Don’t forget animals in freezing weather conditions, urge RSPCA
People are being urged to look out for wildlife and domestic pets as the Beast from the East tightens its grip on the region.
Birds can struggle to find food during the winter months and nature-lovers can help by leaving out extra food, such as seeds and grains, fat or suet balls, apple and pears.
They should only be fed peanuts which are unsalted and fresh, and should be chopped up or put in mesh feeders, the RSPCA advise.
Bird baths should also be kept free of ice while bowls of clean water can be left out.
Garden ponds need to be checked every day to ensure the surface is not entirely frozen as poisonous gases can build up under the ice.
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Pets also need looking after in the cold with rabbits moved indoors or into sheds, outhouses or garages when temperatures reach freezing. Guinea pigs should be moved indoors when temperatures are below 15C.
Cats need constant access to the house while dogs need to be kept away from frozen ponds, lakes or rivers and owners should make sure their paws do not get impacted with snow.
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Llewelyn Lowen, RSPCA scientific officer, said: “As the weather turns colder it is important to think about what we can do to help our animal friends.
“Every year, between 1,000 and 2,000 wild animals are brought into RSPCA wildlife centres in December, January and February suffering from dehydration, hunger and cold.
“A few little changes to your everyday routine can really make a difference to animals.
“For example, a little bit of extra food left out for a hungry bird may be the help it needs to last through a spate of frosty weather or, if you have rabbits kept outside, you will need to provide them with lots of extra bedding and their home should be placed in a sheltered position, facing away from the prevailing wind and rain.”