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What to do to help animals during freezing weather and snow
Make sure dogs are kept warm when the temperature drops (Picture: Getty)

As freezing temperatures grip Britain this week, the RSPCA is urging people to make sure animals are kept warm and safe.

Nature-lovers are being encouraged to look out for birds by leaving out extra food such as seeds, grains, net-free fat or suet balls, apples and pears.

Aerial view of the scene of an explosion in Leicester, where four people have been confirmed dead after a suspected gas blast demolished a three-storey building. February 26, 2018. See NTI story NTBLAST. A further four people remain in hospital - one with serious injuries - after the explosion on Sunday (25/2) night triggered a devastating Five people now confirmed dead as body is pulled from Leicester explosion rubble

The charity said they should only be fed peanuts which are unsalted, fresh and sold for human consumption or by a reputable feed shop, and should be chopped up or put in good quality mesh feeders.

Bird baths should be kept free of ice, bowls of clean water should be left out and feeders and water bowls should be kept clean to prevent disease spreading.

And garden ponds need to be checked every day to make sure the surface is not entirely frozen as poisonous gases can build up under the ice – and if it is only pour hot water on to the surface to melt a hole.

LEADHILLS, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 18: A Harris Hawk sits on a fence prior to its owner using it to hunt for rabbits in the snow on January 18, 2018 in Leadhills, Scotland. Motorists are being warned to drive with caution as snow and icy conditions continue in the South of Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Birds should have easy access to food (Picture: Getty)

Rabbit owners should consider moving hutches when temperatures start to reach freezing while guinea pigs should be housed indoors when temperatures are below 15C.

If they have they have to be left outside they must have lots of extra bedding and protected homes.

Commuters walking in the snow on London Bridge, as some parts of the UK are set to feel colder than the Arctic Circle as freezing temperatures continue into the week ahead. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday February 26, 2018. See PA story WEATHER Cold. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA WireWhat are your rights if you can't get to work because of the snow

Cats need to have constant access to the warm inside areas, while dogs need to be kept away from frozen ponds, lakes or rivers and owners should make sure their paws do not get impacted with snow.

Birds kept in aviaries, coops or runs should also be protected, livestock and horses need adequate shelter and extra feed while water troughs and buckets should be kept clear of ice.

RSPCA scientific officer Llewelyn Lowen said: ‘As the weather turns colder it is important to think about what we can do to help our animal friends.

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JANUARY 17: Lucy, a Bull Mastiff enjoys the snow drifts on Divis mountain on January 17, 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Met Office has placed an amber weather warning alert on the province with over 200 school closures and some roads impassable. More snow is expected again tomorrow. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Dogs paws need to be check to make sure they haven’t been impacted with snow (Picture: Getty)

‘Every year, between 1,000 and 2,000 wild animals are brought into RSPCA wildlife centres in December, January and February suffering from dehydration, hunger and cold.

‘A few little changes to your everyday routine can really make a difference to animals.

‘For example, a little bit of extra food left out for a hungry bird may be the help it needs to last through a spate of frosty weather or, if you have rabbits kept outside, you will need to provide them with lots of extra bedding and their home should be placed in a sheltered position, facing away from the prevailing wind and rain.’

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