With the winter in full swing, there are a few additional things to consider for your pet’s health and safety.
Cats and dogs
As it is cold, your pet may be less interested in going outside for exercise. Therefore, care should be taken to ensure that they do not gain weight. If necessary, their daily ration of food should be reduced slightly to compensate for the reduced level of activity.
If your pet suffers from arthritis, you may notice that they are stiffer in the cold weather. Ensure that they warm up gently before any vigorous exercise to help manage their condition in the colder weather.
Check your pet’s paws, nose and ears after going outside to ensure no snow is stuck in between the pads or on their skin. Pets can get frostbite injuries if their skin is exposed to ice for even a short period and this will result in the skin looking red, grey or white and it may peel.
If possible, do NOT use antifreeze containing ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol is extremely toxic to dogs and cats and causes kidney failure within a couple of hours of ingestion. As it tastes sweet, it is quite appealing to your pet. It is also colourless, so many animals ingest it without knowing. It can be fatal if not treated immediately so if you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze then contact your vet immediately. The signs to look out for are: depression, ataxia (lack of coordination, “looking drunk”), changes in drinking and urinating habits, vomiting, inappetence, breathing fast, salivating excessively, seizures and, sadly, sudden death. If you must use it, keep bottles of antifreeze in areas pets can’t get to, and make sure to keep your animals away from antifreeze if it spills outside. If they do ingest antifreeze, call us at Farthings Vets immediately.
In cold weather, many road/pavement surfaces are covered in rock salt. However, rock salt can cause damage to your pet’s paws and mouth if ingested. Signs to look out for include: excessive salivation and drinking, sore paws and dehydration. After going outside, ensure to wash your pet’s paws with warm soapy water as soon as they get indoors.
If your pet has thin skin or a thin coat then they may need insulation when outside to prevent hypothermia. Consider buying your pet a coat to prevent them getting too cold on a walk. However, care should be taken to ensure that they do not overheat during exercise if wearing a coat!
If you keep your rabbit or guinea pig outside, it is important to ensure that they are warm enough. If possible, try to move them inside, either into your house or a garage. If it is not possible to move them indoors then ensure to provide them with shelter from draught and also plenty of bedding so that they can burrow to keep warm.
Also, ensure that their fresh water is not frozen. This may require providing them with fresh water twice a day, especially in the morning after a cold night.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of the information above then please do not hesitate to contact us at Farthings Vets on 01403 252900.