We’re seeing our first cold snap of the year, and like usual with our unpredictable weather, it caught a lot of us off guard! While you’re taking precautions to keep your family bundled up, don’t forget about your animals and plants during this chilly time. It doesn’t take much to make sure that everyone in your family is taken care of.
Potted plants should be brought inside once the temperatures drop below freezing. You can place them in a laundry room or other area near the door so you don’t have to carry them as far– just make sure it’s a room that won’t be too chilly. Plants that are in the ground can be covered with sheets or tarps– it won’t keep everything from freezing, but it helps.
For outdoor cats and smaller dogs, you should create a heat box. All you’ll need is a large cardboard box or other container, some clean dry towels, and a heat lamp that you can purchase at any large store. Place the lamp inside the box and make sure it’s turned on, and that’s it– your pets can climb inside and escape the cold. It’s best to set up your box under a carport or other dry place, because wet cardboard isn’t going to do anything towards keeping them warm. Make sure that your box is large enough to hold all of your pets at the same time, in case they choose to snuggle up for added warmth. Or as an alternative, rig a few different boxes if your yard is large or you have lots of pets.
Another good idea is to build a wind break so that your pets can get out of the windchill. Even relatively warm temperatures can quickly become frigid if the wind is blowing. A heat box serves this purpose well, but you can also set up a doghouse or other similar structure that pets can use to escape the wind. Consider building a kennel or blocking off a section of the yard with a fence to make your pup cozy during the winter.
It’s rare for the South to see temperatures in the teens or lower, but it’s a good idea to be prepared with the knowledge of what to do should that ever happen. While animals can withstand cooler temps down to the 30s or so, if it gets much colder than that, you should consider taking greater steps to keeping them warm. Bring any pets inside that you can. While this can’t be done for some animals, any of your pets that spend any time indoors should be inside when things go below freezing.