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With plummeting temperatures due to return this week, it is important to make sure our four-legged friends are prepared for the cold. After a fairly mild Christmas for most across the UK, temperatures are set to drop below 0°C over the next few days. 
Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, is issuing guidance to owners about how to keep your dog safe and warm during the cold snap, including how to avoid potential hazards on your winter walks. 
Runa Hanaghan, Deputy Veterinary Surgeon at Dogs Trust, said: “There are lots of simple things you can do to help your dog stay safe and warm during cold weather, however, there are things owners need to watch out for too which may be hazardous for our dogs. Winter walks can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to exercise caution when conditions worsen by keeping your dog on a lead and taking steps to improve their visibility with the darker nights”
Winter Health Advice:

1.     Antifreeze is highly poisonous to dogs. Keep it well out of their reach and mop up any spills immediately. Always seek veterinary advice if you are concerned your dog may have licked or ingested any, from the spill or their paws.

2.     Never leave your dog in a car during extreme weather, hot or cold.

3.     Make sure you wipe your dog’s legs and feet when you come indoors after a snowy walk. The grit from the roads can irritate their feet. Grit can also be dangerous if your dog licks its paws. Again, seek veterinary advice if you are concerned your dog may have licked or ingested any. 

4.     Particularly important if you have a puppy, short-haired or old dog in providing them with a sensible winter coat to stay warm when you go out. Consider letting your dog's winter coat grow to improve their warmth, it can still be kept brushed and untangled even when it is thicker.

Winter Walking Advice: 

1.     Keep your dog on a lead if it is snowing heavily. Snow can be disorientating so they might easily become lost.

2.     Make sure your dog is microchipped, the contact details are up to date, and your dog is wearing a collar and an ID tag whilst out walking, so if they do get lost, they can be reunited with you.

3.     As the nights are dark, consider using a reflective collar and lead or a high visibility coat or flashing collar to increase your dog’s visibility in the dark. Owners can use a torch and wear high-vis jackets too!

4.     Do not let your dog walk on frozen ponds. The ice may not be thick enough to take their weight. If your dog does fall through the ice never be tempted to go in after them; call the emergency services immediately. 

5.     Regularly check that your dog’s leads, collars, and harnesses are all functioning safely and not at risk of wear and tear damage during winter weather. 

6.     Snow can freeze between dog’s paws and owners might find ice stuck to the bottom which can be uncomfortable and make it difficult for them to walk. Rinsing and drying their paws after walks is very important.

Keeping your dogs active in winter:

1.      If you are spending more time indoors if the weather's bad, always make sure your dog has plenty to do – long-lasting tasty chews, or puzzle-toys such as durable food-releasing toys and snuffle mats are useful for giving your dog something enjoyable to do without needing your constant attention.

2.     You can provide entertainment for your dog when parks are closed by walking different ways to your normal route, so they can experience new sights, sounds and smells.

3.      Incorporate training sessions within your walks - take treats with you and reward your dog for doing a trick along each street you walk down. Bring their favourite toy and have a game outside if there is a safe place to do so while they are safely on-lead. 

4.     You can play these types of games indoors too – try hiding their toys for them to search for and playing with them as a reward when they find them.

5.      Treat your dog to some fun and games that are educational and valuable by enrolling them in a Dogs Trust Dog School training course! We offer short training courses for puppies, adolescents and adult dogs teaching important skills in a fun and positive environment. 

Birmingham Hippodrome, Chinese Festival Committee Birmingham and Bullring & Grand Central kick started Lunar New Year celebrations by paws-ing for a picture with Pom Pom, a giant ten-foot panda. Pom Pom was joined by James Wong, Chair of the Chinese Festival Committee Birmingham, Dan Murphy, General Manager at Bullring & Grand Central and Matt Evans, Festivals Production Manager at Birmingham Hippodrome.

A United Nations team examining the experiences of people of African descent will visit the UK for the first time in a decade, including holding a conference at Birmingham City University on Monday 23 January 2023.

The UN’s Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent (WGEPAD), who undertake a fact-finding mission to the UK every 10 years in a bid to understand the situation of people of African descent in the country, will meet with members of the public to identify challenges and to make recommendations for how these could be resolved.

A full-service law firm is offering people in Great Barr, Kings Heath, Quinton, and Stourbridge a free Will writing service to help boost legacy donations for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity.

Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, which covers six Midlands counties including Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, the West Midlands, and Worcestershire, has responded to almost 70,000 missions since its launch in 1991.

A new study by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport of the United Kingdom has revealed that the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has contributed at least £870 million ($1061 million/€980 million) to its economy with businesses and communities in the West Midlands region benefiting massively.

Accommodating 6,600 athletes from 72 Commonwealth nations, it was the largest multi-sport event in the country since London hosted the Olympic Games in 2012.

Star striker and football pundit, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, is joining forces with England and Premier League legend, David James MBE, as Utilita’s newest cost-of-living champion. As an official Utilita ambassador, Courtney will catapult Utilita’s Football Rebooted movement even further, which aims to get a million pairs of good quality football boots onto the feet of those who need them and away from landfill.

For the first time since Storm Arwen, Worcester Cathedral’s quire organ will be back in action in time for the Organ’s Gala Anniversary Recital, which will take place on 21 January at 7.30pm, having been postponed from October 2022, due to the organ being out of action.

The Cathedral looks forward to welcoming James Lancelot (Canon Emeritus Organist, Durham Cathedral and former Interim Organist and Director of Music, Worcester Cathedral) to give the annual Gala Organ Recital. 

Commercial heating and ventilation specialists, Lord Combustion Services, in Oldbury, has helped Midlands Air Ambulance Charity save lives by collecting £10,500 at a recent Charity Ball.

Last month, the charity welcomed Stuart Smith, managing director of Lord Combustion Services to its airbase at RAF Cosford for a cheque presentation for the funds raised at the 40th Anniversary Ball.

A business traveller has thanked Birmingham Airport (BHX) staff who saved his life when he suffered a seizure and swallowed his tongue. 

Company director, Rob Wilcox, 56, from Evesham, Worcestershire, collapsed moments after getting off a flight back home from Düsseldorf in Germany. The father-of-three was flagging down a taxi when the seizure took place. 

Actions set out at the height of the Covid pandemic to tackle health inequalities across the region have already helped thousands of people improve their fitness and wellbeing.

A meeting of the Health of the Region Roundtable, chaired by Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), has heard how slow but steady progress is being made on delivering a wide-ranging and long-term action plan aimed at closing the region’s health gap.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has apologised after research revealed that the Church of England's investment fund has links to the slave trade. The investigation, initiated by the Church Commissioners, a charity managing the Church's investment portfolio, revealed that for more than 100 years the fund invested large sums of money in a company responsible for transporting slaves.

New homes provider Bromford is sharing its top tips for re-loving, re-using and recycling for the new year. 

Catherine Jarrett, Director of Sales and Marketing at Bromford, said: “At Bromford we care deeply about the environment and making a positive impact. The new year is a great time for making positive changes, particularly following the festive period which we know can come with a lot of waste and excess, and we hope very much that sharing these tips can help others to live a more sustainable life in 2023.” 

Residents at an Edgbaston care home took a trip down memory lane and shared their memories of Birmingham with younger generations as part of a new public exhibition. Created by The Birmingham & Midland Institute (BMI), residents from Care UK’s Edgbaston Manor, on Speedwell Road, shared their memories of growing up in Birmingham and their concerns around climate change with younger generations from across the city as part of a volunteer-led exhibition, titled, ‘Grandbabs’.