Here is our helpful guide and how to protect your pet from winter dangers.

Road salt

When spread to prevent icy roads, salt can cause irritation, pain and burns on your pet’s feet. Take care when walking your dog after salt has been spread; try to stick to grassy areas off the roads and pavements and rinse your dog’s feet after walks.

High rivers/thin ice

Be very careful around fast flowing rivers with your dogs and keep them on the lead when close to prevent them getting swept away or getting into trouble. Upsetting as it may be if your pet gets into trouble with a fast-flowing river, DO NOT try to jump in after them to save them as you yourself could end up at risk of drowning. Further to this, thin ice on lakes can also be a risk – do not let your dog play on iced over lakes, and if they do fall in, do not try to climb over the ice to rescue them as you could be in grave danger on the thin ice.


This is a disease spread mainly via rat urine which can then accumulate in wet areas through water run-off such as flood waters. If your dog is fully vaccinated, they should be protected against this disease. If their vaccines are out of date, or you have opted not to vaccinate your dog, they may be at risk of contracting leptospirosis. In dogs, leptospirosis causes liver and kidney failure and is incredibly serious. This disease is also zoonotic, meaning that it can be transmitted to humans. We strongly recommend yearly vaccines to protect against this disease, but in the absence of vaccines, you must be careful to avoid areas where rodents may reside, as well as flood waters and wet areas.

Spring bulbs

Those of you with green fingers may be planting your spring bulbs this winter. These bulbs are toxic to cats and dogs so make sure that they are not available to your pets to play with or eat.

Matted fur

Remember that mud and even snow can cause matting of pets’ hair which can be not only uncomfortable but also painful as it strains the skin and can result in skin infections. It’s important to brush your pet’s hair right down to the skin and not just the surface hairs, as the coat can look smooth on the surface but be matted underneath. Pay particular attention to the armpits, tummy and around the tail/back legs. Contact the practice if you are concerned about matts on your pet.


Christmas is a joyous time of year but also a dangerous time for your pet!

  • Take care with Christmas lights that can be tempting for naughty pets to chew or play with but can cause shocks or electrocution. Furthermore, if ingested, Christmas lights and even ribbons from wrapping can cause a linear foreign body which can be incredibly serious, as it results in the intestines getting bunched up with little blood supply. Surgery is usually required to resolve ingested foreign bodies.
  • Raisin ingestion – Grapes, raisins and currents can be incredibly toxic to dogs and are often found in Christmas cakes and puddings as well as mince pies. Even tiny amounts can cause kidney failure if ingested. Take great care over Christmas to keep all these goodies away from your dog.
  • Chocolate – Chocolate is toxic to dogs and can cause seizures. Make sure your advent calendars and chocolate treats are well out of reach. Chocolates from the Christmas tree are a particular favourite for thieving dogs!
Labrador in front of Christmas tree