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Cold weather, cold pets: What could happen to you if you leave your pet out in the cold

Puppies and senior animals are the most vulnerable in this weather, because they can't maintain their body heat properly. (Image: WTVC)

As the temperatures drop down to the teens, you need to bring pets inside.

"It is entirely too cold for them to be outside," said Humane Educational Society (HES) Executive Director Bob Citrullo.

Citrullo says, just like us, your pets can suffer from frostbite and hypothermia in a matter of minutes.

"If we’re outside for even 15 to 20 minutes and we're cold, they’re cold," he said.

Puppies and senior animals are the most vulnerable in this weather, because they can't maintain their body heat properly.

They should only be allowed out for a few minutes at a time.

At HES on cold days, it gets loud inside when everyone's indoors.

During the winter months, Citrullo says they get more calls than usual to check on pets left outdoors.

When his officers get a call, they look for certain things before making a report.

"By law, you must provide shelter, water, food [and] break from the wind," said Citrullo. He's referring to Tennessee state law, which is the same in Georgia.

If you don't follow it, you could face some major consequences.

"If there’s no intent to harm, we’re looking at neglect at a minimum," he said.

In some situations, it could even be animal abuse.

But what if you have no choice and need to leave your dog outside all day? Citrullo has an answer to that.

"Definitely recommend if you are going to leave your animals outside for an extended amount of time, the [dog] house needs to be up off the ground so it does maintain dry air flow underneath and then have some kind of protection in the dog house," he said.

HES says they're always looking for those igloo houses for dog. If you have one, you can drop it off whenever the Humane Educational Society is open.

Stay up to date with the latest weather forecast here.

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