A charity protecting the welfare of dogs has issued a winter warning on how to protect dogs throughout the cold spell. 

The Dog's Trust in Salisbury has warned that as most dogs love to swim, they may find favourite spots frozen over and any attempt to cross ice could be dangerous to dogs and owners as the ice may not be thick enough to take any weight.

Salisbury Journal: Collie Dog in winterCollie Dog in winter (Image: Dogs Trust)

Head of Canine Behaviour at Dogs Trust, Jenna Kiddie said: “Temperatures have dropped significantly over the last few days, and many ponds and lakes have frozen over. While these might provide tempting opportunities for your dog to explore, ice can be incredibly dangerous for both you and your dog.

“If you are walking your dog anywhere near a frozen lake or pond, keep them on a lead. If your dog does fall through the ice, don’t enter the water to save them as this could lead to you requiring an emergency rescue, and could cause you serious harm.”

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The charity has warned that ice is not the only risk facing dogs and owners in the cold weather. It is important to keep dogs warm with some shorter-haired dogs needing a winter coat. Some dogs need to be introduced to coats in a gradual way. 

Always wipe the dog's legs, feet and stomach after a walk as grit from roads and dampness from rain or snow can irritate their skin. 

If snow falls, this can be disorientating for dogs. Dogs should wear a collar and ID tag in case they get lost. Microchip details should also be kept up-to-date.

Leads, collars and harnesses should also be checked. 

For more information about dog safety during the winter, visit dogstrust.org.uk