Cold temperature advice: Keep pets indoors, don't use ovens for heat

The state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection is reminding Connecticut to keep pets indoors and never use an oven for heating purposes.

These are just two of the state agency’s tips for extreme cold and winter storms. Connecticut is expected to get hit by a major snowfall tonight, dropping up to 10 inches of snow on the southwestern part of the state.

Then on late Friday into early Saturdays, temperatures are predicted to go below-zero in the region.

Here are the cold weather and winter storm recommendations by the state agency:

— Take all pets indoors.

— Never use your oven for heat.

— Never bring charcoal or gas grills indoors (they are a carbon monoxide hazard).

— Use electric space heaters with extreme care; avoid placing them near curtains or other flammable materials, and turn them off before going to bed.

— Make sure all portable heat-producing appliances are unplugged when not in use (irons, hair devices, etc.).

— Use candles only as a last resort, and never leave candles unattended.

— Keep dryer vents clear of snow and ice.

— Check to make sure you have enough heating oil to get through the storm.

— Keep heat at adequate levels or leave faucets open with a slight drip to prevent pipes from freezing.

— Locate the main water shut-off valve in your home and mark it for quick identification. Learn how to turn it off, and educate others in your household. If a water pipe bursts, shutting your home’s main valve quickly will minimize flooding and property damage.

— Leave kitchen cabinet doors open if pipes are subject to freezing. This will allow heat to reach the pipes.

— Don’t use an open flame to thaw pipes. If your pipes do freeze, use a hair dryer or rags soaked in hot water to thaw lines.

— Insulate pipes in unheated spaces like garages, basements, and crawl spaces. This will help prevent frozen pipes, avoiding property damage and the costs of repairs. Additionally, insulating hot water pipes will decrease your wait time for warm water.

— Protect your water meter from icy drafts and freezing temperatures. Most frozen meters are caused by drafts from an open basement door or window.

— Double check your property for drafts as the cold weather sets in. Seal openings in the basement foundation wall where cold air may enter. Stuff holes with insulation and fix broken window panes. A tiny opening may cause exposed pipe or the meter to freeze.

The ASPCA offers the following tips to help keep pets safe and sound during a winter storm:

-Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snow storm; dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears their ID tags.

- Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.

- If it's too cold for you, it's too cold for your dog. Never leave your dog outside during a snowstorm for longer than you would want to be out there with them.

For short-haired or smaller dogs, consider giving them a coat to wear outside to protect them from the elements and the chilly temperature. Pet owners should also consider putting pet booties on their feet to protect them from the harsh conditions.