Paws of Safety - Keeping Pets Safe this Winter

Darkness is one of the biggest dangers that we face when we are out and about in the winter. Making sure that we are both seen (us and our companion) is very important.  The good news is that this can be done easily - and inexpensively!  

High visibility vests are the best for us humans (personally, I prefer a high visibility jacket as it also keeps me warm and toasty).  You can also kit yourself out with a head torch - you can even have ones that flash red at the back.  

Making sure that our pooch is seen is also very important, especially if they have dark fur.  Again, there is plenty of equipment on the market, from LED light up collars, full reflective bodysuits to coats with flashing lights.  However, a human high visibility vest can also be easily adapted to fit them - just make sure that they can’t get trapped, tangled or caught in them. 

The moral of the story is, although it’s not Christmas just yet, make yourself and your dog look like a Christmas tree! Not only will it be setting a trend, you will also be very visible!

There are other dangers facing us during the colder months (although the current weather doesn't feel that wintery!). Ice can be very dangerous to pets. It can damage their paws if they walk on it for too long - dog boots are great protection for this.  Also, the hidden dangers of ice can be disastrous, make sure that you keep your dog away from frozen lakes and rivers.

Talking about ice, another danger, which is not well known, is the antifreeze that we put in our car engines.  Due to its chemical structure antifreeze has a very sweet taste to it, a taste that cats particularly love. A small amount of antifreeze will cause catastrophic damage to you cat’s internal organs - make sure if you have antifreeze at home, that the lid is safe and secure and its stored out of reach. 

If you are not a fan of winter and dark days, one thing that is sure to make you feel better is a nice log fire or lovely scented candles.  However, it is so easy to forget that dogs and cats don’t understand to keep away from them, candles especially. Open fires should have a fireguard in place as dogs and cats like to get as close to the warmth as possible.

From fire to cold, pets can suffer hypothermia just like us. Make sure that you keep this in mind if you are heading out for a long walk or they are having fun in the back garden. Although many cats and dogs have thick fur, if this gets wet it will be more difficult for them to get warm. If you see any signs of shivering, get them warm. Bring them in, get them in the car, use a towel or blanket - anything to help them warm up. Small breeds, such as lurchers/whippets, and older dogs are particularly susceptible to the cold.    

Remember, although the above highlights some of the dangers, there are a lot of positives to this time of year.  Who doesn't want a ‘hot water bottle that never gets cold’ (aka the cat) to snuggle up with in front of a cosy fire while reading a good book!?