Dogs Trust Evesham has issued a warning to pets ahead of cold wintry weather.

As the Met Office has issued weather warnings across the UK as an Arctic blast hits, bringing snow and ice in some areas.

While many dogs like to swim in water that they find when out and about on a walk, their usual swimming spot might be frozen over as temperatures drop.

Dog owners should make sure they don’t allow their pets to run on this ice as it could be dangerous for both themselves and their dogs.

The ice might not be thick enough to take your dog’s weight and they could end up falling through it and into the freezing water underneath.

What should you do if your dog falls through ice?

Dogs Trust Evesham strongly advises that pet owners don’t follow their dogs and go in after them.

Despite the fact your natural instinct might suggest to jump in the water to save them, you should avoid doing so because cold water shock can be fatal for people.

It can cause heart attacks even for those who are relatively young and healthy.

Struggling in water can mean a person involuntarily gasps and panics due to the sudden immersion in cold water, increasing the chance of inhaling water directly into the lungs. 

The charity says you could also inadvertently put your dog at more risk as anyone who may be able to help, such as the fire service, will prioritise your rescue over the safety of your dog. 

Instead, try to encourage your dog to swim back to you but if you need help in an emergency you need to call 999.  

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Jenna Kiddie, Head of Canine Behaviour at Dogs Trust says: “Temperatures have dropped significantly over the last few days, and many ponds and lakes have frozen over. While these might provide tempting opportunities for your dog to explore, ice can be incredibly dangerous for both you and your dog.  

“If you are walking your dog anywhere near a frozen lake or pond, keep them on a lead. If your dog does fall through the ice, don’t enter the water to save them as this could lead to you requiring an emergency rescue, and could cause you serious harm.” 

7 tips for keeping your dog safe in cold weather

Make sure you keep your dog warm in cold weather – you could do this by buying them a winter coat. It’s important you gradually introduce them to wearing a coat.

Keep your dog on the lead as snow can be disorientating for dogs and they may get lost as they explore. They should wear a collar and ID tag and their microchip details will need to be up to date, the charity says.

Wipe your dog’s legs, feet and stomach after they’ve been out for a walk as this will help remove any grit form roads or dampness from rain or snow which can otherwise irritate their skin.

Avoid using antifreeze as it’s highly poisonous but tasty for dogs. Keep it out of reach along with any other chemicals so your dog can’t be tempted and if you spill any, make sure it’s cleaned up straight away.

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Dogs Trust Evesham encourages dog owners to increase their visibility by wearing hi-vis jackets. Dogs can wear reflective collars, leads, flashing collars or a high visibility coat – introduce these gradually to your dog so they can be comfortable wearing them.

Regularly check your dog’s leads, collars and harnesses to make sure they’re all working safely and won’t get damaged by the winter weather.

If you know you’re spending more time indoors with your dogs due to the poor weather, try to keep them active with some fun games, including hide and seek or ‘find it’ which are both stimulating for your dog.