Top tips for winter pet care from Heath Veterinary Clinic
Sarah Solomon, owner of Heath Veterinary Clinic in Burgess Hill, offers her top tips on winter pet care.
- Not all dogs are built with thick winter fur and fine-coated breeds such as Greyhounds, Chihuahuas and Jack Russells feel the cold so purchasing a warm, good quality coat for them is a good idea.
- Salt on pavements & antifreeze can result in chemical burns on paw pads. Always rinse paws after a walk or avoid pavement walking if possible and safe to do so.
- Trim the fur on paws and up the back of legs to avoid ice and snow clumps forming.
- Be wary of frozen bodies of water – keep your dog on a lead near these.
- Use a reflective collar, lead or coat when walking in the dark – whatever time of year.
- Check car bonnets and wheel arches as cats may be sleeping there to keep warm.
- Check the cat flap regularly as it could freeze up, meaning your kitty can’t get back into the warm.
- Put blankets where your hot water pipes run to create a comfortable place where they can warm up.
- Groom your cat regularly as the winter slush can cause matting in their thicker winter fur.
- If possible, bring your small furries into the house or a shed, but don’t keep them by a radiator as this can cause them to overheat!
- If they have to remain outside, give them extra bedding/hay and place a warm blanket and waterproof cover over the hutch – remembering to leave a gap for fresh air to get in.
- Check the water bottle daily as it could freeze up – the metal spout is often the first bit to freeze. Have a spare to use while the frozen one thaws.
- Change bedding regularly as wet bedding can become cold and sometimes frozen.
- Give your chickens scratch grains on top of their usual feed. Corn grains, for example, convert into fats thus helping with internal insulation.
- Fill in any gaps in your coop to prevent drafts. Also, weasels and rats can get in tiny holes and will be hungrier in winter.
- Provide extra hay in their nesting boxes and coop for warmth at night, and if possible, offer them warm water to drink.
- Lay straw on the floor of their coop and run to prevent frostbitten feet.
If fireworks, roaring fires and tinsel cause your pet distress, purchase some special treats for them which may help to keep them calm. Always provide a safe place for any pet to hide away if they should feel the need.
As with the rest of the year, if you are concerned about your pets’ health, it is important to consult your local veterinary clinic.
For more information visit www.heathvets.com