Pet care tips for autumn and winter

2015-11-19 02:11:00

Tips to help keep your cat or dog safe this winter

Photo of Woody the Border Terrier

From cosy nights at home to cool walks in the park, trouble could lurk wherever you and your pet may be. Good job our veterinary experts are on hand to provide some top advice in keeping your pets protected.

Toxicities

You may have an infestation of rodents during the colder months and decide to use rodenticides to keep them at bay. These poisons can be fatal to pets so ensure they are kept away from probing paws.

A car becomes more essential than ever during the winter, so servicing your motor with antifreeze is a priority for you but is dangerous and life-threatening to pets. Urgent veterinary assistance is needed if your pet consumes ANY antifreeze. Make sure bottle tops are fastened tightly to avoid any leakage.

Intruders and infections

Demodex canis is a little mite that lives in hair follicles and is present on most healthy dogs, but if they exist in high numbers they can cause hair loss, skin inflammation and skin lesions. It can affect all of your pet’s body or just certain areas, creating a spectacled appearance. It can also affect cats, but is much less common and involves a different mite species. If your pet displays these skin symptoms contact your vet.
Ringworm is a contagious skin condition which animals can be exposed to from contact with other infected animals or fomites. The bad news is that you are also at risk of contracting ringworm yourself. It can be irritating for your pets, causing hair loss and scaly lesions on the skin. Your pet can develop some immune resistance to the condition and small lesions may heal without treatment, but more extensive infections will require veterinary treatment.

Common injuries

Cats tend to enjoy their independence, but with the darker nights and changing climate they can lose their bearings. Owners often fit their cat with a collar to distinguish them from strays, and make them more visible. Trouble arises when they become tangled and caught in their collars. Collar injuries are frequently seen by vets and healing can be problematic. You can buy good quality collars with safety features, but always check that the collar is correctly fitted to avoid any serious injuries.

We re sorry to break the news but vets have recommended that you don’t use sticks to play fetch with your dog. Stick injuries are common, smaller sticks can become lodged across the roof of your dog’s mouth. If your dog is carrying a stick and runs on to it, then it can become impaled in the delicate soft tissues at the back of their mouth. This can cause a deep contaminated penetrating wound, and splinters of wood can become embedded within sensitive tissues. To avoid an expensive visit to the vet, use a soft ball or toy when playing fetch with your dog.

Unfortunately, road traffic accidents involving pets are more prevalent over the wintery months, due to poor driving conditions and short day light hours. Encourage your cat to stay indoors at night and ensure your dog is under control when walking near roads. Our consultants recommend wearing Hi-Viz clothing and using a flashing LED light on your dog’s collar in low light conditions.

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