Keep people, pets and plants warm

Published 10:18 am Friday, January 6, 2012

Keep pets warm during the winter


News Intern

During winter months, special precautions should be made to ensure the comfort and safety of the “three P’s” — people, pets and plants.

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Most would agree that the elderly are often affected when the temperature drops during the winter. Many older community members live alone and should be checked on consistently to ensure safety. Belinda Green, Senior Center Director, urges people to keep in contact with elderly family and neighbors during the cool winter months.

“Just a friendly knock on the door or a phone call to check on someone is beneficial,” Green said. “Seniors need people they can trust to make sure they are safe.”

Senior Center member Eleanor Hodges always tries to keep in touch with her friends at the Center.

“We should be calling each other, even if it’s just to check and make sure everyone is okay,” Hodges said. “You have to depend on others.”

Green also notes the amount of phone scams targeting seniors in the winter. Scammers can ask for vital information such as living situations or Social Security numbers.

“Never say you live alone, especially to a stranger on the phone,” Green said.

Family pets are also vulnerable to winter weather. Beth Eck, Bainbridge Humane Society director, advises pet owners to take precaution when it comes to low temperatures.

“It’s best to keep animals inside during the winter,” Eck said. “If they can’t be kept inside, it is a city ordinance to provide proper shelter.”

Eck said that certified heating lamps, insulation, and blankets are good tools for pet houses. These simple items can aid in keeping animals warm and protected from the wind.

When temperatures drop, animals can struggle adjusting to the conditions.

“When an animal isn’t used to the cold, it can be extremely hard on them — especially older and pregnant animals,” Eck said.

When it is necessary for pets to go outside, providing them with a sweater is an inexpensive way to protect them from the elements.

“Having a little coat for your pet is nice, and for them, a coat or a t-shirt is better than nothing at all,” Eck said.

Necessary steps should also be taken when dealing with gardening plants during winter. According to local nursery owner Jeff Jeter, tender plants should be covered or moved inside when frost is expected. Sheets, newspaper or plastic can be used to protect plants from frost.

“Just because it’s not freezing temperatures, frost can still fall,” Jeter said. “You can place your plants under trees, inside or even under the eave of your home to protect them from frost.”

If plastic is used to cover plants, it should be removed during the day to regulate temperatures. Continuing to water plants consistently is also important to their survival.

Jeter also suggests never cutting plants after a frost in attempt to save them. Cutting back plants encourages them to grow and should not be done until winter is over.

As temperatures drop this winter, keeping these tips in mind will help protect pets, plants and loved ones.