The ISPCA recommends that pets be brought indoors if possible during extremely cold periods. They must have somewhere dry and draught free to escape from the elements. Plenty of warm dry bedding should also be provided.
It is essential that pets have access to fresh drinking water at all times so owners must make sure that water bowls are not frozen over. Pets also need plenty of food to allow them to keep their temperature up.
Do not clip your dog's hair too short in the winter. Short haired or thin skinned dogs would benefit from an artificial coat to help keep them warm.
It is important to still exercise your dog in cold spells but you may consider shorter, more frequent walks to avoid being outside for too long.
Always keep your dog on a lead when it is snowing as it affects their sense of smell and can cause them to become lost.
Horses and ponies
Horses and ponies require supplementary feeding in the winter months to allow them to maintain condition as there is no fresh grass growth. They need a constant supply of fresh water. They must also have access to suitable shelter and rugs if necessary.
Pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs are normally kept outdoors in hutches. In extreme weather the ISPCA would advise that hutches be brought into a shed or garage.
If this is not possible the whole hutch could be covered with old carpet or an old blanket. Extra bedding should be provided as well as increased amounts of food. Fresh water should always be available so make sure that the water in their water bottle is not frozen.
Wild birds can find it hard to find their natural food such as insects, worms, seeds, and berries in the winter months so why not give our feathered friends a helping hand by setting up a bird table and feeding them regularly? They can be fed peanuts and wild bird mix but also household leftovers such as stale bread, biscuits or cake, cooked rice, or grated cheese. Fresh water which is not frozen is also invaluable for birds in extreme temperatures. www.ispca.ie