As the winter conditions continue to frost over the UK, many people will be facing the cold and flu that comes with it. Many will be concerned for family members and may also grow concerned for the four legged members of their families.
Whether it’s just a small sniffle or a full blown flu, you may be worried about the risks that poses for your furry friend with many asking whether or not the sickness can be passed on to them.
With Met Office yellow warnings for snow and ice in place across the nation, the concern for pets has grown. Experts have revealed specific ways you can best protect your furry friend in these bitter conditions. Vets Now head of telehealth, Dave Leicester, said: “When the weather turns, pets and their owners need us more than ever, and we’re keen to prepare pet owners about the potential dangers of cold weather. Our veterinary teams up and down the country are working hard, making extra preparations for the continued forecasted cold snap across large parts of the UK.
“Snowfall and freezing temperatures can pose a serious threat to your pet. Whilst we are always here to give your pets the best possible care in the event of an emergency, we would like to help in any way we can to prevent these emergencies from ever happening in the first place.
“We’ve produced some advice to help you protect your pet and prevent unwanted illness or injury. It’s essential you’re aware of what to do when faced with a pet emergency, especially when it’s out of hours and your vet is closed.”
So, can your furry friends catch a cold from you? Here’s what you need to know this winter.
Can dogs catch colds from humans?
No, dogs cannot catch colds the same way humans do. Purina website revealed that while they cannot catch the cold virus that humans catch, they can get infections that create cold-like symptoms such as ‘sneezing and congestion’ but the virus is specific so you or your family won’t be able to catch the virus.
Can dogs get the flu?
Just like with the common cold, Dogs can’t get the same type of flu as humans, but they can get canine flu which has relatively similar symptoms to the human flu.
Purina confirmed this and said: “And while humans can’t get ill from dog flu, if you’ve been in contact with an infected dog, there is a possibility that you could pass it onto your dog too. Dog flu can live for a few minutes on your skin, but up to a day on your clothes. If you’re around an infected dog, make sure you change and wash your clothes before you see any other dogs.”
Tips to keep your pet safe this winter
If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet
Overnight is when temperatures begin to plummet. If your pet is outside overnight, they run the risk of hypothermia. Try and keep your pet in during the day as well if possible, and keep the house at a temperature of around 18C or more.
Go on shorter, more frequent walks
Aimed mainly for dogs, try and go on shorter, more frequent walks to lessen the chances of weather-associated health risks.
Wash and dry your pet’s feet following walks
Chemicals found in things like grit can be irritable to your pet’s pads. Especially if they have any small cracks or redness between the toes, so always wipe their paws with a cloth and warm water when you get home.
Clean up antifreeze
Antifreeze is poisonous to many animals and can pose a big risk. If you do spill any, clean it up as soon as you can as even small amounts can prove fatal.
Keep an eye out for cats
Cats outdoors are often looking for adventure, but over the colder months they will seek out warmth too. A warm vehicle engine seems like the ideal spot for freezing felines so make sure to check underneath a car before setting off.
Consider a little sweater
It’s a myth that pets are more resistant to colder weather because of their fur. Even long-haired pets are at risk in cold weather. Consider putting a dry sweater on your pet before going outside and always take spares in case they get wet.
Avoid icy ponds or lakes
Steer clear of water that has frozen over. There is no guarantee it will support the weight of your pet. If your dog or cat falls through ice it may be deadly.