With reports of the coldest winter for decades and record breaking snowfall on the way, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity is reminding dog owners not to forget the needs of their four-legged friends.
Dogs Trust has some helpful tips to help you keep your canines safe and warm and avoid potentially hazardous winter walks.
Dogs Trust chief executive, Clarissa Baldwin OBE, said: “With British Winter’s long nights and cold days, it is important to keep both you and your dog safe and warm when you are out walking. Dogs Trust has 18 Rehoming Centres across the UK and one in Dublin where all our canine carers work extra hard during the winter months providing blankets and heating to ensure all our hairy hounds are kept happy and healthy. We remind dog owners to follow the advice to make sure your dogs have a wonderful winter.”
Let your dog’s winter coat grow, and if you have a puppy, short-haired or old dog, buy him a sensible winter coat with high visibility.
Keep your dog on a lead if it is snowing very heavily. Snow can be disorientating and can affect a dog’s sense of smell so he can easily become lost.
Make sure your dog is microchipped and wearing an ID tag in case he does get lost.
Wipe your dog’s legs, feet and stomach when you come indoors after an icy or snowy walk as the grit from the roads can damage their feet.
Never leave your dog in a car during extreme weather, hot or cold.
Do not let your dog walk on frozen ponds- the ice may not be thick enough to take his weight.
If your dog does fall through the ice never be tempted to go in after them but encourage them to swim back to you.
Antifreeze is highly poisonous but tasty to dogs. Keep it well out of their reach and mop up any spills!
Reported road casualty statistics from the Department for Transport* for 2012 show that there were 2,241 pedestrians killed or seriously injured during the winter months, so take care when dog walking.
Consider wearing high visibility clothing yourself such as jackets, vests or reflective strips on your clothes so you can be easily seen by motorists. Work out a winter dog walking route which, in urban areas, includes both pavements and street lighting. Carry a torch or a head lamp which will help you be seen and also enable to you see to pick up your dog’s mess. Always make sure your dog is well trained and responsive to commands. For tips on training visit www.dogstrust.org.uk