CHESTERFIELD (WRIC) - With frigid temperatures, people aren't the only ones who have to stay safe. Local veterinarians and Animal Control are urging people to take extra care of their pets too.
In little dogs, it's harder for them to maintain their body heat than it is for larger dogs. And ideally, all pets should be brought inside tonight.
Pets in this area just don't see this kind of temperature drop. Pets aren't used to it here. They haven't seen it.
Four legged friends can't handle the frigid temperatures as well as you think they might. Dr. Marc May with Deer Run Animal Medical Center says they face real danger if they're left outside.
If you keep your dog outside in a doghouse, even adding extra straw won't be enough with this forecast.
"No animal should be outside," Nay says. "It's just going to be really hard on them."
He says to make sure animals have extra water during these cold winter months. They actually need more water now than they would in the summertime.
Dogs and cats with any sort of breathing problems should be kept out of the cold. Pets can get frostbite quickly just like people.
"The bad part about pets is they'll get it and we won't see it through the fur. It's hidden. So it will be camouflaged by the fur, we won't be able to notice it and typically you don't treat it early worse things can happen."
And even though they have fur, it will not help protect them against single digit temps.
"Go outside tonight with some sweat pants and a sweat shirt and see how it feels. It will be cold. It's just not enough."
Even just walking dogs on a cold sidewalk can injure the pads on their paws. If you have to bring your pet outside to use the bathroom, you should carry it or make sure it can walk on grass. Animal Control officers also say if you don't care for your pet properly and something happens, you could face animal neglect charges.
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