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Winter Road Safety for Dogs and Cats

A consequence of darker mornings and shorter days means that pet owners will be walking their dogs in the dark or semi dark . All animals, including humans, become less visible in the winter months to vehicle drivers.

In Road Safety Week (15-21 November 2021) PDSA, a national vet charity is urging pet owners to be aware of the dangers that roads and traffic can pose.

PDSA Vet Lynne James offers her top tips on how to keep your beloved pets away from dangers on the roads:  

Reflective collars

With shorter daylight hours, cats may be more likely to be out and about in the dark. Reflective collars can make it easier for drivers to spot your pet when they’re exploring near roads, just make sure it’s a ‘quick release’ type so they can’t get caught up anywhere. It’s a good idea to help keep your cat safe by keeping them indoors at night and only letting them out during daylight hours. In this instance, try feeding your cat as it begins to get dark — they should get used to the schedule and return home for food before nightfall.

Leads

The best way you can make sure your dog is safe is to keep them on a short, strong lead attached to a well-fitting collar when around roads. If you’re going to take them off the lead to have a run-around, check that the area is safely secured with fences or railings so they can’t run onto any nearby roads.  

Commands

When approaching a road with your dog on a lead, ask them to ‘sit’ and ‘wait’. Once your dog has sat calmly and you’re happy it’s clear, give the command to ‘walk’ and cross the road together carefully.

Visibility

While it’s always better to walk dogs in daylight, at this time of year it isn’t always possible, so when walking your dog during darker hours, you should make sure drivers can see both of you. You could wear bright coloured clothing or even a high visibility jacket to help them spot you. You can use a high visibility dog coat or an LED collar or tag to help them stand out along roads.

orange tabby cat beside fawn short coated puppy
Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

To find LED collars and other pet accessories visit PDSA’s online store at pdsapetstore.org.uk – every purchase helps PDSA to help more pets in need.

Vet charity PDSA provides free and low cost vet care for those who struggle to pay treatment costs for their sick and injured pets. For many vulnerable pets, PDSA is there to help when there is nowhere else for their owners to turn. Since the first UK lockdown began, PDSA’s dedicated vet teams carried out more than one million phone consultations. With 388,000 pets treated in 2020, by keeping their 48 Pet Hospitals open, PDSA can support the thousands of pets that need help across the UK every day. Every pet deserves a fighting chance. Please donate today and help save pets’ lives – www.pdsa.org.uk/pdsa-chance.

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