SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s time to bundle up in western Massachusetts, as cold temperatures can pose serious risks to you, and your pets.

When it’s too cold for you to stay out, it’s too cold for your pet to stay out. 22News spoke with Lori Swanson, interim director at Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Shelter about keeping outdoor cats safe.

“We have to be cautious of cats that are seeking shelter in our vehicles and up under our hoods,” she explained. “Cats are very good at finding little nooks and crannies they can seek shelter in.”

No matter where you live, Swanson suggests beeping your horn or tapping the hood before starting your car. “We don’t have ordinances for leash laws for cats, it’s not uncommon to see cats even in the suburbs,” she continued.

It’s also not a bad idea to invest in a jacket or sweater for your dog, especially for when they’re outside. And to watch out for ice-melting agents that might be on the sidewalk.

“Chemicals that are on the streets and sidewalks. They are not good or healthy for the animals to ingest,” Swanson told 22News. She recommends, “Wiping them down with a wet loth, to make sure they’re not ingesting those chemicals.”

And if you can, avoid short hair cuts at the groomer. Regular brushing will keep your pet’s coat free of mats and tangles until it’s time for that summer groomer.