Pet owners warn others to bring in animals during cold weather

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - Just like people, pets are susceptible to the cold. Even with their fur coats they can get hypothermia, frost bite and even die when the temperatures drop. 

Myka Demarco brought her three-year-old dog to play at the dog park  but watches her very carefully in the 20 degree temperatures. 

"I would come out here for maybe an hour tops," said Demarco. "You can tell when they start to get a little bit frigid. She stays pretty warm because we are out here running the majority of the time but I wouldn't keep her out here if she was starting to slow down and stay in one spot it would be time to leave."

Kerry Smith also brought his three-year-old dog Smokey to play  but says he would never leave him outside unattended or without a way to get back in. 

"He has a dog door and comes in and out as he pleases but we don't leave him out for very long," said Smith. 

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says there are things to keep in to keep pets safer during cold weather. 

Never shave your dog down to the skin in the winter because a longer coat provides more warmth. Feed your pet a little more because pets burn more energy trying to stay warm. Put booties on their paws for warmth and to protect them from salt and other irritants from hurting their paws.

For more tips visit the ASPCA website

Demarco says she doesn't understand why people leave their pets out in the cold.  

"I got her for the reason of protection for the most part but she's much more than that," said Demarco. "I would think of her as my child, I'm in my 20s, so leaving her outside would be like leaving a child outside and I don't think that's a good thing.

It is not illegal in Knoxville to leave a dog outside but the animal must have sufficient water, food and shelter.  To see the full ordinance visit the city of Knoxville's website

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