PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Like humans, pets are impacted by the change in weather and with temperatures expected to get well below freezing this weekend, pet owners need to take precautions.

“If you have a smaller breed type of dog that’s not very thick on like a coat, a fur, like a husky or a shepherd, then you could use blankets. But the thicker, the better. The rule of thumb is if it’s cold for you, it’s cold for them,” Bay County Animal Control Officer Jacob Maloney said. “And they need to be warm just like everyone else to be warm. That’s why most people will just bring their dogs in or have a spot set for them for getting kind of shelter from the wind and being outside altogether.”

Maloney said when it gets closer to freezing temperatures it’s best to bring your pets inside, especially at night or when it’s wet outside.

“If you have full-time outside animals, what they can do is try to provide hay or outside heating devices to try to keep them warm in their areas,” Maloney said. “Adding hay to the outside of the dogs can actually or cats depending on if you have a cat or can actually curl up in that to stay warm during the cold months.

Maloney said people often overlook these types of scenarios.

“A lot of people grow up with dogs with their parents that do all the decision-making for the animals, and they just don’t realize those decisions, so it’s an opportunity to educate everyone on best practices for taking care of animals during extremely hot weather and extremely cold weather.”

If it gets too cold, the county may decide to open up a warm shelter.

If you have any questions you can give Bay County Animal Control a call at (850) 767-3333.