Winter Safety

More dogs are lost during winter than any other season, make sure your dog is microchipped and has an ID tag. It is now law in the UK to have your dog microchipped. We would recommend having your cat microchipped too, as they will cover a greater distance on a daily basis and are generally unsupervised. Please refer to our Microchipping section for further information.

Puppies and kittens will have more difficulty regulating their body temperature, therefore limit their time outside. How much your dog appears to feel the cold depends on the breed and the thickness of its coat. If you notice your dog tends to feel the cold, it may benefit from a dog coat, of which there is a huge range to choose from.

Exposure to winter’s cold air, chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped & itchy paws and dry flaking skin. Towel dry your pet as soon as it comes in, paying special attention to its feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between their foot pads.

Ice Melts or Rock Salts

Many ice melts will burn your lawn and can also irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. If your dog ingests small amounts of this product, it can irritate the stomach. Ingestion of large amounts can alter the electrolyte balance in your pet’s system, causing lethargy, weakness and even seizures.

Some dogs will lick their feet after a walk causing small amounts to be ingested. This can cause oral irritation, nausea, drooling and vomiting in some pets. Large amounts can be ingested when dogs drink from melted snow puddles.

Ice melts can also irritate your pet’s paws. The pads will dry in winter and even crack. Massaging petroleum jelly into the pads before going outside can help protect from salt and other chemical agents.

Avoid letting your dog eat snow, especially yellow snow!! Dangerous objects or chemicals may be hidden in the snow. Also eating snow may cause an upset stomach and even hypothermia. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible

Remember antifreeze is lethal poison for cats and dogs, even in small amounts. Antifreeze tastes good to pets; cats seem particularly attracted to lick it. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle and consider using products that contains propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

If your dog is kennelled outside during the day, or spends a lot of time outside, it must be protected by a dry, draft free shelter that is large enough to allow your dog to sit and lie down comfortably. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and bedding provided to keep warm. Also check that their water bowl is not frozen. Use plastic bowls to feed and give water, so when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue does not stick or freeze to the metal bowls.

Don’t leave pets in cars!!  Just as in summertime, we should not leave our pets in the car in winter. The car can act like a refrigerator that holds the cold and causes the animal to freeze to death.

Learn to warm up your pet. If your dog or cat seems too cold, try covering it with a towel or blanket. “Towel dry” your pet if it has been soaked outside. You can use a blow dryer at the LOW setting to gently warm them up. Avoid heat pads, which can cause burns. Warming up some rice in a sock in the microwave is an excellent pet-safe alternative. Put it against your wrist first to ensure it’s not too hot. If you are concerned at all, please give us a ring.

Do exercise your dog! It can be hard to get moving on a cold day, but letting our dog stay idle can lead to destructive behaviours - built up energy needs to be spent! Snow can be lots of fun, just remember to dry your pet once you’re back home. Puzzle feeders are a great option for keeping your dog busy on a long, cold winter day.

Enjoy the Winter season!!