your dog’s collar so they can be seen when out on walks in reduced visibility.
9. Never leave your dog in the car unattended
Just as cars can become fatally hot in summer months, temperatures can drop very quickly in cold weather. Always take your dog with you rather than leaving them in the car for any length of time.
10. Stay away from frozen lakes and rivers
Keep your dog away from stretches of frozen water as it’s impossible to tell how secure the surface is. Keep them on a lead if you think they’ll be tempted to jump in.