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Protect Pets from the Beast

The ‘Beast from the East’ has Arrived!!  Don’t Freeze Your Pets!! 

The cold weather has arrived in the United Kingdom, despite some small signs of early spring last week. Media has named this weather front “the beast from the east” and it is believed to plummet our temperatures into subzero conditions. The Siberian breeze is set to drop our temperatures as low as -5°C and in some areas as low as -10°C. Some areas may get blankets of snow and some areas will just get the freezing temperatures, alongside the very cold Siberian wind.

It is important to keep ourselves warm by staying indoors, cranking the heating up, lighting the stoves or fires, and wrapping up warm if we do intend to hit the outdoors. So, what about our outdoor pets? Can they be affected by this drop in temperature? The answer is yes, of course they can. Pets, although coated in a layer of fluffy fur, can be affected by the cold weather and it is vital that owners are aware of this.

So, which pets are affected? 

Any pet which spends its time outdoors, particularly at nights or for long periods of time, can be affected. These may include:

  • Outdoor dogs
  • Rabbits 
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Horses
  • Cats
  • Birds in outdoor aviaries

These freezing temperatures can not only cause severe health issues such as frostbite and hypothermia, but can also kill our pets. The lives of some pets have already been taken by the beast from the east. Temperatures drop more at nights and even if you have a sheltered kennel for a dog, or insulated hutch for rabbit, it is still too cold. Housing keeps them sheltered from wind, rain and extreme sun, however it cannot protect them from the freezing temperatures.

The initial signs of hypothermia in pets include:

  • Weakness
  • Low body temperature
  • Shivering 
  • Absence of mental alertness
  • Signs of moderate hypothermia include:
  • Shallow and slow breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Stiff muscles
  • Mentally unresponsive

Signs of severe hypothermia include:

  • Very low heartbeat, or even inaudible heartbeat
  • Dyspnea, i.e. difficulty breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Coma  

If you have a pet, or any animal, which shows any of these signs then call a vet straight away. Do not try and warm the animal up quickly as this can be detrimental to the animal.
So, with these risks, it is important to bring your pets in at nights. Outdoor dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs should all be brought into the house at nights. Do not risk leaving them outside in the cold. Of course, larger species like horses cannot be brought into your house, however they can be placed in a stable which is well insulated, and well bedded with appropriate bedding. Even keeping an insulated jacket on them at night can help.

So, bring in your pets inside and to everyone, stay safe and warm.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. If so, then you may enjoy some of our Pet Care courses we offer at ACS Distance Education.

We also have available a range of academic eBooks on the subject of animals and our fully automated 20 hour short courses - available for you to start at any time.

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