Protecting your pets from the cold

Warnings are being issued as freezing temperatures pose fatal risks for humans and pets.

While making sure you stay warm during freezing weather, veterinarians say it's also important to think about your furry friends and keep them warm too.

According to Veterinarian Dr. Mark Hayes, there are reminders as the temperatures start to drop. He said the first responsibility is to bring pets inside when temperatures drop in the 20's or colder.

If bringing pets inside is not an option, Dr. Hayes said pets left outside should have water, shelter, and food to promote heat while out in the cold.

He said the right kind of shelter is important to help your pet survive the cold.

"They need good shelter, somewhere they can stay out of the wind and curl up and stay warm. Most dogs, we would like them to have wheat straw or some Bermuda hay or something like that as bedding. Some people put a blanket down, and that's not the best way to stay warm. It needs something that will trap heat," said Dr. Hayes.

Some pet owners said they never leave pets outside in freezing weather and they try to take all precautions to protect them.

Brooke Sayers said, "I have a little sweater for her that she wears when she goes out and then I just keep the heat on inside."

With the frigid temperatures expected this week, veterinarians also say it's important to try and limit your pet’s time and pay added attention to old animals.

Dr. Hayes said, "If there is a big wind chill or if there is blowing wind, you're going to have the potential for pets to become hypothermic and older dogs are probably at more risk for pneumonia when the weather gets really cold. So we worry about our older pets."

It is required by North Carolina law that pets have shelter regardless of the weather.