Winter Advice for Looking After PetsKeith
If you have a pond, make sure you check every day for ice forming. Toxic gases can build up in the water of a frozen pond. These may kill fish or frogs that are hibernating or living at the bottom.
If a pond freezes over, place a saucepan of hot water on the surface to gently melt a hole in the ice. Never tip boiling water straight onto the pond or break the ice with force, as this can harm or even kill any fish living there.
Dog owners must keep their pets well away from ponds and lakes that are iced over. Thin ice may break under a dog’s weight. Also watch out for dogs’ paws becoming clogged with snow, which can cause discomfort.
Look after the wildlife in your garden. In winter, birds may have difficulty finding normal food. It can be frozen or buried in deep snow. An extra titbit from your kitchen will help to keep them going.
Extra special care for your pets
Keep a close eye on outdoor pets, such as guinea pigs and rabbits. Put extra bedding in their home to keep them warm.and be prepared to move them into a shed or unused garage for extra shelter whilst the weather is cold. Alternatively move them out of direct wind and perhaps cover the whole hutch in an old carpet or use tarpaulin.
Dont house small animals or birds in greenhouses due to the extreme changes in temperature that can occur. Caution must be taken if small animals or birds are housed in conservatories – they must be a suitable temperature (i.e. heating may be required) in the winter and sufficiently cool and well ventilated in the summer.
Try to maintain a regular routine with your dog. You may not feel like taking your dog for a walk on dark wintry evenings, but the exercise will keep your pet happy and healthy and will probably do the same for you!
Always wear reflective clothing to make yourself visible when walking pets near roads in the dark. And don’t forget your pets too – fit your dog with a reflective collar or coat. better to be safe for the cost of a few pounds.
If horses and ponies are kept outside during the winter they must have access to shelter at all times. They also need a constant supply of fresh water (check that ice hasn’t formed on it) and some horses my need a rug to protect them against the cold and wet. Extra food will be needed too, as winter grazing provides very little nourishment.