Whether you love getting outside on a crisp winter’s day or just feel like you want to hibernate, your pets still need plenty of care and attention.
Read on for our tips to help you look after your pet during the winter months
Check your pet’s paws
When the weather gets icy, salt and grit are spread onto paths and roads to keep them clear. This can be toxic to dogs and cats, so it’s important to wash their paws after they’ve been outside.
Make sure you clean in between their toes to make sure there’s no grit left there.
Another reason to check between your pet’s toes is for little balls of ice that can form after walking in the snow. Snow can clump in the hair and become very painful for them.
Keep your pet warm and dry
If your pet has been outside and got wet, dry them off properly when they come back in. Make sure their bed is cosy and away from any draughts, especially while they’re still damp.
Don’t leave a pet in a car in cold weather. While a car can get dangerously hot in the summer, it can also get very cold in winter.
When taking your dog out for walks, keep them away from frozen lakes or rivers. It’s impossible to know how thick the ice is and they could fall through. Keep your dog on a lead if it doesn’t have good recall.
Watch out for winter hazards
We’ve already mentioned salt and grit on the roads, but other toxic winter hazards to watch out for are antifreeze and de-icer.
Antifreeze has a sweet taste that cats particularly enjoy, so keep these items well away from pets.
Festive plants like poinsettia, holly and ivy are also toxic to pets. If you like to have these plants in your home, consider getting some artificial ones instead.
The same goes for certain festive foods – for instance, alcohol and chocolate. Make sure any Christmas treats are stored safely away.
Taking care of small pets
Dogs and cats aren’t the only pets people have. With that in mind, here’s some quick tips for general animal care in colder weather:
- Pets that usually live outdoors (in a hutch, for example) should ideally be brought indoors or into a sheltered area at least. This might include rabbits, guinea pigs or ferrets.
- Outdoor animals will also benefit from extra insulation around their hutch. A blanket or tarpaulin will add an extra layer.
- Make sure your pet’s drinking water isn’t frozen. Wrap their water bottle in bubble wrap or float a tennis ball in the water bowl to stop it freezing over.
- Smaller animals will appreciate some extra bedding. This applies both to animals that live in a hutch and animals that live in a cage indoors.
- Keep small animals out of any draughts. Hamsters, mice and gerbils can catch a chill very easily.
Admiral Pet Insurance provides a 24-hour free vet helpline for veterinary advice all year round. Visit www.admiral.com/pet-insurance to find out more.