Keep pets in Redditch warm and dry - RSPCA issue advice as the winter weather sweeps in - The Redditch Standard

Keep pets in Redditch warm and dry - RSPCA issue advice as the winter weather sweeps in

Redditch Editorial 11th Dec, 2017   0

PET owners in Redditch are reminded to take time to keep their animals safe and warm as freezing temperatures, more rain, and snow sweep in

As temperatures drop, the RSPCA advises keeping a closer eye on outdoor pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs. If the temperature starts to reach freezing, owners may consider moving hutches inside or into an outhouse, shed or unused garage.

Guinea pigs should be housed indoors when temperatures are below 15 degrees centigrade.

Animals that are left outside should be given lots of extra bedding, such as dust-free hay and protected from damp and wet weather. Hutches should be raised off the ground by at least four inches and placed in a sheltered position, facing away from wind and rain.

If rabbits or guinea pigs gets wet, rub them dry with a towel and make sure they have plenty of warm bedding.

Pet birds in aviaries, coops, or runs, should also be protected from the cold weather, with plenty of additional dry, warm bedding such as straw and have enclosures covered to keep the wind and rain out. Birds will eat more to keep warm in cold conditions so ensure they always have access to plenty of food and fresh water, ensuring water does not freeze over.

Cats should have constant access to the house or to a warm, inside area such as an outbuilding or barn with appropriate heating. They should also have a warm, dry sleeping area, away from draughts.

Dogs also need a little extra care when the weather is cold, and elderly or sick dogs can benefit from wearing a special coat or jumper.

Make sure dogs can still behave normally, for example, go to the toilet easily and that it is a good and comfortable fit.

When walking dogs in the dark, wear reflective clothing and think about a reflective collar or light for his collar to keep you both safe.

Keep your pet dog away from frozen ponds, lakes or rivers which can pose a danger, and make sure their paws don’t get impacted with snow.

When it comes to ponds and bird baths, make sure the surface is not entirely frozen as poisonous gasses can build up under the ice.

Don’t break the ice as this can harm the fish, but carefully 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 either, as this can also harm or kill any fish living there, and never try to use antifreeze or salt to thaw frozen ponds or birdbaths as this is highly toxic to all animals.

Horses and livestock require extra time and care in the colder, winter months too.

Ensure they have adequate shelter to escape adverse weather and be prepared to provide extra feed and good quality long fibre, as grass is often sparse. It is also important to check water troughs and buckets are clear of ice.

Owners should use waterproof rugs to give their horses added protection from the cold and wet weather.

If it is particularly wet and muddy, it is important to regularly check hooves, for problems such as abscesses and loose shoes, and legs, for any signs of mud fever. Owners should ensure horses have access to a dry resting area, out of the mud.

When riding in the winter, beware of getting your horse sweated up as they can easily catch a chill. Always wear reflective clothing when riding on the roads.

Wild birds can struggle to find food during the winter months so, to help them stay strong over this period, householders can leave out extra food for them.

Seeds and grains, like oats and sunflower seeds; cooked pasta or rice; boiled potatoes, cheese, or uncooked unsalted bacon rind; raisins and sultanas; net-free fat or suet balls; apples, pears and soft fruits; insects such as mealworms or waxworms all make good snacks. Only feed peanuts if unsalted, fresh and sold for human consumption, and make sure to either chop them up or put them out in mesh feeders.

Anyone who sees an animal outside in the cold that looks like it is suffering, take a note of the location, the time and date and call the RSPCA on the emergency line 0300 1234 999.

This year the RSPCA is asking people to show some kindness at Christmas. To support its campaign, please visit

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