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Tips on how to keep your pets safe in the freezing temps

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) Freezing temperatures are dangerous for people, but they are also especially dangerous for our pets.

Although our pets often have a big fur coat to help them stay warm, being out in the cold for too long is dangerous. Maricopa County Animal Care and Control is sharing tips on how to keep your fur babies safe during low temperatures.

Different breeds have different tolerances for the cold. It depends the breed, their size and their fur coat. For example, a husky may fare much better in these temps than a chihuahua. However, most experts agree it’s unsafe for your dogs to be outside in freezing or freezing temperatures for a long time.

A general rule of thumb is that if you are shivering and cold, your pet likely is as well. You may need to shorten regular walks or even the time your pet is outside to use the bathroom. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are signs to look out for.

If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, or is looking for warmer places to burrow, they need to get inside quickly and show signs of hypothermia. Also, if your pet is missing or lost, it’s crucial to check popular heat sources.

A warm vehicle engine can often be an easy heat source for outdoor pets, usually cats, but it can be deadly. You can bang on your hood or hunk your horn to check if a cat is hiding there.

Check your pet’s paws during walks for signs of cold injury. Bleeding or cracked paws mean it’s too cold for your pet.

Last year, the City of Phoenix updated its animal cruelty ordinance, banning chains as dog tethers and clarifying that pet owners must protect their furry friends from extreme weather. You can face $250 for a first-time offense and possible jail time if cited.

Kim Powell with the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control says if you see a pet outside that looks cold and lost, get them indoors or to a covered area with blankets. You can also take them to MCACC or call the shelter.

To be safe, you can also bundle your pet with a sweater and booties.

If you dress them for the weather, always ensure their clothes and shoes are dry. Any wetness can make them colder.

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