Saturday April 21st 2018

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PDSA Warns Dog Owners: Keep Off The Ice!

As ice, heavy snow and freezing temperatures sweep the UK, leading veterinary charity, PDSA, is reminding dog owners about the dangers of dogs straying onto frozen ponds, lakes and canals.

PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Nicola Martin, says, “Unfortunately every winter there are terrible stories about pets, and owners, being seriously injured or killed after falling through ice, and this year is no different.  It is never safe to walk over frozen ice, or allow your pets to and our advice would be to keep dogs on a lead at all times during this bad weather.”

Nicola continues, “No matter how well trained your dog is, accidents can happen; even more so during bad weather and on dark nights. They can slip into frozen water or in front of skidding cars.  Keeping them on a lead while outside will help prevent such accidents from occurring.”

If a dog falls into freezing water, the plunging temperature will quickly bring on hypothermia, warns Nicola, “Seeing a pet struggling in cold water must be a terrifying experience for an owner. But we urge people not to try to rescue their pets alone. This could result in them making a bad situation even worse, putting their life, and that of others, at risk. If dogs are kept on a lead in these conditions it will help prevent this type of accident.”

PDSA’s advice for dog walkers in freezing conditions:

  • Always keep dogs on a lead while out walking in bad weather.
  • Pets should not be outside in the cold weather for long periods. Dogs that are very old or young, or those suffering from health problems, are less able to regulate their body temperature.
  • Avoid walking near frozen water where possible.
  • If a dog falls through the ice, owners should seek help and should not attempt to rescue their pet alone.
  • During extreme weather, owners should take dogs for shorter walks more often. If they get wet towel them dry as soon as you get home.
  • Dogs with fine hair (such as Greyhounds) are more susceptible to the cold and should wear a suitable dog coat while outside.
  • Protect your pet’s feet from ice, grit and road salt by keeping the hair between their toes trimmed, and always dry their feet after they’ve been outside.  Special boots are available for dogs with particularly sensitive feet.

For free information on keeping pets safe and happy this winter visit

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