How to protect your property, pets and plants from the freeze

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As temperatures have dropped significantly through the Valley these last few days ag experts are using this as a reminder to protect pets, plants, and pipes from the cold weather.

Freezing temperatures can lead to some challenges when it comes to your day-to-day and it is more than needing extra time to warm up the car.

Think about your most vulnerable family members, your pets. Moving them indoors is a step in the right direction but make sure that shelter is pet proof, like the garage. Household products we keep stored there such as antifreeze are poisonous to animals.

Dr. Chris Dobbins from the Freno Pet ER said, "There is pet safe antifreeze so if you have to use that, at least you can avoid problems using pet safe."

Be careful with the use of heating lamps and pads - in addition to the risk of electrocution, there is potential for thermal burns if pets stay asleep in one place for too long. He adds this is the time of year cats tend to find shelter in warm car engines so give yourself time to check.

As for livestock, Swine Unit Student Manager, Hugo Rodriguez said, "We try to put up metal sheets to protect them from the draft. And for bedding, we bed out here with straw and shavings."

The Swine Unit at Fresno State has someone on site 24 hours a day because pigs have a hard time regulating their body temperature.

"For other livestock, they do have fur and feathers and it's easier for them to cope with the temperature," Rodriguez said.

They say when it comes to any livestock you want to make sure they are protected from the wind and have access to running water so it does not freeze.

If you cannot build a greenhouse or bring your plants inside there is still a way to protect them by using breathable fabric like burlap or a bed sheet.

Fresno State Horticulture from Calliope Correia said, "A lot of the drought-tolerant plants like the succulents hold water within their leaves so that's going to turn to ice and kill the plant."

Be sure not leave them inside or under-wraps too long because they still need the sunshine during the day. As for backyard trees, experts say use Christmas lights - not only are they aesthetically pleasing they radiate enough heat to protect plants.

Do not forget to wrap exposed pipes to keep them from breaking. You can do so by using insulation or shutting the water off and letting pipes drain.
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