As temperatures plunge across the UK, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has issued a warning to animal owners to take measures to protect pets from a range of winter hazards which could lead to serious illness.
BVA has issued top tips to help pet owners keep their dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and other companion animals warm and safe over the winter months.
Sharing the latest forecast, Met Office chief meteorologist Steve Willington said: ““It is staying cold with daytime temperatures remaining only a few degrees above freezing in many places over the coming days and overnight temperatures dropping to -minus 10 degrees Celsius or lower in isolated spots.
“Although below average, these temperatures are not that unusual for this time of year but nevertheless, can be impactful for people and their pets. We have a number of snow and ice warnings in place at the moment.”
BVA senior vice president Justine Shotton said: “When it’s cold for us, it’s cold for our pets, which is why it’s important to take extra precautions to keep them safe and warm.
“During the coldest months, dogs and cats need easy access to shelter and a cosy den, and while dogs will still need exercise, owners should take precautions to protect them from the cold. Antifreeze is a huge hazard for cats, so contact your vet immediately if you see signs of poisoning such as vomiting, depression, lack of coordination, seizures and difficulty breathing.
“Rabbits and guinea pigs are also vulnerable to hypothermia despite their warm coats, so owners should take steps to ensure any outdoor hutches are well protected from the snow, cold draughts and winter rain.”