Halloween can be a scary time for animals

Pets and Technology

Technology has come a long way recently in helping to make our lives more convenient and also in helping us stay in contact with loved ones. Did you know that there are gadgets to help you stay in contact with your best friend also?

Read on. We will take you through the best and most accessible gadgets to help you connect and keep your best friend safe in the year ahead.  We have everything for the super tech pet owner to the person who just wants to stay in contact with their pet during the day

Glow Track Light Up Collar for Cats

 This reflective tracking collar for cats glows or blinks with an LED built-in light, for simple visual tracking of your kitty. You can also pimp this little gadget up by adding a tiny lightweight camera. This will give you a cat’s-eye view of your cats world.

Self-Cleaning Litterbox

 What cat parent would not love this? These self-cleaning litter boxes rotate each time your cat uses it and disposes the used litter in a removable drawer. Magic! These little babies aren’t cheap through. They average between 630-700 euro.

Treat Dispenser Camera

You know that feeling when you’ve had a long day at the office and you can’t wait to go home to see your pet? Now, you don’t have to wait until you get home to see your pet. Treat dispenser cams allow you to talk to your pet at home on your phone! You can even give them a treat at the press of a button!!  The camera also releases calming scent to keep your pet relaxed until you get home.

Pet Camera Smart Ball

If you love the idea of seeing your pet on camera but don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles that come with the treat dispenser camera this could be the gadget for your pet!  This little wonder allows you to connect a ball to your smart phone so that you can enjoy a play date with your pet, even when you aren’t at home!

Smart Drinking Fountain

After all of that playing and running around our pets can get thirsty. Most cats and dogs prefer running to stagnant water. This Smart drinking fountain filters the water to remove any chemicals present. It is so smart that it turns itself off when it’s not being used.

Tick Repellent Collar

This rechargeable device will keep your doggo tick free. It is chemical and scent free

Slow Feeding Bowls

Does your dog wolf down their meals causing indigestion and other problems? Then a slow feeding bowl could be the answer. These bowls help slow down your pets eating whilst providing stimulation for his brain.

Dog Cooling Collar

This nifty little bandana keeps your pet cool in warm weather. Just wet it and wrap it around your dog’s neck. The special fabric stays cool for hours.

Remember that no matter how expensive or high tech the gadgetry your pet will always prefer time spent with you, but these are a good alternative in today’s busy world especially as we hope to return to the office sometime in 2022!!Please consider giving a donation to the KSPCA so that we can continue our work in 2022

Is Your Pet a Healthy Weight?

We all dearly love our pets and like to treat them now and again with their favourite titbits. However, sometimes we might be harming our pets by rewarding them too much. It’s easy to do especially when we are celebrating ourselves. Here are some tips that will help keep your pet fit and healthy for the new year.

Ideal Weight for cats

An indoor/ outdoor cat should ideally weigh between 8- 10 pounds.  This is, of course dependent on cat breed and frame. If your cat weighs more than it should it might be a good idea to look at its diet and lifestyle.

If your cat is indoor only it is easy to manage their weight because it is only you or your family feeding it. You can control the diet a lot more than an indoor/outdoor cat.  If your cat is an outdoor cat and is overweight, chances are that it is being getting fed by several kindly neighbours. There are ways to prevent your cat becoming overweight due to neighbours feeding him/her. You could firstly try talking to your neighbours and request that they don’t feed the cat. If you don’t want to speak directly to our neighbours you can also buy a customized pendant that you can hang from your cat’s collar asking people not to feed the cat.

Make your Cat work for her treats!!

If you want to reward your cat try hiding treats around the kitchen or house. You could also try hiding treats in a paper bag. This will also help satisfy the cats instinct to hunt . Make your kitty work off the treats before she enjoys them!!!

Also try feeding your cat two smaller portions rather than all of their food together.

Ideal weight for dogs

The best way to find out the healthiest weight for your dog is to visit your vet. Your vet will be able to tell you the appropriate weight for your dog based on size, breed and gender.

However you can also check your dog’s weight yourself by checking his  ribs. If your dog’s ribs aren’t extremely prominent and you can easily feel them without having to press hard, then the dog is a healthy weight.  However if you cannot feel your dog’s ribs it could be a sign that he is overweight.

Try swapping treats for wet food ( from their daily allowance)

Another way to keep your dog’s weight down is to feed him in the morning

Establish an eating schedule-if you free-feed, offer meals on a set schedule. Put the food down for a certain time and take up any food that the dog does not eat.

Limit snacks-dogs get a lot of calories in addition to their regular kibble.

Also try replacing biscuits, cheese, and other high-fat treats with fresh chopped carrots, apples, or green beans

 

Dangers of Your Pet being Overweight

Carrying excess weight makes both cats and dogs much more likely to develop diabetes, urinary disease, arthritis, and to have a decreased life expectancy.

By following these simple tips you can help ensure that your furbaby is a healthy weight with a good life expectancy.  Your pet relies on you to look after him and make reasonable decisions about their life

 

 

 

 

Keeping Your Pets Safe at Christmas

Everyone loves Christmas but we love our pets too! We’ve compiled a simple guide on how to keep your pets happy and safe this Christmas whilst you are busy celebrating-

Christmas Trees-

The pines and needles from a real pine tree can be harmful and toxic to pets. They can be dangerous if swallowed by your pet. Real Christmas trees also release an oil which can cause excessive drooling in dogs

  • Try putting tinfoil or citrus fruits around the tree to prevent your pet investigating under it!
  • Ensure that you regularly sweep up around your tree
  • Cats and dogs are instantly attracted to Christmas baubles. Try hanging pet-safe decorations from your tree such as plushies, alternatively make your own safe and sustainable decorations from pet safe materials such as paper and card
  • Try holding off putting anything under the tree until the last minute. Your dog is bound to smell the cake meant for Aunt Mary and may tear it to shreds!

Festive Plants-

As well as our Christmas tree there are other plants such as holly that can be harmful to pet at Christmas. Holy berries and leaves are toxic to pets and can lead to salivation, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

  • Place plants out of pets reach if possible

Christmas Tree Lights

Although lovely to us, Christmas tree lights represent a safety hazard where cats and dogs are concerned.  Your pet is likely to be attracted to the sparkling lights but they may pose an electrical or choking hazard.

  • Try to hang lights on higher branches.
  • If you really want to hang fairy lights try putting some Vaseline on the cord. Pets do not like the taste of Vaseline!

Maintain some type of routine with your pet

Whilst humans love the hustle and bustle of a full house at Christmas, your pet might not.

  • Try to keep a quite calm corner for your pet that they can retreat to if they get stressed by strange sounds or smells (or people!)
  • Remember to make time for your pet even though you might be very busy. Your pet will still want some pets, attention (and a walk)
  • If your cat is particularly stressed out at this time of year you might consider using an electrical diffuser such as Felliway

Make some Christmas treats for your pet

One way of showing your pet you love them is to bake some home-made treats. You can cut them out in silly shapes for your pet.

Our Christmas dinner is not good for cats or dogs. Things like gravy, turkey, chocolate, alcohol and mince pies are very harmful to pets and can make your pet very sick.  Instead invest some time with your pet and make some festive fun treats. Your pets will thank you for it.

 Easy Christmas Cat Cookies

Ingredients

Salmon

Egg

Flour

Place the canned salmon, undrained, in a food processor.

Pulse the salmon to chop finely.

Combine the chopped salmon, egg, and flour in a mixer until it forms a dough.

Roll out 1/4-inch thickness on a floured surface and cut into shapes.

Bake until lightly browned and crispy: about 20 minutes.

 

Christmas Dog Biscuits

Ingredients

whole wheat flour

1 egg

cup peanut butter

1cup water

2 tablespoons honey

 

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl combine flour and the egg. Add peanut butter, water, honey and stir until you have stiff dough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/2 inch thick and use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden.

 

We hope that you and your pet have a wonderful Christmas. We hope that these tips will help keep your furry friends safe

Halloween can be a scary time for animals

Keeping your animals safe at Halloween

Halloween is a spooky, scary and fun time for us humans however, many pets and wildlife will find this time of year terrifying. We’ve put together some tips to help you keep your animals safe at Halloween:

Dogs and Cats

Ideally, you should bring your animals inside at this time of the year to reduce the noise they are exposed to. If you need to leave your animal outside, make sure they are in a secure and safe location they can’t escape from. They must have a secure place to hide indoors if they are frightened by the noises of fireworks and trick-or-treaters calling to the door.

Leaving the lights low and playing the radio or television can help drown out some of the sounds as it can be a stressful time for them. Pet owners can help train their dogs and cats to become accustomed to the sounds of Halloween fireworks by playing similar sounds at low volumes. It is also important our pets are kept safe in a secure room where they cannot dart out an open door. 

Make sure your pet is wearing an ID tag and is microchipped. If they escape it will make it easier for you to be reunited. Microchipping is a legal requirement for all dogs and puppies.

Walk your dogs during the day and earlier evening, when fireworks are less likely. 

As difficult as it may be, try not to react to your pet showing signs of fear. Reacting can reinforce your pets fear. Licking objects such as toys filled with treats can help ease your pet’s stress. Playing with your pet is a great way to distract them, if they are not too frightened.

Keep sweets and Halloween decorations out of reach of your pets. Chocolate and raisins are highly toxic to pets, as are any sweets containing the sugar substitute xylitol. Ingesting foil or plastic wrappers can also lead to digestive problems and may require surgery. If your pet does ingest something toxic, contact your vet immediately.

Not all pets will tolerate wearing costumes and it may cause them undue stress. Only dress up your pet for Halloween if you know they enjoy it. If you do choose to put your pet in a costume, make sure it does not limit your pets movement, vision, ability to breathe or behave normally. Remember that costumes can be very warm, and can prevent your pet from regulating their body temperature. Don’t use costumes with any small, chewable pieces or toxic paints or dyes and don’t leave your pet unsupervised while wearing a costume. 

Small Animals and Birds

Bring your outdoor pets, including small mammals or birds, indoors into a secure garage or shed where they are protected from any loud noise or fireworks. You can also cover hutches or cages with blankets to act as soundproofing.

Wildlife

Hedgehogs go into hibernation this time of year and often sleep in woodpiles or heavy scrub and leaves. Be sure to check under all woodpiles before lighting any bonfires to ensure there is no wildlife hibernating. Some outdoor decorations such a fake spider webs or string lights can trap wild animals. Be careful about where you hang them and remove them quickly after the festivities.

Horses

Horses, ponies and donkeys should also be microchipped. You should stable your animals if you live in an area with a lot of Halloween related noises or fireworks. Securely stabled horses are less likely to escape or injure themselves when spooked.

Unfortunately, stray animals can fall victim to abuse or cruel Halloween pranks. If you witness animal cruelty:

Contact your local Garda station immediately 

Contact KSPCA: 

                       Monday-Friday 9:00 – 17:00

                       Telephone: 056 777 1635

                       For emergencies: 086 817 2167

Diet tips for cats

Tips for Feeding your Cat

We’re taking a look at some tips of feeding you cat to keep your feline friend happy and healthy. Some food items that have long-standing, but not necessarily true, acceptance as being fine for your cat may not be the best option to keep your cat fit. 

Firstly, buying tins and pouches of cat food is how the vast majority of people feed their cats, which is perfectly fine, and you may notice on the packaging the manufacturer recommends a certain amount of dry food in addition to wet food. This is important as part of balanced diet plus dry food can help stop and reduce the build-up of plaque on your cat’s teeth.

Cats generally eat a few small meals per day and often won’t eat a full pouch in one go. Little and often is key to satisfying their hunger and we recommend splitting their meals up this way. It’s best to dish out half a pouch each time as this will ensure the food doesn’t dry out or attract flies in the Summer months.

Cat food aside, the temptation is to feed your cat scraps or treats from your own dinner but it’s worth knowing what is and isn’t healthy for your feline’s tummy!

Fish is a food that is always associated with cats, but things aren’t so simple. Raw fish is a no-no and any fish you give to them should always be cooked. Just like us roasted, grilled or poached salmon is a healthier option for your cat, rather than fried. Never season the salmon or add other flavourings, dressings or ingredients, as these can be toxic to cats.

Salmon contains protein, omega 3 fatty acids and nutrients that are good for cats but it should not make up the main part of your cat’s diet. Cats can actually become addicted to salmon and could start to refuse other foods, so if you are feeding your cat salmon use it as an occasional treat, if at all.

Like salmon, tuna contains proteins, amino acids, antioxidants and vitamins and is therefore great for cats but only in small quantities. The tuna should be cooked and never feed your cat raw tuna. Canned tuna isn’t the best option in terms of essential nutrients but if you do choose canned tuna, choose tuna water or brine rather than oil, as oil is fattening and not healthy for your cat.

It is important to note never give kittens tuna because they are much smaller and have a higher risk of developing steatitis, a feline intestinal disease, or mercury poisoning from consuming fish.

Believe it or not, despite the expression “The cat that got the cream”, you shouldn’t give your kittens or cats dairy products. Most cats are actually lactose intolerant! Sure, he or she will lap it up but it is best to avoid it. 

On the topic of drinking, many cats don’t drink as much water as they should and their dislike for water can lead to a dehydrated cat. One trick is to leave small dishes or pots of water in different locations, such as in the shade in the garden, by the cat flap and beside their food when feeding your cat. Ensure you refresh the water rather than leaving it there for days. No one likes stale water!

Animal Safety in the Garden

We all love to get outside and play with our pets in our garden, but there are some things that can pose a risk to your pet. Below we run through some of the main risks but this is not a limited list of risks. You should always supervise your pet when they are playing outside.

Ground covers

Bare dirt in your garden can be an area which may tempt your dog to dig up. It can also be convenient for cats looking for a toilet area. If you have an outdoor cat, you can create an area in the garden convenient for your cat to use as a toilet. Sand is a common choice for cat toilet areas, and this will help keep them out of your flower beds. To avoid your garden being dug up and used as a public cat toilet, try ground covers such as mulches.

If placing mulch in your garden be careful what material it is made of, particularly if your dog is known to chew. Bark mulches are tempting for dogs to chew on which can be harmful if the mulch is not dog friendly. Cocoa bean mulch comes from the chocolate industry, it has an appealing scent but is dangerous for dogs when eaten.

Garden Chemicals, Tools, and Equipment

It goes without saying, you should always protect your pets from garden chemicals. To protect your pet from fertilisers, insecticides, and other garden chemicals make sure to store them in a safe location. If storing these in the shed, there is most likely sharp tools here too, ensure that there is no holes or hidden access that your pet may find a way in.

When purchasing garden chemicals keep in mind that organic, eco-friendly, or natural products are still toxic for your pet. Fertilisers can give off an attractive scent which entices pets. When it comes to natural fertilisers (bone, blood, seaweed, manure, compost) these too can be risky for your pets.

Avoid using non-organic slug pellets, these are toxic to all wildlife, especially your pets. Lungworm can be contracted from eating infected slugs/snails. Signs and symptoms of lungworm include coughing, lethargy, breathing difficulty, and bleeding for longer than usual. Avoid additive in ponds as dogs are tempted to drink from these.

Compost Piles and Bins

In a dog’s world, compost bins may smell amazing! However, the rotting organic material inside them can contain dangerous bacteria, molds, and other pathogens. The food scraps are also dangerous. Foods such as grapes, raisins, onion, avocados, and tomatoes can be harmful to your dog. Thus, it is critical that you ensure your pet can not gain access to your compost bin.

Plants

Many plants common throughout gardens in Ireland are toxic if ingested and can also cause irritation for us humans and our pets. Various plants can cause mild to severe effects, and some of these are more tempting, and riskier to our pets than others. These plants include chrysanthemum, aconite, buttercup, daffodil, foxglove, hydrangea, oak, tomato, wisteria, and yew. Also, edible garden vegetables, berries, and fruits, which are delicious for us humans are toxic for our pets.

Also, take care with stone fruits which are a choking hazard even if the fruit is non-toxic. Research plants before placing them in your garden, you can still have a beautiful garden if you have pets, there are many plants which are not dangerous for dogs. For example, snapdragons, Michaelmas Daisies, camellias, rose, sunflowers, elaeagnus, centaurea (cornflower), impatiens and calendula. If worried about your pet and think they may have digested part of a plant, please call your vet.

 

Hedgehogs Need Our Help

Hedgehogs emerge from hibernation in Ireland during spring months, ready to breed and forage for food. They mostly live in our hedges but have also been found in meadows, forests, and suburban gardens. Once they’ve awoken, they must significantly increase their weight during the summer months. They accomplish this by scavenging for food during the night and they may even travel up to 3km per night in search of food, putting them in danger.

Hedgehogs are one of the most commonly killed mammals on Irish roads. Hedgehogs could survive up to ten years however many do not make it past their second year. A study conducted on the age of hedgehogs killed on Irish roads found 54% of road-killed hedgehogs were less than one year old.

Hedgehogs are in steep decline throughout Ireland, the UK, and elsewhere in Europe. Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals they are usually not seen during their travels unless found killed on our roads. To gather more information on our hedgehogs and their distribution the National Biodiversity Data Centre and NUI Galway have come together to create the Irish Hedgehog Survey and are asking people to log their sightings of hedgehogs across Ireland. You can help by recording your sighting here!

What to do if you find one

If you come across a hedgehog in your garden you can leave them some food. The best type of food to provide them is a wet cat or dog food. Hedgehogs can not digest milk or bread properly, and fruit or nuts are not suitable either. They may still eat these items, but they may cause illness or injury to the hedgehog from digesting them. A shallow bowl of water for the hedgehog to drink from should also be provided.

You can also make your garden more hedgehog-friendly by doing some of the following actions. Check out our Hedgehog Guide too for some more tips and ideas!

Make your garden more attractive to hedgehogs. Leave an area that is never disturbed to become overgrown and allow leaves and twigs to build up. This will help attract insects that hedgehogs love to nibble on. This area will also be an attractive location for them to build their nest. If you have a garden pond, make sure that there is a gentle slope for hedgehogs. If this is not possible you should block access to the pond as hedgehogs can drown in water. The same goes for drains around your garden – fill or cover them to protect any hedgehogs from falling in.

If you are using a netting on your plants don’t let the netting reach the ground. This can result in hedgehogs becoming tangled in the net. Another gardening action to take is to be vigilant. Check long grasses before strimming/cutting. Also, check compost heaps before sticking your fork in to ensure no sleepy hedgehogs are hiding! Avoid using chemicals throughout your garden in particular slug pellets as these can be harmful. A slug pellet alternative is to use eggshells. Wash and crush used eggshells and then scatter these around the base of your plants to deter slugs.

Don’t forget to read and share our Hedgehog Guide with friends! And you can also donate to help us protect and support animal welfare by clicking here. 

 

Download Hedgehog Information Guide Here

Finding Young Birds

One of the highlights of the summer bird season is seeing the first juvenile birds emerge from their nests. In spring and summer, it’s typical to see young birds sitting on the ground or hopping around without their parents.

These young birds are called fledglings and they are at least 13/14 days old. The fledglings can have short wings and tails meaning they have not mastered flying just yet. But they can walk, hop, and flutter around. You may find them down low or on the ground, after they leave their nest, not to worry though, their parents are nearby even if you can’t see them.

How to tell the difference between an adult bird and a fledgling?

Sometimes it can prove difficult to spot the differences as fledglings may be the same size as their parents when they leave their nest but there are some things you can look out for. Don’t depend on fluffy feathers to indicate the age of the bird. Feathers on an adult bird can be fluffy too, especially after they have a wash and fluff them up. You can look for behavioral cues to tell the difference. Young birds may be noisier when calling to their parents and they can be less fearful of humans as adult birds.

How to tell the difference between a nestling and a fledgling?

If a young bird has a lack of feathers or has a fluffy down it is most likely a nestling. Nestlings can sometimes fall out of their nests. If the location of the bird’s nest is known, it can be possible to return them to their nest if they appear strong and healthy. However, parent birds can sense when one of their chicks is dying or sick. In this case, they will push the nestling out of the nest to allow them to focus on their healthy chicks.

Should I help a fledgling on the ground?

Interfering with fledglings can cause more harm than good. It may appear as though the bird has been abandoned. Their parents are most likely watching from nearby or collecting food. You should leave them where they are so their parents can find them. If the young bird has a full covering of feathers, they most likely left the nest on their own and should be left alone as their parents are nearby looking after them.

In a situation where a fledgling is in a dangerous location such as a busy road, it would be best to move them to a safer spot. Ensure you move them as close as possible to where they were found so they can hear their parents call.

Removing a fledgling from the wild will reduce their chances of survival and is not recommended. However, it is a last resort if the fledgling is injured or has definitely been abandoned by its parents.

So, if you do come across a fledgling here’s some things you can do:

  • Stay back – you may have scared the parents away. Watch from a distance and you should spot the parents soon.
  • Move – only if the bird is in a dangerous location. If it’s in your garden, you can place the bird in a higher location such as a hanging basket.
  • If possible, if you have cats try to keep them inside if you spot a fledgling on the ground in your garden.

 

To read more about nesting season in Ireland click here, or to donate to help us protect and support animal welfare by clicking here!

Visiting the Beach with your Dog

Visiting the beach with your dog can be a great way to switch up your daily walking routine. The beach can be a place for running free, the sea to play and splash in and lots of room to stretch their legs and tire themselves out. Keep reading to find out why a visit to the beach can be a great day out. And make yourself aware of what you should look out for to keep your pet safe.

 

Benefits of Visiting the Beach

Our little green island is full of wonderful, beautiful beaches. These beaches have a huge open space for dogs to run around which is sometimes restricted in other walking locations. The open space provides opportunities for ball games, recall training and some added bonding with your furry friend. Digging and exploring throughout the vast amount of sand are fun activities for your dog too. This open space helps burn energy for dogs, especially those extra energetic dogs. This can be particularly helpful for those dogs who require more exercise to release some of that extra energy once a week.

If your dog is not up for running around, they can make some new friends with other dogs that are on the beach too. Another element of the beach that is great for your dogs is the sea water. Many dogs love water, especially retrievers or spaniel. These dogs love running in and out of the waves playing fetch and have lots of fun.

 

It’s Physically Beneficial for You Too!

Being in a natural environment is good for your furry friend by stimulating their minds with different sounds and textures of the beach. But it is also good for you too. A visit to the beach can be great for your mental and physical health. Being away from city noises can be refreshing as beaches are one of the most natural environments to visit. In current times especially, there is more stress and anxiety, but getting out and about in the fresh air can really has positive effects on reducing stress and your overall mental health.

Walking on the sand can also be a stress reducer, it’s peaceful and relaxing which reduces your stress making you happier and healthier. Also, walking on the sand helps build up strength. The sand is soft so when your foot sinks down into it your muscles need to work harder to push you forward for your next step which strengthens your ankles and foot muscles which in turn strengthens your whole leg. If you do this with no shoes on, your little muscles that help support the arches of your foot are also strengthened. Because walking on sand is more effort, it burns more calories, and because it is such a natural peaceful environment people tend to exercise longer too. So, you are not only reaping benefits from the fresh air, but you get some exercise in too, it’s a win-win situation!

Be Aware of the Dangers

Fishing Hooks

Around coastline there are many fishermen who spend their spare time fishing form beaches and harbors. While most are responsible and take everything home with them, sometimes things are left behind. However sometimes fishing lines can snag a rock and the hook gets lost in the water. The hook can washed back up on the beach, sometimes bait can still be on the hook which dogs sniff out. Keep your dog away from any old fish or bait on the beach. These fishing hooks can cause serious damage if swallowed or if they get stuck in your dog. Also, it is best to make sure your dog avoids dead bait/fish, you don’t know what bacteria is in it.

Litter

We are all aware of the climate change crisis and how waste and water pollution is a huge problem around the world, Ireland included. There are many ways for litter to end up on a beach, be it from being washed ashore from some unknown location, dropped by people on the beach, or blown on to the beach from an over full rubbish bin. With the tide coming in twice a day, moving and churning sand causes litter to be buried underneath which causes problems for your dog. This litter can include plastic bottles, oil drums, syringes, glass, sharp metal, rusty nails in driftwood to name just a few. Keep an eye on your dog and if they start digging make sure to check what their scent is on to.

Another dangerous litter problem which is common during summer months is people leaving hot charcoal behind after a barbeque. Charcoal is sometimes tipped onto the sand in an effort to extinguish it or disposable barbeque trays are just left behind. Be aware of your surroundings to protect your dog from being burnt. As always, when visiting the beach take only memories and leave only footprints.

Sea Water

All that running around can make your dog thirsty particularly if it is a warm day, but your dog may react to drinking water from the sea or rock pools. As humans we know not to drink salt water, but as far as our furry friends know, they are thirsty and there is plenty of water for the taken on a beach. Try to avoid this by bringing fresh water with you on your excursion. If a dog drinks too much salt water their body starts taking water from their blood into their intestines which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration.

Sun & Sand Burn

Some dogs have a thicker coat of hair which helps block sun rays and acts as a natural sunblock. However, for dogs who have short/thin hair or if they have bald patches care must be taken. You can purchase dog sun cream from most pet stores, which can help protect your furry friend. Another way your pet can burn while at the beach is the hot sand. With the sun beating down on the sand all day, the temperature of the sand rises.  This can cause damage to your dog’s paws. You should wait until it gets cooler in the evening or early morning to go for your walk.

Sea creatures

Jelly fish may look striking, but they pose a danger to both humans and animals alike. Most of the jellyfish found after being washed ashore are more than likely already dead. However, they can still sting for many weeks afterwards. Your dog may encounter a jellyfish on the sand or when playing in the water. It is important to note the type of jellyfish to help heal your pet if have an intense reaction. The chart below has the six most common types of jellyfish in Ireland which may be helpful in identifying jellyfish. Common symptoms of jellyfish stings include but are not limited to vomiting, excessive drooling, swelling, retching, licking the affected area, and difficulty breathing. If you are concerned your dog was affected by a jellyfish, please contact your veterinarian.

 

 

The beach can be fun for both you and your dog. It is a great way to change the environment of your walks. During warmer days, early mornings or evenings can be a great time to bring your pet for a walk. If you are aware of things to keep an eye out for, you’ll have a great time at the beach! Just don’t forget your own sun cream too! For more information on caring for your dog during warm days read our post Keeping your Dog Safe this Summer.

 

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Nesting Season

Nesting Season

Nesting Season Regulations

The 1st of March marks the beginning of nesting season. Meaning hedgerows around Ireland protected by law for most of spring and the entire summer seasons in Ireland. Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976, as amended by Section 46 of the 2000 Amendment Act, prohibits the cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction of vegetation. With certain strict exemptions, from 1 March to 31 August, typically relating to roadside hedge cutting for road safety purposes.

Why Nesting Season is Important

Believe it or not but our hedgerows are wonderful habitats. Creating sanctuaries for up to 35 wild bird species, such as robins, wren, blackbirds, and thrush. These birds all nest in our hedges which support a rich diversity of wildlife such as birds, bees, insects, butterflies. This diversity of wildlife helps fight the climate change crisis by breathing in and storing carbon. Hedgerows are also used by barn owls and bats as essential transport corridors. They are essential to our biodiversity which highlights the need to protect them.

Our biodiversity contributes nearly €2.6 billion every year to the Irish economy. This is in the form of ecosystem services such as water/air quality, fertile soil, or pollination. Tree cover in Ireland being the lowest in Europe. Alongside biodiversity loss throughout the country, our hedgerows are a crucial element in protecting our environment.

 

How you can help

Build a Bird Box

Many of our bird species are in decline, even some of the most common birds you spot in your garden. This is mostly down to habitat degradation and due to the way, we use and manage land. So, when it comes down to it, humans are the cause of less natural nesting sites for our wild birds. That’s where the wildlife act comes into play, to protect habitats and nesting sites. There is another action you can do from your home, create new nesting locations in the form of bird boxes. The diagram below can help you build your own nest box, and you can paint or decorate however you like!

 

Place a Bird Box in your Garden

You can put up a nest box at any time of the year, even during or after nesting season. Although if you put it up after March you may need to wait until the following nesting season to see any action in your bird box. But it will give the birds time to scope out and investigate nesting locations for the following spring. If you find that your bird box is not being used for a few seasons perhaps change the location. (Always wait until after August to do this in case, there is a next inside that you were not aware of). Research the best place in your garden to place your bird box, ideally it should be located at least 2m from the ground. You can place it on a fence, tree, or wall, and use a wire strap instead of nailing it to the tree.

 

 

 

Diagram

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Keep Your Dog Safe This Summer

With warmer days rolling in, there are a few steps you can do to protect your dogs this summer. Summer usually means getting outdoors more, this is true for dogs too. However higher temperatures are not fun for everyone, it can be dangerous for dogs who can suffer from the heat. Dogs can be prone to sun burn and heatstroke more than humans if not checked regularly. With special care and regular checking in with our furry friends we can all enjoy the weather this summer. The following information outlines what you should and should not do on hot days.

 

Caring for your dog on a hot day

It is essential you keep an eye on your dog when temperatures are higher. As humans we know when to hydrate, cool ourselves down and rest in the shade when the weather is hot. Our furry friends cannot protect themselves without our help. You should try to keep your dog inside away from the heat of the sun. On warmer days if you happen to be away from home ask a neighbour to check in on your pet. You should also create a cool shaded space for your pet to escape to when they are outside.

When away from home make sure your pet has two water bowls just in case one gets knocked over. You can also add some ice cubes to keep the water cooler for longer. To cool your pet down, try lightly spraying them with a light sprinkle from the hose. For more fun you can give them a paddling pool to allow them to cool down. Always watch your pet when they are playing around water, never let them swim unsupervised.

You should avoid the hottest hours of the day when walking your pet. Aim to bring them for a walk in the early morning or evening when temperatures are cooler. Always bring water on your walks and take regular breaks in shaded spots if needed. If it is still quite warm perhaps take shorts walks and avoid hills or areas that require strenuous activity. Don’t forget about their paws, the ground and concrete can seriously burn your dog’s paws if it is too hot. Try walking on grassy areas or in a wood/forest where the ground would be cooler in the evenings.

Things you should avoid on a hot day

It goes without saying you should not forget to check in on your dog. If you are leaving your home do not forget to leave out more than enough water. This is very important in keeping your dog cool and also hydrated throughout the day. Avoid exercising your dog during the warmer hours of the day aim to bring them for short walks in the evenings or early mornings when it is cooler outside. Excessive exercise can exhaust your dog, don’t let them over do it when temperatures are higher.

It’s not recommended to travel but if you have to travel with your pet, do not travel in a poorly ventilated vehicle, make sure you provide cool air and start for breaks on your journey. And not under any circumstances should you ever leave your dog in a car or conservatory on a hot day. Not even with the windows open or air conditioning on. On a 23°C day, the temperature inside your car will reach 43°C in under a half an hour, you wouldn’t want to be stuck in this situation so do not put your dog through this suffering as it can lead to potentially fatal heatstroke.

 

How to tell if your dog has heatstroke

During hot weather you should always check in with your pet. By keeping an eye on them you may spot these common symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. These symptoms are the easiest to detect if your dog has heatstroke but there are more symptoms than what’s listed here. If you are concerned about your dog acting sickly, tired, or unusual during the hot summer days, do not ignore it! Give your local vet a call because keeping your dog safe and healthy is the number one priority.

Excessive panting – If your dog is panting continuously and faster than usual, they could be overheated. Dogs with flat faces are more susceptible to heatstroke due to not being able to pant as efficiently.

Dehydration – Signs that your dog may be dehydrated include dry nose visible tiredness, excessive panting, and sunken eyes.

 

Drooling – Watch out for lots of drool or droll which may be thicker and stickier than normal.

Fever – Check your dogs’ nose, if it is dry and hot instead of being wet and cool, they may have a fever. If your dog’s temperature is above 41.1?C it is abnormal and should be checked out.

Gums – If your dog’s gums have changed colour (bright red, grey, bluish, purple) and are not their usual colour, your dog may be dehydrated.

Lack of Urine – Your dog may have trouble producing urine if they are dehydrated or overheated.

Muscle tremors – Heat exhaustion can cause dogs to shiver or shake regardless of the temperature outside.

Lethargy – If your dog is weak, napping more than usual, or struggling to stand up or walk they may be over heated.

Vomiting/diarrhoea – Abnormal soft stool or stool containing blood in it is a red flag for heat exhaustion.

Dizziness – If your dog is struggling to walk straight or starts bumping into furniture it could be caused from dehydration or heat exhaustion.

 

 

 

What to do if you think your pet has heatstroke

  1. Move your dog to a cooler shaded environment preferably indoors and away from the heat.
  2. Lower their temperature by using cool water all over. Do not use freezing cold water as this can be just as dangerous as heat exhaustion, use cool water only. Apply cool water around paws and ears to help reduce fever.
  3. Keep checking their temperature, if it is above 41.1°C it is abnormal, if it drops below this then you can stop applying water. As your dog cools down give them small amounts of cool water, again not cold! And refrain from giving them ice.
  4. Call your vet as soon as possible! If your dog has started to recover and cool down, they still might need to be checked out and monitored. Your vet will advise you further.
  5. When travelling with your dog, make sure you either have the windows down or the air conditioning on to keep the temperature of the car down and to lower your dog’s body temperature.
  6. If they become severely ill you need to get to a vet quickly, do not wait and see if it will pass, your dog may need medical attention.

 

 

Summer is a great time of year to get outside, it can be lots of fun for you and your dog, you just need to pay a little extra attention to your dog on those warmer days. If you are still in doubt or have any questions or concerns about caring for your dog this summer, please contact your veterinarian, they can advise you further. Here at Kilkenny SPCA we take great care of all animals throughout those warm days and would love your support, to donate and help animals in need click here. 

 

 

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