(WXYZ) - Temperatures have taken a deep dive in metro Detroit! It's important to make sure your pets are kept safe and warm from the harsh cold.
Outdoor elements such as wind and precipitation can lead to illness, hypothermia and death among animals. Dogs and cats are prone to frostbite on their feet, ears and tails and can suffer within a matter of minutes.
If you know someone who keeps their pet outdoors, persuade them to bring the animal inside.
Similarly, feral cats also need shelter and protection from the bone-chilling temperatures and affecting elements. Cats may freeze, become lost or injured, or even climb into the bottom of a warm car for warmth. Meanwhile, salt and other chemicals can also become irritating to the pads of an animal's feet.
Because extra weight on a cat or dog adds warmth, doubling up on food is recommended.
Lastly, recognize the signs of hypothermia in animals including excessive shivering. Dogs shiver in order to produce body heat and will also breathe abnormally slow. Other signs include a dropping heart rate due to muscle stiffness as well as a loss of coordination. Dilated or fixed eyes and pale gums also may signal the onset of hypothermia.
Immediate treatment of hypothermia is critical. A veterinarian should be sought out immediately.
The Animal Care Network suggests that if you see an animal outside shivering and braving the cold, become that animal's advocate. Speak with the owner first and if needed, contact your local animal shelter.