Pipes, pets need extra care in cold weather

By Argen Duncan: PNT Senior Writer

With the National Weather Service forecasting temperatures below freezing the next several nights in Portales and Clovis, pipes and pets need a little extra care.

The weather service was predicting thermometers could dip as low as 18 degrees Saturday night and 16 degrees Sunday night.

Veterinarian Kathryn Bartlett of Portales said pet owners should keep dogs and cats inside if the animals aren’t acclimated to the cold.

If they are used to the weather, she said, dogs need a house and bedding to keep them off the cold ground. Cats should also have some sort of shelter.

“People have to be careful with heat lamps,” Bartlett also said.

If animals don’t have room to move away from the lamp and it gets too hot, they may be burned. Bartlett also advised making sure no flammable materials are near the lamp.

Furthermore, she recommends providing outdoor pets with a little extra food because they use more energy than normal by shivering. Owners also need to make sure their animals have unfrozen water to drink, she said.

For short-haired dogs outside, Bartlett said, coats can help. However, the coats need to fit properly so the dogs don’t twist them around and get their legs stuck in odd positions.

As for water pipes, to keep them from freezing, Oracio Zamora of Zamora Plumbing in Clovis recommends that people leave the faucet running a little bit. It doesn’t matter if the hot water or cold is left on.

Also, Zamora said insulating pipes can help, especially for hot water pipes, which freeze first.

Pipes may or may not bust if they do freeze.

“It just depends on what kind of pipes they have,” Zamora said.

Newer “pex” pipes resist breaking, whereas copper or CPVC pipes don’t. If copper or CPVC pipes freeze, Zamora said, someone should turn the water off at the meter to avoid a mess when the water defrosts.

Lastly, he said for pipes on the north side of the building, where the most cold air comes in, leaving the cabinet doors covering pipes open can help by allowing warm air around the pipes.