WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Below-freezing temperatures could mean life or death for a pet that isn’t properly cared for.

The executive director of the Wichita Animal Action League (WAAL), Christy Fischer, says the best thing to do is keep them indoors, whether that be in a bathroom, laundry room or garage.

Fischer says if that’s absolutely not possible, make sure to do the following:

  • Give them an insulated house with straw rather than blankets or hay because those trap moisture and may freeze.
  • Ensure the opening of the house faces away from the wind.
  • Water bowls will freeze quickly, so if you don’t have a heated bowl, make sure to check it frequently.

Another thing to look out for is cats or other animals using cars to stay warm. To prevent them from getting hurt, park your car in the garage. Otherwise, bang on your hood before starting your car.

If you do need to let your pets out, make it quick.

“Weather temps like this, they really should be outside no longer than to go to the bathroom and come back inside,” Fischer said. “Hypothermia is an extreme risk. Frostbite for ears, feet, toes is an extreme risk.”

If you make $40,000 a year or less, you are eligible for assistance if you cannot properly protect your pet. If you would like to apply, click here.

To donate to WAAL, click here.