Helping your pets in cold weather

Dog Coats & beds
Don’t be too quick to wrap your dog up, coats are not always needed - they have their own coat after all! But puppies, older dogs and smaller toy breeds may need it. Signs that a coat is a good idea: if your dog is shivering, trying to hide in sheltered areas or behind your legs, with their tail tucked under and with very cold ears and body.

Make sure it doesn’t restrict movement and fits along the whole body. You are welcome to bring your dog in for a fitting for coats in our Pet Shop, prices start from £24.99 for a medium-sized dog.

Give beds plenty of blankets and position away from drafts. Make sure fires have fire guards and that bedding does not touch.

Puddle drinkers
Afterfreeze spilt from people topping up their cars is toxic to cats and dogs. Take care with your own bottles – clear up spillages completely, keep them in sealed containers away from pets – cats may even seek out the liquid because of its sweet smell. You can switch to a brand of antifreeze that contains propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol. Although it's safer because it is more bitter, be aware that it is still toxic.

Don't allow your dog to drink from car park and road puddles. If you see your cat or dog acting as if drunk (uncoordinated, drowsy, groggy, disorientated) take them to a vet hospital immediately as the first few hours are critical.

Cat beds
Make sure cats have a cosy hideaway - radiator beds (that hang like a hammock over a radiator), donut or igloo beds are particularly warm. Place them away from drafts. If your cats are window-watchers then pad a shelf near to the window so they can sit warmly and still enjoy their ‘patrol’. We have lots of pretty hand-knitted blankets that you can add to beds.

Litter trays
Some cats may need an indoor litter tray if they are reluctant to go out.

Small pets & hutches
Give small pets extra bedding (hay, straw and newspaper as appropriate, not blankets as they might chew and swallow it).

For rabbits, it is the drafts and damp that affect them most. You can buy thermal wraps for outdoor hutches, and you should move the whole hutch to a more sheltered area or into a garage or outhouse or conservatory. Remember rabbits still need daily exercise and access to runs.