Pets in peril as big freeze continues

Pets and their owners face serious dangers over coming days as the continuing cold snap makes normal walking and playing activities especially hazardous, according to leading veterinary charity the PDSA.

Owners are urged to prevent dogs straying onto frozen ponds or canals, however safe looking: “The risk of falling through the ice is a very real danger that can lead to hypothermia or even drowning,” said PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Elaine Pendlebury.

Across the UK, the current cold snap has sadly already claimed some canine casualties.

There have been reports of owners risking their lives - a man in Birmingham suffered from hypothermia after jumping into a frozen lake to rescue his dog. “Snow and ice may be more dangerous for dogs than fireworks,” continued Elaine.

“As recent incidents have proved, the severe weather that we are currently experiencing can be extremely dangerous.

Owners need to be particularly vigilant to ensure their dogs are safe and that they do not put themselves in danger if their dog does fall into ice.”

Dangers of dogs falling through ice:

A combination of shock and extremely cold water will quickly bring on hypothermia, where the body loses heat faster than it can replace it.

The body temperature falls quickly as the cold water saturates the dog’s fur and chills the skin.

Owners should keep dogs on a lead near icy water and never try to rescue them if they fall through the ice as an attempted rescue on thin ice can make a bad situation even worse.

If a dog falls through the ice, owners should seek help before becoming victims themselves.

When out walking, owners are advised to carry a small rubber ring with a rope attached to it so if their dog does get into trouble they can throw the ring to the dog to catch it in its mouth. This could save a dog’s life.