Maxi Zoo is urging dog owners in Longford to take action to protect themselves and their pets as they both face into the challenge of maintaining their walking routine throughout the cold and dark winter months.
"The end of daylight savings is a timely reminder for pet owners to think about safety and to prepare for the many hazards created by colder and shorter days and more frequent walks in the dark," said Emma Fanning, Brand Ambassador at Maxi Zoo Ireland.
"The dangers of walking during the dark mornings and evenings should never be underestimated. Keeping your dog on a lead is not enough and safety starts with you and your pets being visible to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians," said Emma.
"Reflective leashes and dog safety vests are essential now that we no longer have 10 hours of daylight. They bounce back light from oncoming vehicles and can be seen from around 150 metres away. A safety vest is particularly suitable for free-running dogs," she added.
"Light-up safety collars are also reflective and can be easily attached over normal collars or fixed around a leash. It also makes sense to get in the habit of carrying a torch which can be used to draw attention and to identify otherwise unseen obstacles and pavement potholes," said Emma.
"An accident can be a very distressing experience for a pet and their owner. Taking time to take extra care can be the thing that saves you and your pet's lives," she continued. It is also important to ensure that your pet stays warm and wears the right clothing for the winter season.
"Older dogs, very young pups or short coat breeds need to be protected from extreme cold. It i vitally important to keep the underside of your dog warm to protect their kidneys and stomach and a well-fitting coat or jumper is a smart investment into your pet's welfare," explained Emma.
Pet owners visiting the Maxi Zoo store at the N4 Axis Centre in Longford can choose from a large range of winter jackets and reflective products for their dogs such as the AniOne Winter Coat Neon from €19.99.
Pet owners should also take note of the fact that their pet uses up far more calories than normal during cold weather and that walks in icy and snowy conditions can also hurt their paws.
Those maintaining the intensity of their summer walking routine should give their pet extra food to compensate for increased calorie burning, paying close attention to the feeding instructions on the packet and adjusting the portion size to the higher calorific requirement accordingly.
"Ice, snow and especially roads and pavements that have been gritted with salt can be harsh on paws. Rub Vaseline or a special paw cream into callused paws for added protection to salt and wipe off your dog's paw pads with a warm, wet towel when you get home," Emma advised.
Pet owners seeking further tips and advice on all aspects of staying safe and protecting their pet during winter are welcome to talk to the pet experts at Maxi Zoo pet store in Longford at any time.