Tips to protect pipes, pets and plants from the cold

(LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) - Southeast Louisiana could see a cold start to 2018. Forecasters predict temperatures will dip far below average, adding the region could even see snow in the coming weeks.

As the area prepares to combat the cold, think of a few "P" words: pipes, plants and pets.

Pets

Cold temperatures are not a problem for most pets until it drops below 45 degrees. The ASPCA recommends keeping pets indoors when those temperatures fall. If that's not possible, keep them in a warm place that protects them from the wind. For cats and dogs, paws are one of the most sensitive parts of the body, and pet owners should keep them warm.

 

"Trying to keep them in an area that gives off a little bit of sun heat, like an asphalt road, rather than walking on a soggy grass," said Dr. Timothy Leonards with the Animal Health Clinic of Baton Rouge.

For stray cats and other animals who live outdoors, blankets and a cardboard box go a long way.

"Everybody's got a ton of cardboard boxes after Christmas," he said. "You can stuff it and allow a small opening where they can crawl in there and stay warm."

Because many outdoor cats stay underneath vehicles during the cold, you should knock on the car's hood before starting an engine. Doing this will give the animal a chance to escape and avoid getting hit.

Plants

Leaving certain plants outside for more than five or six hours during a freeze can leave some lasting damage.

Citrus plants, crotons and durantas are particularly at risk. But no matter the kind, Liz Morgan with Louisiana Nursery says keep your plants watered.

"It sounds backwards, like [the water] might freeze it, but it insulates the root system and protects it a little better," she said.

There's also a festive way to keep those plants warm.

"Wrapping a plant in Christmas lights is going to put off some heat, pushed onto the side of the house is another good thing, to protect it from the wind," she said.

Pipes

Cover outdoor water spigots with styrofoam and protect any other above-ground water lines with foam insulation.

Indoors, keep open those cabinets under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. The warm air in your home will protect your pipes from freezing.

Other tips

  • If you have a space heater, be sure to plug it directly into the wall socket, not into an extension cord, and make sure to keep any flammable items at least three feet from that heater.
  • If you have any elderly neighbors, friends or relatives, don't forget to check up on them.

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