BATON ROUGE, La. - With temperatures dipping near or below freezing, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., is urging livestock and pet owners to take special precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of their animals.
"We cannot stress enough that these are serious weather conditions and it is time to protect pets, plants, pipes, and of course, people," Strain said.
Here are some cold weather tips for livestock, pet and plant owners:
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.
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.
"Before cranking up your vehicle in the morning, bang on or open the hood of your car so any feline seeking refuge on the engine can get out," added Strain.
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.