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Winter has finally arrived…

13 January 2017

Winter has finally arrived and the cold snap has seen the arrival of frosty mornings, salt gritted roads and for some of us, snow!

Here are Willows top tips for winter to keep your pets safe and warm during the colder months.


Having fun in the snow 


  • After walking your dog on salt gritted pavements and roads, take a moment when you get home to wash their paws. This avoids causing irritation to the pads from the salt and also prevents ingestion from licking the paws. 
  • If your dog likes to go out and have some fun in the snow, please check their feet afterwards to make sure there are no ice balls stuck to the fur between the pads on the feet, this can be very painful.
  • When you are out walking after dusk wear bright reflective clothing to keep you safe from motorists and think about reflective collars and leads for your dog at this time of year too, we want them to be easily visible too.
  • Short haired and small dog breeds will really feel the cold whilst out walking in these temperatures, so a coat is definitely needed to keep them snuggly and warm.
  • Keep your dog on a lead near frozen ponds and lakes to avoid them walking on the ice and falling into freezing water.


Having fun in the snow 


  • When topping up the antifreeze in your car, please be extra vigilant for spillages and very careful where it is stored. It is highly toxic. Antifreeze poisoning can also occur in dogs, cats however are more sensitive to this than dogs. Antifreeze is rapidly absorbed by the body and results in kidney failure. If you suspect your cat has had access to antifreeze you must contact your vet immediately! Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning are thirst, vomiting and being wobbly on the back legs.
  • Cats will often seek out warmth and may crawl into warm spots under the car. Give a tap on the bonnet before you set of in the car to ensure there isn’t a feline friend hiding to keep warm! 
  • Provide additional little trays inside as cats will be more reluctant to go outside during the colder weather - they much prefer to stay warm and snug inside.
  • Cats will usually prefer to stay indoors during cold periods, however if your cat is an outdoor type, ensure they have an area to shelter and keep warm and dry.
  • Ensure your cats are microchipped, if they do take shelter somewhere warm or get lost they can be reunited with you (take this opportunity to check your contact details are up to date).


Having fun in the snow 

Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

  • Ensure hutches and runs are positioned away from the wind and extreme weather like snow. Ideally move the hutches indoors or under cover in a garage or out building. If this is not possible, ensure you cover the hutch with thick blankets or specially made hutch covers and provide lots of extra bedding.
  • Check water bottles regularly to ensure the water hasn’t frozen and don’t forget to check the ball in the neck of the water bottle to ensure it is working and not frozen over.
  • Change bedding regularly and check they have ample food supplies.
  • Do not leave them unattended for long periods in runs during the cold period.
  • Make sure hutches and runs are safe from predators.