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Pets Also Vulnerable In Extreme Cold, Experts Urge Caution

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Our pets are members of our family so they need to be treated like one, especially in the bitter cold.

"The best advice is to bring them inside and give shelter. They need that when the temperatures are single digits and teens like this," Executive Director with the Animal Rescue League Dan Rossi said.

No matter the size of your dog, body temperature can drop fast. Body temperature can drop in just five minutes of being outside in the extreme cold.

Even certain dog breeds built for the cold should be watched carefully.

"You want to have a shelter off the ground. You want a wind barrier that is close so the wind is not whipping in. You want material that doesn't hold, like straw," Rossi said.

According to state law, pet owners can be find up to $300 and spend 90 days in jail if their pet is found out in the cold for long periods of time.

The cold is also posing a risk on the roadways. This is why PennDOT is taking action to treat them so they don't freeze over.

"As far as motorists are concerned, we will mix anti-skid material in with salt. Salt starts losing effectiveness with temperatures in the teens," Steve Cowan with PennDOT said.

Saturday afternoon, snow-covered the interstates like 79 North near the Bridgeville exit. This caused white out conditions for drivers. The same thing happened in Oakland by the Peterson Events Center.

Roads were also testy in New Castle. Crews feared the snow and slush freezing overnight.

"Use caution out there. There was white out conditions earlier. Slow down. Use plenty of space between vehicles in front of you so you have plenty of room to stop," Cowan said.

The City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works was also out treating the roads. They worked in 12-hour shifts using rock salt and calcium chloride due to the low temperatures.

The city's snow plow tracker website is also up and running so city residents can track the snow plows in their neighborhood.

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