Ireland's weather is fickle, no doubt, but how your pet adjusts to these changes can be even more fickle.
To give you a helping hand, we've collected some weather care tips from the ISPCA to help keep those tails wagging, rain, hail, sun or snow.
With dips in average temperatures and frost and snow sadly becoming the norm in Ireland, it can be easy to forget how your four-legged friends are fairing outdoors.
1. Salty wounds
While salt can be a godsend for that icy pathway, it can also cause sores to the pads of pets. If your dog has very sensitive paws, or already has injuries to them. there are ‘booties’ you can get in some pet shops if necessary.
De-icing chemicals are also very dangerous and toxic to animals, who can often find them tasty. If ingested, seek urgent veterinary attention.
3. Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow
This is important for smaller breeds of dogs who find it hard to keep themselves warm. Buy a suitable coat for them to keep warm when outside. And for the bigger breeds, let them get the full use of their winter coat and avoid grooming.
4. More frequent, shorter walks
Cold weather can cause dry, flaky skin and cracked paws. Taking your four-legged companion for more frequent and shorter walks can help avoid being outside for too long. Remember to check their paws and give them a quick wipe when you're back home.
The ISPCA are advising owners that if your pet 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!
5. Freezin' felines
Cats are great at finding warm spots to sleep when it gets cold. Sometimes, however, cats unbeknownst to themselves are sleeping dangerously - like under the hood of a car for instance.
Make sure to check your car for sleeping kitties before jetting off to work in the morning, as the start of an engine could seriously injure them - or worse.
6. Frozen food
Outside water bowls will have no problem freezing over in the cold. Remember to check regularly that there is a fresh, accessible water supply outside.
Plastic bowls can also become cracked and damaged with continued frost and will need replacing.
7. Rug your horses and ponies
Although they're big and majestic, horses are vulnerable to cold weather too!
Rain scald is a disease that starts as a simple irritating bump on the animal, but when left untreated, can escalate to crusty scabs and lesions.
When deciding on a rug, think:
- Is it rain proof? How heavy is it? Is it the correct size?
- Remember to check old rugs regularly for damage, and remove them regularly.
- Keep an ample supply of water near the horse in case of over-heating.
For animal tips, welfare information and resources, visit the ISPCA website.