Labrador Rescue Kent & Borders

01580 720408

Registered Charity No. 1067495

Winter Weather

Labrador Rescue Kent and Borders issues advice to owners

With the weather forecasts hinting at snow, Labrador Rescue Kent and Borders (LRK) offers some tips to keep your pet in tip top shape during the cold weather.

Check your dogs paws and ears as they can get frostbite, also paws can be irritated by the salt and grit put down on roads and paths.

Keep your pets away from antifreeze, as it can be fatal causing kidney damage if drunk. Cats and dogs are drawn to it because of its sweet taste.

Like humans dogs and cats who suffer from arthritis find the cold weather aggravates it, so keep your pet warm, even give them a heat pad to help ease the pain.

Dogs with short hair can feel the cold. They are OK when exercising but if you are out and standing still a lot with your dog, do consider getting your pet a coat, and one that is highly visible

“Some people get caught out”, warns Maggie Hinks, LRK trustee, ”You need to think about your pet, check your dog as you would your child, making sure they do not touch chemicals, get frostbite and are warm enough.”

Christmas Hazards

-LRK issues top 10 dangers for your dogs at Christmas -

Christmas can be a nightmare for dog owners as there are hundreds of hazards that could harm your hound warns Kent charity Labrador Rescue Kent and Borders (LRK).
Here is a list of the top dangers for your dogs at Christmas time: -

In at number one is chocolate which can be fatal if eaten by a dog. Chocolate contains a toxic element called theobromine which dogs are particularly sensitive to. Humans can process this toxin, but dogs are unable to. Even the smallest amount can kill.

“It is better to be safe than sorry,” says LRK trustee Maggie Hinks, “and to make sure that all chocolate is out of reach and kept in a closed cupboard.”

If a dog has eaten some chocolate it may suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea, and muscle spasm. It will then have convulsions and could even die.

At number two we have car anti-freeze which is sweet tasting and irresistible, but fatal to dogs (and cats). Mop up any spills as even a small amount could kill.

At number three LRK ranks your Christmas decorations as posing a problem to your hounds... real trees may be the bees knees but pine needles can very easily get into your dogs paws and will require a trip to the vets. Glass baubles can either get stuck in a dog’s throat or if broken can also get into its paws. Tinsel and foil are not good if eaten by your pet.

Popular Christmas plants – Poinsettias, Amaryllis and Mistletoe come in at number four. Their red glow isn’t just appealing to humans; many dogs will find these plants irresistible too. It’s therefore important these plants are kept out of reach, as they are poisonous and can cause mouth or stomach irritation from just eating a small part of the plant. Mistletoe berries, in particular, can be even more toxic than poinsettias.
At number five we have cooked turkey bones which might become lodged in a dog’s throat or perforate its intestinal tract.

Humans might like to have some grapes or dried fruit with their cheese, but at number six grapes, and raisins found in mince pies, Christmas pudding and cake, can be fatal for dogs.

At number seven LRK says it might be tempting to dress up your dog in costume but they can annoy animals and pose health and safety hazards. If you do put your dog into costume make sure it can breathe, see and hear. If possible avoid masks on your pet. Remove any small or dangly accessories that could be chewed or swallowed.

As family and friends come to celebrate don’t forget your dog will not always want to be in the thick of it, so make sure your pet has a safe place to relax and be away from all the noise and bustle..(number eight)

At nine, as we drink more alcohol and use it in our cooking, this too is intoxicating for our pets, so don’t leave it out where dogs can get at it and don’t feed your dog any sauces that have been made with alcohol.

And finally at number ten, don’t forget to take your dog on his normal walk, a lack of exercise can make the dog out of sorts and not so friendly.


Labrador Rescue Kent and Borders (LRK) offers advice on how to calm dogs that get distressed and traumatised by fireworks during Diwali and around firework night.

'Many dogs are sensitive to sounds as they can hear much higher frequencies than humans' says LRKtrustee Maggie Hinks 'let your dog hide, if that is what they want to do. It might be tempting to try to coax them out of their hiding place instead make them as comfortable as possible'

LRK advises owners to exercise their dogs before it is dark, and to make sure that they have eaten before the fireworks begin. Dogs may become unsettled and not eat during fireworks.

  • Check that your house and garden are secure and that your dog cannot escape.
  • Make sure you shut all doors and windows in your home and don't forget to draw the curtains. This will block out any scary flashes of light and reduce the noise level of fireworks.
  • Try to act and behave as normal, as your dog will pick up on any odd behaviour. Remain calm, happy and cheerful as this will send positive signals to your dog.
  • Distract your dog from the noise by having the TV or the radio switched on.
  • Keep a collar on your dog, just in case they do accidentally escape.
  • If you are intending on leaving the house on fireworks night, make sure you get someone your dog is familiar with to dog sit that evening

  • Take your dog to a firework display, even if your dog does not bark or whimper, don't assume he or she is happy. Excessive yawning and panting can indicate that your dog is stressed.
  • Tie your dog up outside while fireworks are being let off.
  • Assume your garden is escape proof. If your dog needs to go out keep him on a lead just in case.
  • Leave your dog on his own or in a separate room from you.
  • Try to force your dog to face his fears - he'll just become more frightened.
  • Forget to top up the water bowl. Anxious dogs pant more and get thirsty.
  • Change routines more than necessary, as this can be stressful for some dogs.

BBQ Danger to Labradors


According to Labrador Rescue Kent and Borders (LRK) there is a rise in injuries and poisonings to dogs over weekends, particularly, if there is a spate of hot weather.

We have heard of a number of unusual injuries to pets at this time of the year as BBQs and summer parties increase”, explains Maggie Hinks of LBK, “Dogs swallowing kebab skewers, eating cooked bones or getting burnt either from piping hot food or from the BBQ itself is not unusual. 

Dogs breaking their legs on trampolines or having their tails slammed in patio doors is another hazard.  All of these summer dangers can be prevented says Maggie, it's the owners who need to remember what to do and not to do.

Here are some tips from LRK to keep your dogs safe in the summer BBQ and summer party season:

Keep food and drink out of reach.  Don't give your dogs alcohol  not a good thing to do: cooked bones  - can shatter easily and be a choking hazard, as well as splinter and get lodged in your pets digestive tract; sizzling sausages may be tempting, but can burn your dogs stomach, cause ulcers and dehydration;

Keep your dog away from the BBQ as hot coals can cause nasty burns, and it is putting temptation under their nose.  But also remember citronella candles as well as fertilizers and weed killers are all toxic to pets.

Tasty leftovers in the rubbish bin can be sniffed out by your dog but remember if your dog scoffs tin foil, plastic wrap, matches or skewers they could do themselves a lot of harm, so clear up and put rubbish away securely.

You don't want a hot dog!


With Bank holiday travel chaos predicted, Labrador Rescue Kent and Borders (LRK) urges dog owners travelling with their pets to ensure that they and their hounds are prepared for travel.

Make sure your pet is confined to the rear of the car or in a purpose built travelling cage or dog guard.  Smaller dogs can be clipped in with a special harness attached to a seat belt. The one thing you do not want is a loose dog in the car, says LRK trustee Maggie Hinks, It not only distracts the driver but it is at risk from injury itself if the driver needs to break suddenly.

If the weather hots up, remember to bring plenty of water so that your dog can rehydrate and stop frequently for fresh air.  “When you park your car, park in the shade and do not leave your dog in the car as this can lead to heat stroke and death.”  Adds Maggie.

If a dog has heatstroke it will be distressed, collapse and have convulsions.  Seek veterinary help immediately, cool the dog down by wrapping it in a wet towel, give the dog water, and put the dog in a cool place.

To sum up  when travelling with dogs

*confine your dog  *bring plenty of water  * stop for fresh air  *keep cool

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Charity Information

Labrador Rescue Kent & Borders
Registered Charity No. 1067495
Telephone 01580 720408

Head Office
1 Wheatfield Close
TN17 3NA

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