In Cold Weather
Lots of animals struggle when it gets cold, but there are things you can do to ease the chill for them.
Most dogs have their own coats to keep them warm when outside, however there are circumstances where dog clothing can help. Some breeds – such as Yorkshire terriers and Dobermanns – have little fur on their bodies. Elderly or sick animals can also benefit from the extra protection dog coats provide. Don't forget outdoor pets - they need plenty of bedding and you should prepare to move their enclosures into a shed or garage for extra shelter.
Horses and ponies should also always have access to shelter and will need fresh water, a rug and extra food.
If you have a pond, check it every day to make sure it hasn't frozen. Place a saucepan of hot water on the surface to gently melt the ice, or use one of the products available from garden centres to maintain an air hole so any animals living in it can breathe. Never smash the ice as this could shock or even kill the fish.
Food can be scarce for garden birds in winter and they will really appreciate your help. Leave out grated cheese, pastry, stale cake, moist breadcrumbs, seeds, sultanas, biscuits, cooked rice and bacon rind.
They will also need plenty of fresh water for bathing and drinking – keep it fresh and ice-free. To reduce the risk of disease, bird tables, feeders and bird baths should be cleaned weekly.
Hedgehogs will be seeking suitable areas to hibernate between November and March – so keep aside a safe area in your garden with heaps of leaves, brambles and long grass. If you are having a bonfire please check it thoroughly before lighting to ensure no animals are sheltering inside.