Prepare for Freezing Temps

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The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Seal

Baton Rouge, La. (February 12, 2021) – With temperatures dipping near or below freezing in parts of the state early next week, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., is urging livestock and pet owners to take necessary precautions to protect their animals. This is also the time to protect plants, pipes and, of course, people.

“During times like these, it is important to take precautionary measures. If you cannot bring your pets and plants inside, provide adequate shelter or covering. And check on family and friends – if you have an elderly neighbor, please ensure they are safe,” said Strain.

Here are some cold weather tips for livestock, pet and plant owners:

Livestock

Owners should check their livestock and look for signs of stress, illness or injury.
Pay close attention to the young and older animals as they are more susceptible to problems during frigid conditions.
Provide plenty of hay, feed, supplements and water.
Be sure to check water troughs as they can ice over.
If possible, make adequate shelter available. Even a wind-break will minimize exposure to cold winds.

Companion animals

If possible, keep all companion animals indoors. If this is not an option, make sure there is a dry shelter available and have warm blankets for your pet.
Provide adequate food and water. Monitor water bowls as they can freeze during cold weather.
Consider a sweater for your short-haired dog.
Outdoor cats searching for warmth will sometimes crawl underneath the hood of a vehicle. Cats can be injured or even killed when the car is started.

“Bang on or open the hood of your car so any animal in there trying to stay warm can get out before you crank up that engine,” added Strain.

Plants

Move all plants in containers and hanging baskets inside. If this is not possible, group them in a protected area and cover with plastic.
Larger plants can be covered with fabric or plastic.
Thoroughly water plants if the soil is dry.

For plants growing in the ground, mulch them with dry material such as pine straw and leaves.