How to keep your pet safe as evenings get darker

Microchipping is vital
Microchipping is vital

With fewer daylight hours at this time of year, it’s a good idea to take extra precautions to keep our pets safe.

PDSA Vet Rebecca Ashman said: “With the clocks changing, it will be even darker in the evening, making both dogs and their owners less visible to drivers while out walking. Cats are also at greater risk too, particularly on busy or poorly lit roads.”

There are steps pet owners can take to reduce their risk during the winter months.

Rebecca adds: “It’s safer to walk your dog during daylight hours, but that’s not always practical for some dog owners. If you’re walking in the dark, keep your dog on a lead, especially when walking near roads. Make sure you’re wearing high visibility clothing, and consider a reflective harness, collar or coat for your dog.

“Training your dog to respond quickly to a recall command can also be very useful, as you can get them back immediately if they’re in danger.”

Many cats prefer to snuggle up near to a radiator on cold winter nights, but some still like to explore the great outdoors.

Rebecca said: “It’s safer to keep your cat indoors at night, especially if you live close to a busy road. By adjusting their daily routine gradually, such as changing their feeding times, you can help them to settle down and sleep happily indoors through the night. Male cats are much less likely to roam if they’re neutered so speak to your vet for advice.”

“Now is also a good time to ensure your pet is microchipped,” said Rebecca. “For dogs, this is a legal requirement, but we strongly recommend cats are microchipped too. If your pets are already microchipped, make sure the details held by the database company, such as your address and telephone number, are up to date.

A microchipped pet stands a much better chance of being reunited with their owner if they go missing or are involved in an accident. It’s important to also remember though that, by law, dogs have to wear a collar and ID tag when outside, as well as being microchipped.

PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information. pdsa.org.uk