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RSPCA offers advice on how to protect animals in icy weather

PUBLISHED: 12:24 31 December 2014 | UPDATED: 12:24 31 December 2014

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There are steps people can take to reduce the risk to their pets and help wildlife.

As temperatures plummet and icy weather blasts the UK, the RSPCA is offering advice to animal lovers on how best to protect pets and wildlife from the cold.

Steps to take include wiping off a horse after exercise to reduce the risk of chills and providing a tray of grass in the home for indoor rabbits.

If rabbits or guinea pigs are usually housed outdoors, it’s best to bring them indoors or into an unused garage or shed while it is snowing, but they will still need free access to a secure exercise area.

RSPCA wildlife expert Nicola White said: “Sometimes it is the small things that can make all the difference.

“A little bit of extra food left out for a hungry robin or badger may be the help it needs to last through a spate of frosty weather, and just melting a small hole in your garden pond can make all the difference.

“We can all struggle when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and our wildlife friends are often the most vulnerable to the extremes the elements take. They just need a bit of a helping hand sometimes.”

Winter can be challenging for animals including birds, hedgehogs and squirrels.

Every year between one and two thousand wild animals are brought into RSPCA wildlife centres in December, January and February suffering from dehydration, hunger and cold.

“Taking action early really can make the difference to animals,” said Lisa Richards, RSPCA companion animal scientist.

“We are mostly a nation of animal lovers, and many people will happily go that extra mile.”

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