As evenings get darker how safe are your pets

With the clocks turning back an hour this weekend, pet owners may need to take a few extra precautions to keep their furry friends happy and healthy as the evenings get darker.

PDSA senior vet, Elaine Pendlebury, says: “As evenings become darker earlier, cats are particularly at risk of being involved in a road traffic accident on busy or poorly lit roads. Dogs and their owners are also less visible to drivers at night.”

Following these simple tips can help pet owners to stay safe over the coming winter months.

Safety tips for dog owners:

Go for your walks in daylight hours if you can. If this isn’t possible there are some extra precautions you can take:

Keep dogs on a lead when you’re out for a walk in the dark, especially near traffic. Non-extendable leads are better, as dogs can move very swiftly if scared;

Train your dog to understand a recall command so they will immediately come back when you call them if they are at risk;

Make sure you wear a brightly coloured fluorescent jacket, and invest in some reflective gear for your dog such as a harness, collar or coat.

Safety tips for cat owners:

It may be safer to keep your cat inside overnight, particularly if you live near a busy road. Adjust their daily schedule in the lead up to winter so you can encourage them to settle down and sleep happily through the night indoors;

It is advisable to get your cat neutered. Neutered male cats are less likely to roam which can reduce their chances of getting hit by a car.

If your pets haven’t already been microchipped, now is a good time. In the event they are involved in an accident when you aren’t present, you’ll be able to be contacted.

If your pets are microchipped, make sure the details are all up to date.

Find out more at www.pdsa.org.uk/leaflets to download a free copy of PDSA’s Pet Safety leaflet.

Elaine said: “Microchips are much better than collars and tags, which can easily be lost or removed. If you get your dog microchipped now, you’ll also be prepared for compulsory microchipping legislation which comes into effect in 2016. Remember, though, that by law your dog still needs to wear a collar and tag when outside even when microchipped.”

To find out more, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/leaflets to download a free copy of PDSA’s Pet Safety leaflet.

PDSA is on a mission to educate the nation on pet wellbeing and is delighted that funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery is helping the charity to continue this vital work.