During the freezing winter months, there are plenty of ways to keep ourselves warm and toasty, but what about for our pets? Read our top tips below to find out how you can help to make sure they stay warm and comfortable in cold weather.


- When walking, ensure your dog is kept on a secure lead at all times. Also make sure that they are wearing a collar with an up-to-date ID tag, and that they are microchipped.

- Buy a coat or jumper for your dog. Dogs that are smaller, thinner-coated, young or elderly, or have a medical condition are all more susceptible to hypothermia. This should be worn when out on walks (they may overheat if it is worn inside).

- To increase the visibility of your dog when out on walks, get them a reflective lead, harness and/or collar.

- Take your walks in well-lit areas to keep the dangers in sight, like patches of ice that could cause you or your pup to slip.

- Be aware that antifreeze and rock salt can be toxic to pets and their paws. You could try to train your dog to wear protective booties, otherwise thoroughly wash their paws after every walk.

- Avoid traversing any frozen lakes or ponds as the situation can become deadly if the ice breaks. Slippery ice can also be painful to sensitive paws, and may cause them to slip.

- Keep a constant eye on your dog and act immediately if they are displaying any signs of discomfort whilst outside. Smaller dogs can be picked up and wrapped in a blanket; for larger dogs, keep wiping their paws until you get home.

- Take short, frequent walks and don’t stray too far from home. Check the weather forecast before venturing outdoors.

- Know the signs of hypothermia.



- Make sure your cat has constant access to a warm environment, whether this is inside your home or an outdoor shelter.

- Remember to check garages and any other outdoor buildings before locking them up to ensure a cat hasn’t slipped inside.

- Try to encourage your cat to stay indoors as much as possible during periods of cold weather. Rock salt is toxic to cats’ paws and you can’t guarantee that they won’t try to lick it off whilst they are out.

- If they do go outside, dry them off and wash their paws after every adventure. Consider a reflective collar as weather conditions can make it harder for drivers to see animals on the road.

- Provide warm beds and blankets in a draught-free area.

- Before starting a car journey, check for any cats that may have decided to take shelter – under your car, under the bonnet, and on top of tyres.

- Be aware of antifreeze poisoning.


Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

- Outdoor pets need extra bedding that they can burrow in during the colder months, like dust-free hay.

- Use blankets or covers to help insulate hutches and keep homes protected from the bad weather. Remember to make sure they are still well-ventilated.

- Raise enclosures at least four inches off the ground and place them in a sheltered position, facing away from wind and rain.

- As the temperature drops, you could move their enclosure into a shed or unused garage.

- Check the cleanliness of their hutch daily as wet bedding will freeze overnight and can lead to rabbits becoming ill.

- Ensure rabbits have access to clean, fresh water at all times and constantly check that it hasn’t frozen over.


Birds in Aviaries, Coops or Runs

- Protect pet birds kept outside from cold weather by giving them plenty of extra dry, warm bedding like straw.

- Cover their enclosures to keep the wind and rain out.

- Ensure birds always have access to plenty of food as they will eat more to keep warm in cold conditions.

- Make sure they always have access to clean, fresh water and that it hasn’t frozen over.



- If you have a fishpond in your garden, check the surface every day as poisonous gases can build up underneath ice.

- Don’t break the ice as this can harm any life underneath. Instead, carefully place a saucepan of hot water on the surface to gently melt a hole in the ice.


Horses and Ponies

- Regularly check their hooves for problems such as abscesses and loose shoes.

- Ensure horses have constant access to shelter and a dry resting area, out of the mud.

- Make sure they always have access to clean, fresh water. Check that water troughs and buckets haven’t frozen over and are clear of ice.

- Provide extra feed and good quality long fibre as grass is often sparse.

- Always wear reflective clothing when riding on the roads.