With the freezing temperatures and sporadic snowfall we've been experiencing lately, most of us will have taken pains to ensure that our homes are snug and warm so we protect ourselves against winter chill.
However, it's worth remembering that the precautions we take to keep our houses and flats nice and cosy can in fact end up being hazardous to our pets.
For instance, heaters and electric wires can be knocked over or chewed on by an over-excited puppy, or the poisonous anti-freeze used to heat up car engines may be lapped up by a thirsty moggie.
Therefore, it's a good idea to take the time to check that our homes are pet-friendly this winter so that we can relax safe in the knowledge that our cats and dogs are out of harm's way.
If you do decide to have extra heaters in the home, it's important that you never leave them turned on in a room where a pet is unsupervised, since they can easily be knocked over and tails, fur and paws can get caught on flames.
What's more, you'll also need to make sure that cords are covered with plastic sleeves and unplugged to reduce the chance of your mutt or moggie receiving a shock if they happen to chew on one.
All owners need to be aware that just as humans are vulnerable to feeling the cold during the winter time, so too are our four-legged friends. So make sure that any bedding or dog and cat food is placed away from draughts or cold areas of the home where they may be uncomfortable.
Finally, it is important to remember that anti-freeze presents a serious hazard to pets, since they are often attracted to it by its sweet taste but it is extremely poisonous and consumption can be fatal.
Therefore, if you have anti-freeze in the home or garage, make sure that it's stored well out of reach of your animals and any spills indoors or out are cleared up immediately.
Written by: Hannah Dyball