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30th November 2010

Winter weather tips to keep your pet safe

With parts of the UK being hit with historical low temperatures, and with more snow and ice on the way, it's worth sparing a thought for our furry friends.

The early arrival of winter poses serious risks to our beloved pets, and pet owners are encouraged to be extra vigilant in the freezing weather.

Petplan's Vet of the Year, Ben Jones, believes that our pets are potentially in more danger in the cold weather, and being more aware can help prevent potential tragedies.

Ben's top tips this winter are:

  • If you can't get out with your dog because of the cold weather, then try to ensure you have plenty of toys, especially activity types, to keep them active.
  • If the pavements are gritted, check your dog’s paws to make sure they aren’t starting to hurt. Grit can be extremely irritating to footpads, even drying them to a point where paws split open and bleed. Dogs will also lick off road salt and this can cause stomach problems.
  • Don't allow pets on frozen ponds/canals for obvious reasons.
  • Try to ensure that all aged/debilitated animals do not get cold overnight, by providing extra warm blankets and bedding.
  • Animals with arthritis are at greater risk and may suffer more in the cold. Keep them warm at all times.
  • Greater care should be taken if you have outside water bowls. Make sure they are not frozen after leaving them for a long period of time.
  • For rabbits make sure you have made all hutches draught-proof with plenty of warm bedding.
  • Keep your pets off areas where there is ice just like us it’s easy for them to slip and injure themselves.
  • Most brands of anti-freeze contain ethylene glycol which tempts pets with its sweet smell and appealing taste. Unfortunately, it is also extremely poisonous. Dangers occur from spillages when topping up the car, bottles being left open or with loose caps that could be tipped over and lapped up.

Dog owner, Helen Stone from Reading, agrees that it is important for owners to take extra care of their pets in the cold weather as she has first hand experience of the dangers. When George, her pet poodle, was outside for some air and a run-around the ten year old poodle slipped on ice and crashed into a set of French doors. George was immediately admitted to hospital for internal bleeding and had to undergo surgery to repair a snapped spinal cord and have a disc removed from his spine.

Helen said, "George spent three weeks in hospital and has regular visits from a physiotherapist to help him learn to walk again. I couldn't believe how badly he had been hurt just from a slip in the garden. Thank goodness George was insured otherwise I'm not sure George's recovery would have been possible, and he may not have survived. It was very scary."

Petplan, the UK's favourite insurer, has so far paid out over £5,600 to help get George back to full health.

For more information about taking out a policy to get your pet covered, visit www.petplan.co.uk

Notes to editors

Petplan is the largest pet insurance provider in the world, offering comprehensive lifetime pet insurance cover for dogs, cats and rabbits.

Established more than 30 years ago, it is part of Allianz Insurance, one of the largest general insurers in the UK.

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