Being a pet owner is a huge responsibility. Workers at the Humane Society of South Mississippi give potential pet owners advice on caring for animal, especially in the wake of cold weather.
"There's actually a lot more things that you have to think about than you would think. First of all, just keeping them indoors if the weather is really cold, if you can, is a great idea, or allowing them shelter inside of a garage or something that's warmer if you have outside pets," said Ellen Buntyn, Director of Operations Humane Society of South Mississippi.
Like people, pets can also suffer from hypothermia. Outdoor pets are especially vulnerable to freezing temperatures.
"If you have a dog house for them, you can have a blanket for them to curl up in, and that should, if it's a nice enclosed dog house, they should be find, but certainly, if it's going to be in the freezing temperatures like we saw a few nights ago, you will want to bring them into a sheltered area, even more sheltered than a dog house," Buntyn said.
Short haired dogs are especially prone to the cold weather.
Bundling them up is a very important step.
"Also, it's important to realize that just walking them around outside, taking them out. Short haired dogs might need a little sweater to help keep them warm while they're outside. You can do that to protect them," Buntyn said.
And the cold weather isn't the only threat to pets this time of year.
"This time of year, people take care of their automobiles by putting antifreeze in them and that can pose a hazard if it leaks. It's sweet. Dogs and cats can lick it and that can kill them potentially. So you need to be careful of keeping those chemicals out of reach," Buntyn said.
Humane Society leaders also urge people to check beneath their cars before cranking them in cold weather, because cats often seek shelter in car engines.