FAIRMONT, W.Va. – As temperatures in the area begin to fall, people begin to bundle up when going outside or choose to stay in the warmth of their homes.

However, what if someone didn’t have a home of their own or had clothes to protect them? Well that is often what many animals and pets face each winter.

For a lab/pit bull mix, like Dakota at the Fairmont Veterinary Hospital, it can be dangerous to be outside in low temperatures for a long period of time.

Veterinarian Joe Romano explained that it’s important for many dog breeds to be brought inside when the temps get extreme.

“They don’t have the coat characteristics that may be safe for them when you start getting into the single digits, the teens, and they should probably be brought in,” said Romano.

Spike, another FHV patient, also stays inside, so he doesn’t have to worry about getting water. But when it’s under 32 degrees, Romano warns against letting a dog’s water bowl freeze, too.

“That water bowl could freeze over, and if we go for an extended period of time with a cold snap, they may not have access to a source of liquid water because the bowl is frozen, so dehydration can occur,” said Romano.

Finally, when in doubt, think of what is needed to stay warm, and provide the same necessities to pets.

“You want to be dry, you want to be up off of the ground, you want to be protected from the wind, so those are the factors that you need to provide for your pet,” Romano said.