Meridian Star

October 27, 2012

Watch plants and small animals during cold snap

By Brian Livingston / blivingston@themeridianstar.com
Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Don't forget about plants and animals during a cold snap expected to bring lows in the 30s over the next several days.

    Experts in both areas, Dr. Rick Snyder with the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Crystal Springs, and Dr. Diane Donaldson, a veterinarian with Till-Newman Animal Hospital in Meridian, urge residents to watch out for their flowers and pets during this time of year.

    "Whenever the temps begin to get below 40 degrees then you should bring your plants in," Snyder said. "And these are plants that are in containers that are easily transportable."

    Synder said if residents watch the weather and pay attention to temperatures then they can get their plants through the winter seasons in Mississippi.

    "We aren't known to have long periods of brutal winter weather so if you pull them in at night when it is coldest and let them get the sun in the daytime, you should be OK," Snyder said.

    Pets, especially dogs, can be acclimated to the weather conditions much more easily but Donaldson says there are still some rules to go by.

    "The first cold is not always easy on dogs, especially if there is a wind involved like it is supposed to be this weekend," Donaldson said. "Give the animals some hay, an old blanket or comforter to lie on and turn the doghouse away from the wind. That should make them much more comfortable."

    And if there are young dogs or even puppies who aren't being cared for by their mother, the best bet is to just get them inside altogether.

    "A puppy's thermostat has not gotten to the point where they can keep themselves warm like an adult dog," Donaldson says. "House dogs should only go out to relieve themselves. They should not be left outside. They just aren't used to it."

    As for cats, well, Donaldson says not to worry too much about them.

    "Cats do what they want to do anyway," Donaldson says laughing. "They pretty much take care of themselves in some way."