The weather is expected to drop to 17 degrees tonight, and 18 degrees Saturday night. Hopefully, you have already taken the time to winterize your home and insulate your pipes during the warmer Autumn months.
Here are some important reminders:
- Disconnect outdoor hoses, drain and store the hoses in a protected area.
- Wrap exposed faucets and pipes, including those outside the house or in unheated crawl spaces, attics, garages and other areas.
- If you have a pool, besides keeping the pump running, make sure all the valves are open.
- If leaving town for a few days don’t shut off the heat inside your home, juts turn it down.
Spend less money to protect your plants than replacing them if they’re damaged or die.
First cover your plants with a frost cloth. This allows your plants to breathe but still holds a lot of heat. If you can’t find a frost cloth, a sheet or a blanket will work as well. Try wrapping it around and below the plant. Typically frost cloths run arpund $15.
Second, if there are potted plants you cannot move inside, then move potted plants to a spot where they’re protected from the north wind.
The third tip is to spread at least two to three inches of mulch to protect the roots of plants and trees. Mulch will cost you around $5.
Finally, use water on plants. Watering your plants actually protects them from the cold.
You should also avoid some common mistakes: Don’t cover plants with plastic which prevents plants from breathing. Don’t cut back dead-looking parts of plants after a cold spell. Don’t wait until it’s too cold to cover your plants.
It’s important to remember that a pet’s age, breed or health may affect how they tolerate the cold winter months. If you have questions talk to your veterinarian to make sure you know what is appropriate for your pet.
- Housing: Either brings pets indoors or provide proper shelter for your pet whether they live indoors or outdoors. Indoor pets should have their bed or crate placed in a warm place that is away from drafts. Outdoor pets should have a well insulated house that is wind and waterproof resistant and elevated off the ground so wind and moisture can’t seep inside. Install a door flap to protect against drafts and gusts of wind. Extra blankets and dry straw will also help to increase your pet’s warmth. Room and floor heaters should be kept away from your pet as they are a fire hazard and can cause serious injuries as well. If you have a short-haired breed of dog, to provide extra warmth consider getting him / her a sweater with a high collar with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly to keep them warm. Never shave your dog down to the skin in the winter months as a longer coat will provide more warmth.
- Food & Water: Make sure to provide fresh, clean water for your pet every day. Outdoor pets need to consume 25 to 50 percent more calories than usual because the cold weather tends to deplete their energy.
- Cars can act as Refrigerators: Never leave your dog or cat or child alone in a car during the winter months as they can freeze to death.
- Cats and Cars: It is best to keep your cats indoors during the winter. Not only can outdoor cats freeze, they sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars to stay warm. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. Give an outdoor cat a chance to escape by banging loudly on the car hood before starting your car.
- Antifreeze: Dogs and cats are attracted to the sweet smell of antifreeze which contains ethylene glycol. Even small amounts can kill your dog or cat so make sure to check your car for leaks on your driveway or gutter. Keep containers tightly closed and clean up spills immediately. Check your local retailer for “pet safe” antifreeze.
- Rat Poison: Rodent poisons are commonly used during the winter months. Place them out of reach as they can cause fatal bleeding or kidney failure in your pet.