So far, this winter has been less severe than last year but, being mid January, there is still plenty of opportunity for cold weather to bite.

The winter weather has us all reaching for hats and gloves, and our animals also need a little extra protection from the cold. Just a few extra precautions at this time of year can help keep furry friends safe and warm.

As the temperature drops our winter jumpers may not be enough to keep out the cold and the same goes for our furry-coated friends. Now is a good time to check that both indoor and outdoor animals have everything they need to comfortably weather the cold.

Short-haired dog breeds may need additional clothing when out for walks and all owners should watch out for signs of excessive cold such as lifting up paws, shivering, whining or stopping. Keep your dog on a lead near frozen lakes and ponds and remember to check their feet for ice balls and pavement salt after walks as these can cause irritation to paw pads.

Cats should always have access to a warm safe space in colder weather. We have recently seen two cats who have climbed into engines of recently parked cars to keep warm so remember to tap the bonnet and warn them before setting off again.

Outdoor pets are generally resilient but may also need a little extra attention. Consider a rug to cover your guinea pig or rabbit hutch and add a little extra food to their bowl as they burn more calories when cold. Water bottles need to be checked regularly for freezing.

Horses’ coats vary in thickness but those with fine coats may appreciate a rug or rain cover. Ensure they have access to food and that water has not iced over.

Antifreeze and screen wash can be lethal if ingested and animals can often find them sweet-tasting and attractive so never leave spills or open containers. The active ingredient in antifreeze, propylene glycol, forms crystals in the kidneys and causes permanent damage to the sensitive filtration apparatus within the kidney. Remember that water drained from radiators in cars can kill.