With low temperatures sticking around, protect your pets from the cold weather

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- You're probably aware of the dangers to pets when it's boiling hot outside. But cold weather is just as dangerous - if not more so!

As many of us are moving indoors to keep out of the cold, our pets will want a warm place to stay too. During nights of below-freezing temperatures, bring your family pets indoors and out of the cold.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, it`s common belief cats and dogs are resistant to the cold weather just because they have fur - but that`s a belief that is definitely not true. Dogs and cats are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia just like people.

For some, bringing their animals inside may not be an option. If that`s the case for you, the AVMA suggests providing a shelter of some sort with the entrance to the shelter facing away from winds. That shelter should be lifted up off of the ground to prevent heat loss, with bedding that is thick and dry. They even suggest giving them a sweater.

Animals left outdoors should also have access to fresh, unfrozen water. If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, weak or stops moving, get them inside quickly, because those are signs of hypothermia.

If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite consult your vet immediately. It`s also a good idea to check your pet`s paws for split paw pads or bleeding after taking them outside for walks.