DESPITE weather warnings of ice and snow in place across the UK, dog owners will still have to brave the baltic conditions to exercise their beloved pets.

But there are risks to both dog and owner whilst on winter walks, especially on dark nights and crisp mornings, while snow on the ground can heighten risk due to grit on the roads and pavements, which can cause chemical burns and painful irritations to paws.

To help owners guard against issues like these, pet food brand Webbox has published its top tips to help dog owners stay safe on winter walks.

First, it advises investment in a coat or jumper for dogs to wear on winter walks.These will be most beneficial to types of dog who feel the cold more easily, such as small breeds, those with short coats and slimmer dogs with less body fat.

Dogs should be kept on a lead in a downpour of rain or snow. Heavy snow can distort their vision and they may get confused and struggle to make it back to their owner. Owners should Ensure that a collar with contact details and an ID tag is fitted before the walk and that they are microchipped in case the worst happens and your pet gets lost.

Onwers should wash and wipe their dog’s feet, legs and stomach with warm water and dry with a clean towel once they're back inside to remove grit picked up from the roads which can cause irritation on skin and paw pads. If your dog isn’t annoyed by them, some small booties could protect their feet well and will stop them licking grit if they feel irritated by it.

If walks take place in parks or near water, dog lovers should make sure that dogs don’t walk over frozen ponds or water in case the ice breaks. If this happens, owners should go after them as they will have a much better chance of escaping than a human.

High visibility outerwear should be worn by both dog and owner. Light up, flashing and reflective collars, leads and harnesses are widely available and a great idea if dogs are being let off the lead on walks. If possible, walk along routes that are well lit or, if you’re venturing into woods, take a hand or head torch for safety. Light up balls are also great for throwing in parks at night.

Hair should be trimmed around paws and feet to prevent ice getting caught in their fur, as this can become painful and sore if the snow is left to freeze.

Anyone inexperienced in trimming their dogs’ paw should get advice from a professional or take your dog to the local groomers as their paws are very sensitive. Dogs should not be allowed to eat snow as their body temperature could become dangerously low or there could be hidden items in the snow, such as glass, or even dangerous chemicals.