Submitted by Steve on 16:07, 11th Jan, 2017 | 0

With cold weather on the way the GSPCA want pet owners to consider all the animals of Guernsey.

During a cold snap the GSPCA are on full alert, ready to deal with a variety of animals affected by the low temperatures.

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said "With the coming cold snap and possible snow on its way, at the GSPCA we want to ensure pets and other animals kept and live outside are safe and have all they need."

"Whether you have a rabbit living outside or wild birds visiting the garden we would ask to ensure your pets are protected and have all they need and where possible please help our wildlife by putting fresh food and water out for them if it does reach freezing temperatures."

"At the GSPCA we sell everything from wild animal feeds to hedgehog homes, fluorescent dog coats to flashing collars to help wild and domestic animals through these cold days.'

"We have a web page full of advice for what to do if you find a sick or injured wild animals or bird which you can see by going to http://www.gspca.org.gg/animals/wildlife-advice."

You can do your bit to prevent animals suffering over the cold period.

Do you have a pond?

If you have a pond, make sure you check it every day for ice, as toxic gases can build up in the water of a frozen pond. These can kill fish or frogs that are hibernating at the bottom.

If a pond does freeze over you can carefully place a saucepan of hot water on the surface to melt the ice gently to create a hole. Never directly tip boiling water straight onto the pond or break ice with force, as this may harm or can even kill the fish living there.

If you own a dog then you must keep them well away from ponds and lakes that are iced over. Thin ice may break under a dog's weight. Also watch out for dogs' paws becoming impacted with snow - this can cause them discomfort.

Feeding birds

We have an amazing selection of birds in Guernsey. Don't forget to look after the wildlife in your garden. In winter, birds may have difficulty finding normal food supplies such as berries, insects, seeds, worms and fruit. An extra tit bit from your kitchen will help to keep them going or you can get a variety of bird feed and feeders at the Animal Shelter.

Hedgehogs

In the UK between November and mid-March hedgehogs normally hibernate but sometimes seen during this time, especially here in Guernsey, if the weather has been mild.   For this reason the GSPCA are asking to try and keep aside a hedgehog-friendly area of garden, leaving welcome heaps of leaves and brushwood.

The GSPCA sell a selection of hedgehog food which is designed specifically for them.  Food and fresh water at any time of the year will encourage visiting hedgehogs to return regularly. You could try leaving out food such as minced meat, fresh liver, tinned dog food (not fish-based), or chopped boiled eggs.

Although hedgehogs like milk it can cause severe diarrhoea; the GSPCA ask that you never give them cow’s milk. It is best to give hedgehogs plain, fresh water each night in a shallow bowl.  Also it is important that you do not feed them bread as this is not a natural or healthy diet for them.

Please remember if you find any sick or injured hedgehog or any animal to call the GSPCA on 01481 257261.  Some of the main things to look out for are

 - Any hedgehogs seen out in daylight will need URGENT help

- Hedgehogs do NOT lie out sunbathing

- Any cut or wound is urgent

- Any hedgehog with flies on it or maggots crawling on it needs VERY Urgent help

- Any Hedgehog limping or walking strangely needs help

- Anything that looks very thin or wobbly or has bald patches or missing spines

- If you see a baby hedgehog or any small hedgehog weighing less than about 500 grams, that is about the size of a large orange or small grapefruit, at ANY time, whether day or night, that is out on its own, pick it up, pop it into a box with food and water and contact the Shelter on 01481 257261 or pop it up to us as soon as possible.

There are lots of things you can do to protect and care for hedgehogs in your garden, to prevent them from becoming sick or injured.

Garden ponds and swimming pools - Make sure there is always an easy route for hedgehogs to climb out of the water. Steps built out of house bricks are often used. Ideally, swimming pools should have shallow steps and a tight-fitting insulating cover should be used overnight.

Strimmers and hedge trimmers - These should be used sparingly under hedges and other areas of undergrowth.  Hedgehogs and other animals are likely to be resting there during the day.  The GSPCA see animals injured by these every month and if this does happen please contact us immediately or pop them to the Shelter as quickly as possible.

Drains - Drains and similar open holes frequently trap unwary hedgehogs and they can starve if they are not rescued. Keep all drain covers in good condition and cover any open holes.

Litter - Litter is a real hazard and hedgehogs frequently get their heads stuck in tins, plastic binders from drinks cans or discarded yoghurt pots.  Please make sure you dispose of your rubbish safely.   Also please ensure that you store any items for recycling in a safe place away from inquisitive hedgehogs.

Nets - Nets particularly those used for tennis, football or cricket, must be furled well above the ground when not in use.  Hedgehogs often get entangled in these nets and die of starvation. Fruit nets are a similar source of danger but can be kept taut to stop animals getting entangled.

Pets – Dogs are often quite inquisitive when they see a hedgehog in the garden.  It is important that your dog doesn’t try to play or pick up a hedgehog as it can both injure the hedgehog and your pet.

Slug pellets - Slug pellets can poison hedgehogs and should only be used as a last resort. Try using other methods such as beer traps or sprinkling fine sand or ground up shells around the plants you need to protect; rings made of cut down plastic drinks bottles can offer protection to individual plants and aluminium, sulphate-based products can be used over wider areas. If all else fails and you have to use pellets, place them under a slate which is inaccessible to hedgehogs.

Rodenticides – There is new evidence that has shown that hedgehogs are at risk from poisons put down for rats and mice. Although the bait boxes used should not allow hedgehogs to get to the bait, slugs and snails are attracted to the bait and will then store the poison in their bodies, so when the hedgehog eats the slug, they get the poison. So always seriously consider whether you need to use these chemicals and if so, please be very careful.

Bonfires - If you have to light a bonfire, always make sure there are no animals sheltering in the pile.

Juvenile hedgehogs found weighing less than 500 grams (1.1lbs) during late autumn will need help to survive the winter.  The GSPCA would urge anyone that finds a young hedgehog to contact the Shelter for advice during this time of year.

Extra special care for your pets

Your pets really do need extra special care during the cold winter months. Keep a close eye on outdoor pets, such as guinea pigs, rabbits and other animals you may keep outside. Put extra bedding in their home and be prepared to move them into a shed or unused garage for extra shelter whilst the weather is cold.

You need to maintain a regular routine with your dog. You may not feel like taking your dog for a walk on dark wintry evenings, but the exercise will keep your pet happy and healthy and will help to keep you fit as well!

You must remember to always wear reflective clothing to make yourself visible when walking near roads in the dark and a torch is also a good idea. Don't forget your pets too- fit your dog with a reflective collar or coat (we have a selection available at the Animal Shelter).

We advise that horses and ponies that are kept outside during the winter must have access to shelter at all times. They also need a constant supply of fresh water (you must check that ice hasn’t formed on it) and a rug to protect them against the cold and wet. Extra food will be needed too, as winter grazing provides very little nourishment.

We hope this has been some help but any questions please do not hesitate to contact us on 01481 257261

Help us to care for Guernsey’s animals and birds this Winter.

Here is a video of the GSPCA in the snow 4 years ago -

The GSPCA are very proud to announce that we have been awarded the Guernsey Community Foundation Charity of the Year.

There are so many amazing organisations, groups and individuals and to recognise these there are a number of upcoming awards. Could you nominate the GSPCA, one of our team or another worthy individual or cause? Please visit the links below

Could you vote for GSPCA Geoff George in the Specsavers Unsung Hero Awards or any of the amazing finalists? To find out more please see - http://unsunghero.submarine.gg/Cast.aspx

The Ceva Animal Welfare Awards are open, to nominate please visit -  http://www.cevawelfareawards.com/

Petplan and ADCH Animal Charity Awards - https://www.petplancharity.co.uk/pet-insurance/animal-charity-awards/

Nominating a group for The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, please visit - https://qavs.direct.gov.uk

Could you write us a review on the Best of Guernsey who run awards each year, if you could please visit - https://www.thebestof.co.uk/local/guernsey/business-guide/feature/gspca

To donate via giving.gg to help animals at the GSPCA please click here

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