PET owners in Bracknell and Wokingham are being advised to take simple steps to protect their animals during the cold weather.

As temperatures are set to plunge to lows of -15C, and warning of 30cm of snow across some areas of the UK, retailer Pets at Home has issued advice of how to keep your furry friends safe and warm.

Dr. Maeve Moorcroft, Head of Pets at Pets at Home, said: “During colder periods, exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer.

“Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, Pets at Home have provided advice for UK pet owners experiencing the wrath of the Beast from the East.”

Pets at Home’s top tips are as follows:

1. Towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside – Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home warm and towel dry your pooch, paying special attention to their feet and in-between their toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads to significantly reduce the chance of infection.

2. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter – A longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. 

3. Bathe your pets as little as possible – Washing too often can remove essential oils from your pet and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. 

4. Make sure they have a warm place to sleep – At night, temperatures will drop to a daily low so make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep away from draughts.

5. If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet – Never leave your pet outdoors unattended in the cold weather, they may start to show signs of hypothermia such as shivering and disorientation.

6. Take extra caution when using anti-freeze – Ethylene glycol, a chemical usually found in antifreeze, is and potentially fatal when ingested by pets. Even small amounts can be fatally toxic to the body's organs, including the brain, kidneys and liver. Its “sweet” taste makes it appealing to cats. Therefore, take extra caution when using the chemical and ensure it doesn’t spill onto the ground from the car or left uncapped after use.

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