The Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have issued tips to keep your pets safe and warm during the impending cold snap.
MET Éireann have announced that snow is forecast for the end of next week, with hail, sleet and snow expected in the North West on Wednesday.
The ISPCA advise taking dogs out for more frequent and shorter walks to avoid being out in the cold for too long, which is especially important for smaller breeds, older dogs, and sight hounds.
If your dog is reluctant to leave the warmth of the house to go for a walk, the occasional treat won’t go amiss as you leave!
You can also get a nice warm jacket for pets who may be more vulnerable to the cold, however if your dog has a nice full coat, that should keep them cosey!
A spokesperson for the ISPCA says; “Cold weather can cause dry, flaky skin and cracked, sore paws, so if you know your dog is prone to this, take steps to reduce their risk. Make sure you dry their skin and paws thoroughly after a walk, and don’t forget in between the toes! Salt can cause sores to the pads, and de-icing chemicals are very dangerous if ingested, so make sure you remove all residue from their paws.
The ISPCA say it may be a good idea to keep outdoor cats indoors during the very cold days.
“Cats are great at finding warm spots to sleep, but sometimes these are dangerous, like under the hood of a car. Make sure to check your car for sleeping kitties before you drive.
“You could also provide a clean, dry outdoor shelter with bedding for them to use. When your cat comes in from outside, wipe them down to take off excess water, salt, or grit, and make sure they don’t have any anti-freeze on their paws.
Horses, ponies and donkeys
The ISPCA stress that shelter is vital for horses and ponies, and some lighter coated breeds may need to be rugged to protect them from the chill.
“Even heavier coated ponies can suffer from rain scald, a disease that starts as simple irritating bumps on the animal but, left untreated, can escalate to crusty scabs and severe lesions on the more exposed areas of the animal, such as the back, neck and head. The thin skin around the legs is also highly susceptible if the horse or donkey spends too long standing in wet muddy ground without a dryer area to escape to.
“There are many types of rug to choose from; the type that suits an individual will vary will depending on breed. With the milder winter, some heavier coated equines will just need a rain proof rug to protect them from rain scald, whereas lighter coated animals will need a heavier rug to protect them from rain and cold.
For more information see www.ispca.ie