Prepare and Protect Your Home, Plants, and Pets Before Freezing Weather
By Danica Dodson, Arlington Parks & Recreation
Posted on February 10, 2021, February 10, 2021

Rose bush covered with tarp

As winter weather approaches and freezing temperatures move into North Texas this week, it’s important to take precautions and make sure your belongings and furry friends are safe from these frigid conditions. Arlington Parks and Recreation has put together this list of steps you can take to protect your home, plants, and pets from freezing weather.

Prepare Your Home

Frozen pipes are the last problem you’ll want to deal with when temperatures drop, and to make matters even worse, freezes can cause pipes to burst if preventative steps are not taken:

  • Make sure to place an insulating cover over all outdoor pipes. Detach your water hoses from outdoor spigots and cover the spigots with foam faucet covers. If you don’t have a faucet cover, you can improvise by taping rags or cloth over the spigot for insulation and then covering that with a plastic bag to protect from precipitation.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow warm air to circulate around pipes below the sink.
  • Allow a small trickle of water to drip slowly from indoor faucets that are served by exposed or external pipes to help keep water flowing and prevent pipes from freezing.

Protect Your Plants

Plants in small containers are more susceptible to freezing temperatures because they lack insulation. Outdoor plants in the ground have some natural insulation provided by the earth’s heat, but you can still take steps to protect these as well:

  • If possible, move small potted plants indoors, especially overnight.
  • For larger potted plants that cannot be moved inside, wrap blankets or plastic around containers to insulate heat. Move potted plants to the south side of the house and push them against a wall or against other pots to prevent heat loss from the sides of the containers.
  • Pile a few layers of mulch onto outdoor plants and cover them with a sheet or blanket.

Protect Your Pets

The main threat to pets during cold weather is hypothermia. Pet owners can take special precautions to make sure their animals stay safe, warm, and dry during winter weather:

  • The best way to keep animals safe is to bring all pets indoors during freezing weather. For pets that typically stay outdoors, even bringing them inside a garage or enclosed patio is better than nothing.
  • If pets must remain outside, provide them with shelter in the form of a pet house or insulated cardboard box. Placing blankets and towels inside the shelter and also draped over the top will help to insulate heat and give the pet a cozy place to curl up.
  • Pets that spend time outdoors will need more food during colder weather in order to maintain body heat through increased caloric intake. Make sure pets have access to fresh drinking water in the case that water freezes over.
  • Consider socks, booties, or sweaters for your pet during winter walks, and watch them closely for signs of discomfort such as shivering, whining, or slowed pace.

We hope these tips help you plan ahead and be prepared for whatever winter weather comes your way!

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