As January continues its grip, it is important to know how to look out for your pets ’ needs and keep them warm.
Many will need extra bedding and feeding, while others literally need to be brought in from the cold.
Dr Samantha Gaines, RSPCA animal welfare expert, said: “Make sure your cat has constant access to the house or to a warm, inside area.
“And ensure their sleeping area is warm, dry and away from draughts.
“Don’t force your pooch to go out if he doesn’t like the rain or cold – but give them lots of opportunities to go to the toilet, sniff and explore, and play.”
And when you do venture out, be aware of the extra hazards winter brings. Dr Gaines adds: “Have fun but stay away from any frozen ponds, lakes or rivers which can be very dangerous.
“Take care that your dog’s paws don’t get impacted with ice if it snows again this winter, and they don’t get grit stuck between their toes – both can be painful.”
Elderly, sick or thin-coated dogs could also benefit from a dog coat or jumper.
Smaller animals also need special attention during winter. It is best to move pets, including rabbits and guinea pigs, inside when it is cold.
If they stay outside, make sure their home is protected from adverse weather and they have lots of extra bedding.
Protect pet birds in aviaries, coops or runs by using covers to keep the wind and rain out.
“If you have a fish pond check it every day to make sure the surface is not entirely frozen, as poisonous gases can build up under the ice,” added Dr Gaines.
“Make sure horses and livestock have adequate shelter to escape adverse weather and use waterproof rugs for horses.
“Provide extra feed, keep water buckets clear of ice and keep an eye on hooves if it’s wet and muddy.”