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Minnesota Veterinary Hospital Blog

This Saturday is Pet Fire Safety Day

It might seem hard to believe that a pet can start a house fire, but it happens approximately 1,000 times a year in the United States. A curious cat can knock over a burning candle or an excited dog can accidentally bump a burner when jumping up on the stove to sniff dinner. This is one of the reasons that ADT Security Services and the American Kennel Club (AKC) teamed together to sponsor National Pet Fire Safety Day every year on July 15. The other is that 40,000 pets die and another 500,000 are injured in fires every year.
How to Prevent Fires with Pets in the Home
All homes should have a smoke detector with working batteries on every floor. This alerts you to the presence of smoke or fire somewhere in your household, but the alert only comes after the fact. By following these safety tips, you can stop a fire before it starts:
  • Pet-proofing your home may require you to get down on your hands and knees to see things from your pet’s point of view. For example, the stove can be easy for a dog to reach just by standing on his hind legs. Loose wiring may draw the attention of a curious kitty who could then electrocute herself in the process. It’s also important to ensure that you put any hot item away immediately after use, such as an iron.
  • ADT and AKC both offer free window clings that alert emergency responders to the fact pets are in the home. You can write the number and species of pets on it so they know what to expect.
  • If you’re going to be away from home for more than a few hours, place your pets near the front entrance of your home to improve the likelihood of a firefighter finding them. Before you leave, do a quick check to make sure your pet isn’t close to any fire hazards.
  • If you have a fireplace in your home or choose to burn candles, make sure that you supervise your pet around any open flames. Additionally, extinguish all flames before leaving the room and don’t allow your pet to investigate.
Plan How to Escape a Fire with Your Pet
We published a blog post last year about making a written disaster plan that includes your pets. Whether it’s a fire or another sudden catastrophe, make sure you have a first-aid kit and a stash of food, water, and toys already prepared for your pet. Keeping a leash and collar near the door allows you to get out of the house faster if you have a large or frightened animal who tries to run away from you. These are simple precautions, but they can save your pet’s life in a fire when every second counts.
Photo Credit: A Dog’s Life Photo / Getty Images