Cool tips for winter
As temperatures fall and winter sets in spare a thought for the animals living out in the cold. Simple steps can easily help prevent these animals suffering in the harsher weather.
This time of year birds find it more difficult to find food so kitchen leftovers like stale cake, grated cheese, pastry, cooked rice, moist breadcrumbs, fat from chops and bacon rind, make tasty treats.
They also need plenty of fresh water to drink and bathe in. Bird baths, bird tables and other food holders must be kept clean, cutting the risk of disease. Scrub them out with a mild disinfectant solution and rinse well with clean water at least once a week
Larger birds living in local parks, such as swans and geese, may also need extra food in winter. They can be fed finely-chopped greens such as lettuce, cabbage and spinach, moist brown bread and soaked corn.
Ponds need to be checked daily because toxic gases can build up under the ice killing fish and hibernating frogs. If the top freezes over, place a saucepan of hot water on the ice to gently melt it. Never tip boiling water directly onto the surface or try to break it with a hammer as this can kill the fish.
Take extra care when out with your dog as icy ponds and lakes may give way under their weight. Keep an eye on your pet's paws when out in the snow as they can become impacted with ice, which can be painful.
Pets that live outside, such as guinea pigs and rabbits, will need more bedding and should be placed in a shed or garage for warmth. Ponies and horses must have access to shelter and fresh water at all times, extra food and a rug.
If you are going away, remember to make proper arrangements for your pets. Reliable kennels and catteries ensure your pet receives expert care and attention while you are away. Your vet may know somewhere reputable if you have not used one before. If you are only going away for a short time you could ask a reliable neighbour, friend or relative to look after your animal.