Cold weather can be life-threatening for pets in Hampton Roads

Young golden retriever sitting at the snow on sunny winter day
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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- During these cold, winter nights humans can put on layers of clothing and they’ll be fine. When it comes to your pets-- that’s not the case.

All they have is their fur and sometimes that’s just not enough

“Temperatures, when they get below freezing, we take a concern for all pets,” said Meghan Conti, with Virginia Beach Animal Control. “Without the proper precautions taken for the weather right now, animals can freeze to death.”

Conti has seen firsthand what the elements can do to a dog or cat.

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“We go to cases on a daily basis where a citizen calls in concerned about a dog or a cat that they’ve seen that’s out in the cold, probably had 10 to 15 of those cases in the last couple of days,” said Conti.

There is not a law that requires owners to bring their pets inside when it’s cold, but they are required to provide adequate shelter, like a dog house.

“It may need to have bedding in it or straw or be covered so that the wind can’t get into it so when the dog goes inside it can maintain its body temperature,” said Conti.

It’s also important that owners check their pets’ food on a regular basis.

“People put water out for their pets and quickly that water freezes,” said Conti.

Some pets can handle colder temperatures more than others, depending on various factors like breed, size and age. Conti says it often comes down to common sense.

“If a pet is outside and they are shivering chances are they are cold and they need to be brought in, they need to be given some source of warmth,” said Conti.

Virginia Beach Animal Control is also asking for the public’s help this holiday season.  If you have any old newspapers you are being encouraged to drop them off at the shelter on 341 South Birdneck Road in Virginia Beach.

The newspaper will be used to line the animals' cages who are in need of adoption.