General Tips for Your Pets
Keep pets inside as much as you can when the mercury drops. If you must leave your pet outside, provide appropriate shelter against the wind, thick bedding and nonfreezing water.
Depending on their size, age, health and thickness of their fur, some animals are more vulnerable to cold than others.
No pets should stay outside for unlimited amounts of time in extremely cold weather.
Pets that go outside can accumulate rock salt, ice and chemical ice melts in their foot pads. To keep pads from getting chapped and raw, wipe their feet with a washcloth when pets come inside.
Cats will curl up against almost anything to stay warm-including car engines. Before you start your engine, check beneath the hood or make a lot of noise by honking the horn or rapping on the hood.
If you light a fire or plug in a space heater, keep it safely out of range of tails and paws. Pets can burn themselves or knock a heat source over, endangering the entire household.
Be particularly gentle with elderly and arthritic pets during the winter. The cold can leave their joints extremely stiff and tender and they may become more awkward than usual. Consider modifying their environment to make it easier for them to get around.
Frostbite and hypothermia are dangerous possibilities in the winter. Frostbite happens when the ears, paws or tail get cold enough that ice crystals form in the tissue and cause damage. If you suspect frostbite, bring your pet into a warm environment immediately, soak the extremities in warm water for about 20 minutes, and visit the veterinarian.
Hypothermia, or body temperature that is below normal, occurs when animals are overexposed to cold temperatures.
Symptoms can range from shivering and lethargy in mild cases to stiff muscles, low heart and breathing rates, and unresponsiveness. If you notice these symptoms, warm your pet and seek care immediately.
When you're outside with your pets during the winter, watch them for signs of discomfort. If they whine, shiver, seem anxious, slow down or stop moving, or start to look for warm places to burrow, they need to be taken inside.
Avoid poisonous holiday plants: Poinsettias, mistletoe, ivy and holly berries (which can be fatal).
Pets are not garbage disposals for the leftovers. Feed your pet before the festivities begin. Poultry bones can splinter and cause blockage. Chocolate is poisonous. Sudden changes in diet even for one meal can give your pet stomach pain and diarrhea, particularly for older animals.
Crowds of people can frighten your pets. If you plan to entertain, you should plan ahead on your pets behalf. Make sure they have a "safe haven" were they can retreat.
A Christmas tree should stand in a flat wide base. Cats often see trees as great climbing posts. If your feline shows an interest in this activity, decorate the tree with animal safe items such as pine cones and wood ornaments. Tinsel and popcorn strands can be harmful to pets and glass balls can shatter in your pets mouth.
If you are using extension cords for your lights, ensure that your pet does not chew these cords. Use plastic tubing around the cords to prevent shock.
Take the proper precautions and your pet will enjoy the holidays as much as you do!
While You Are Away...
Use timers on interior and exterior lights.
Don't stop your mail, newspapers. Let us bring it in for you!
Inform your neighbors that a pet sitter will be visiting your home.
Let the sitter know if anyone else may be stopping by your house.
Have the sitter alternate the blinds and lights in your home.
Don't hide your key outside.
Don't discuss your absence in public places.
Outdoor rabbits and guineas:
Make sure the hutch is in a sheltered position (eg against a fence or wall) and protected as much as possible from the wind
Use PLENTY of hay to keep them cosy and warm
Pin bubble wrap or a thin sheet of plastic across the wire bit of the cage (leaving a space for the
water bottle). It's a cheap way to offer extra insulation and give them their own double glazing
Cover hutches up at nightime with blankets/ even old carpet
Check water bottles haven't frozen up