Is your pet ready for changes in the weather?
This time of year we are all looking forward to seeing the first signs of spring, so why am I writing about winter?
It was March last year that ‘The Beast from the East’ arrived in the UK, bringing snow and low temperatures which caused a mixture of chaos and delight. The news agencies used photographs of travel misery followed by images of children, bundled up in coats and scarves, having fun in the snow to demonstrate both sides of the story.
Pets can feel the cold like we do; they need to be provided with warmth. Generally cats will just make short trips outside when necessary and then quickly return to the warmth of the house – usually to the spot closest to the radiator or log fire.
Dogs require a little more exercise and are taken out for walks. Many companies market dog coats designed to keep dogs dry and warm in the colder weather. There are lots of colours and styles to suit all tastes. Please do not walk your dog on frozen lakes or rivers; bodyweight and changes in temperature will cause the ice to crack and result in dogs and people requiring rescue from frozen water.
Once back from a walk please ensure that all snow has been removed from your dog’s body so that the fur does not become tangled. Rinsing the paws in warm water and drying thoroughly will help to remove salt and grit that may have been laid on pavements and roads, which can sometimes irritate the skin.
Outdoor animals need to be provided with shelter and additional bedding to provide insulation. It would be worth considering bringing hutches and cages indoors to sheds or garages if the cold spell is going to be prolonged. Please ensure that outdoor animals have a supply of clean fresh water rather than a frozen bottle or bowl that they cannot access.
As part of our winter preparations we use antifreeze in our cars. This is highly toxic to animals; it affects kidney function and can be fatal. Antifreeze smells and tastes good to them, they will also groom it from their coats if they get splashed. Signs of antifreeze poisoning include: vomiting, walking as if drunk, drinking a lot more than usual and lethargy. Please ensure all containers have lids on, animals are not permitted in the area when antifreeze is being used and that it is disposed of correctly. If you see or suspect that your pet has ingested antifreeze then contact the surgery as soon as possible.
With the reduced exercise during the winter months, and eating the same amount of food, pets are liable to gain weight. If you think your pet is looking a little heavier and would like a weight check why not book an appointment with one of our nurses. We can then advise you on how to keep your pet trim and get them ‘summer ready’. Joining our Avenue Healthcare Plan gives you unlimited nurse clinics and many other benefits – ask at reception.
Enjoy the end of the winter season but please keep pets safe and warm.
Lois Daniels RVN Dip AVN (Surgical)