As Central Florida prepares for some of the coldest weather of the season, pet owners will need to take extra precautions.
Veterinarians at the SPCA of Central Florida say if it's too cold for you to be outside, it's too cold for your pets.
SPCA Medical Director, Dr. Becky Rhoades, says it's best to bring your pets indoors before the cold weather sets in. Dr. Rhoades says pets can get just as dehydrated in cold weather as in hot weather, so you'll want to make sure they have plenty of clean water available. Dr. Rhoades says it's also best to use plastic water bowls, which will keep the water warmer.
If you must keep your pet outside, make sure they have a covered, protected area that is heavily insulated with straw or blankets.
Pets that are left outside without protection can suffer severe medical problems, even death.
"They can just kind of shut down, basically. You can see that they won't want to drink, they won't want to eat, they can really shut down and suffer from being hypothermic or being cold," said Dr. Rhoades.
The SPCA plans to beef up some of its kennels Monday night with extra blankets. Even though their kennels are not outdoors, SPCA staff wants to make sure the animals will stay warm throughout the night.
Also, Dr. Rhoades says before you start up your car on a cold morning, be sure to knock on the hood, in case an animal crawled up near the engine trying to stay warm.