Every year, approximately 40,000 pets die in a house fire. With this alarming rate, how do you ensure your pet's fire safety?
Table of Contents
- Prevalence of Home Fire in the US
- Tips on How to Prevent A Pet from Starting A Fire
- 1. Avoid using candles for pet's fire safety
- 2.Don't leave a fireplace unattended.
- 3.Cover stovetops to ensure pet's fire safety
- 4.Secure wires and cords for your pet's fire safety
- 5.Make the dog house location hazard-free
- 6.Secure their identification stuff
- 7.Don't use glass bowls
- 8.Install smoke detectors
- Pet's Fire Safety Tips for Dog Owners
- Pet's Fire Safety Tips During the Disaster
- Pet's Fire Safety Tips If You're Away
- Pet's Fire Safety – Tips During Wildfire
- How Do Fire and Smoke Affect Pets?
- Final Thoughts About Pet's Fire Safety
It's such a terrible nightmare to lose not just your home in a glimpse of an eye but also your beloved pet.
So, before this incident happens, what should you do to prevent it?
This time, we're discussing and sharing with you:
- Lots of safety tips you can take before, during, and after a fire disaster
- How to ensure your pet's fire safety when you're away
- The life-threatening effects of fire and smoke on pets
Taking some preventive measures can save their lives, so join us as we uncover our guide for pet fire safety.
But before that, did you know how prevalent house fire is in the US?
Prevalence of Home Fire in the US
In over 500,000 pets affected by a house fire, 1,000 of those fires were started by pets.
Additionally, about 40,000 pets die in house fires each year.
And according to American Kennel Club, 88% of pet owners consider their valued pets as family members.
So, it only makes sense to include them in fire prevention plans and rescue alerts when a disaster strikes.
To help save the affected pets, AKC and ADT Security services launched July 15 as the “National Pet Fire Safety Day.”
Tips on How to Prevent A Pet from Starting A Fire
Since pets are innately curious creatures, you have to prevent them from exploring anything that may cause a fire.
Here are some tips on how to do so.
1. Avoid using candles for pet's fire safety
Are you fond of using candles for romantic dates?
If you have a curious canine, you probably know by now that it can be a hazard to your home.
Flickering flames pique the interest of dogs.
So, you should no longer leave a candle burning unattended, even for a minute.
Purchasing dog-friendly flameless candles are your best bet if you fall asleep on the couch or need to retrieve something from another room.
2.Don't leave a fireplace unattended.
Seeing your dog sleeping in front of a fireplace is a beautiful sight.
However, it can become a hazard if your fido is curious about the flickering flames.
So, before you head out to bed, it'd be better not to leave it unattended because even small coal or spark can start a fire.
Enclosing it with glass is also a bright idea to prevent fire.
3.Cover stovetops to ensure pet's fire safety
The most common cause of house fires started by pets is an accidental nudge of a stove knob.
In 2015, a dog bumped on a burner with his paws when he attempted to steal a pizza.
He almost burned his house down, but luckily his humans rushed to the kitchen in time to put out the fire.
So, it'd be best to cover the knobs when you're not using the stove to ensure pet fire safety.
4.Secure wires and cords for your pet's fire safety
Both cats and dogs have a keen interest in a cord's taste.
That's why you have to keep your lamps and other electrical objects and their cords secured so they won't be able to chew them.
5.Make the dog house location hazard-free
Do you have a dog house in your yard?
If yes, then you need to make sure it's free from brush or any flammable material.
It could be a haven for a fearful dog in the event of a fire.
So, make sure it's away from the house, neighboring trees, and other hazards.
6.Secure their identification stuff
Even if there's no flame, having updated information on your dog's identity is essential from every perspective.
If they're lost (or you're harmed) due to fire or other disasters, proper ID tags and microchipping will help you locate them.
7.Don't use glass bowls
Glass bowls can become magnifying glass for sun rays, reflect it, and set your wood deck and other objects on fire.
If you already have one, it's essential to put them on the safe side.
A ceramic or stainless-steel dog bowls are much safer options.
8.Install smoke detectors
Whether you have a dog or not, having smoke alarms dispersed throughout your home is essential for fire prevention.
You'd also have to test them regularly to ensure they're working in times of emergency.
Smoke alarms save lives, according to the Red Cross, the organization that breaks down the stats for fires and prevention.
Pet's Fire Safety Tips for Dog Owners
We always wish not to experience a house fire.
However, curating a plan and roleplaying how you should respond during a disaster is imperative in saving your family and pet's life.
So, here are tips on how to prepare for it.
1.Create an escape route or plan
It's always wise to plan an escape route for your family and fido based on different fire scenarios.
You can do it by determining the best exit doors and what to do when the fire starts at a specific part of your home.
The National Fire Prevention Agency provides loads of planning information that can help in times of crisis.
So, their guide is worth checking out.
2.Assign roles for the pet's fire safety
If you have roommates, spouses, children, and other family members living with you, assigning roles beforehand is crucial to avoid panic.
You can assign someone for your dog and others for other important docs and kits.
3.Get the leash and carrier ready.
There's a high chance that you and your dog will panic in the event of a fire.
So, you'll need a leash and carrier and make sure it's easy to disengage and put it along the escape route.
4.Know their hideaways
Observe where your fido hide when they're scared or in a panic because it's what they usually consider a safe refuge.
If they tend to disappear and reappear later, you might not be concerned right now.
However, that's not a good secret to keep in times of crisis.
5.Get them involved in fire drills.
Given the circumstances mentioned earlier, the dog must be involved in your family's fire drills.
Roleplay a scenario in which you find them and get them out of the house, including the open access option described above:
Get out of the house with the door open and then call them to familiarize themselves with the concept.
In the event of a fire, they'll be more likely to do so.
6.Provide an open access
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests fire escapees not go back into a burning house.
So, if you need to exit and you can't find your fido, leave a door open and call for them.
It's best if the open door is one they're used to or the one they use regularly.
7.Secure them during disasters
There will be firefighters, loud trucks, and many people in the event of a fire.
So, you need to make sure your fire drills include having their leash or carrier outside and ready for them.
It can help in securing them safely away from the house and potential high-trafficked areas.
8.Prepare a canine emergency kit.
Your fido might sustain an injury during the emergency scenario.
So, you have to prepare a first-aid kit or go-bag containing their basic needs like food and water.
9.Prepare an accommodation
Planning where your dog can stay in times of emergency can also help you gain peace of mind.
You can either ask your close neighbor to care for him short-term while you're figuring out where to live.
Talking to your close friends and family members could also help you find someone who can accommodate your pet in the long term.
Pet's Fire Safety Tips During the Disaster
It can be a terrifying experience when a house fire breaks and gets out of control.
However, taking the following steps can help you avoid confusion and save your pet and family's life.
1.Get out as quickly as possible.
Try to get your pet and family members to flee the house as soon as possible.
However, if it takes so long to find the pets, you have to leave first.
You can't risk yourself and your family by delaying escape.
When the responders arrive, immediately advise them that your pet is still inside so that they can enter your home and search for him.
2.Grab the leashes and carrier
The outside of your home will become chaotic in the event of a fire, and your pet may attempt to flee to a quiet, safe location.
So, it would help if you got the leashes and carriers on your way out to ensure you can secure them.
3.Don't go back inside.
As we already mentioned earlier, you can't go back inside a burning house.
So, if you can't locate your pet right away, it'd be best to leave an open door and call them from a safe distance.
It's undoubtedly not easy to wait for them but let the firemen do the job and take over the search for your pet.
Pet's Fire Safety Tips If You're Away
Following the precautionary tips below can save your pet if the fire breaks out when you're not at home.
1.Park your pets near exits for their safety
You probably love giving them the freedom to stay anywhere in your home.
However, they'll stick them if they're downstairs in a basement while the fire burns above them.
First responders or rescuers won't know they're there or where they are.
So, it's better to confine them near the exits since it increases the likelihood of firefighters assisting your dog in the event of a fire.
Putting them in a crate or a place near the dog gate is also a good option for easier fire escape.
2.Affix a fire sticker on your window
It would help if you had a sticker in your window to inform rescue personnel that there's a pet living in your home during a fire outbreak.
You can get a free pet rescue pack and sticker like this from ASPCA.
3.Upgrade your smoke alarm for improved pet fire safety
Having a monitored smoke detector connected with the emergency responders is something ASPCA highly recommends as well.
This way, someone will get notifications when there's an emergency and while you're away from home.
Therefore, you'll have peace of mind knowing that your pet has access to an emergency response service.
Pet's Fire Safety – Tips During Wildfire
Aside from house fires, wildfires also pose a risk not just to your life and properties but also to your pets.
Based on the National Interagency Fire Center or NIFC report, there were 50,477 wildfires in 2019.
So, you have to get your pet prepared for the potential of wildfire evacuation too.
The following tips and advice can help you.
- Before a wildfire threatens your region, start preparing your pet emergency kit with the help of the NFPA's TakeAction program.
- Bring pets inside as soon as a wildfire is detected.
- This way, if an evacuation order is issued, they'll be nearby, and you won't have to waste time looking for them outside.
- If at all feasible, bring your pets with you when evacuating.
- They may have problems if left alone, and you may have trouble finding them when you return.
How Do Fire and Smoke Affect Pets?
Fire and smoke badly affect pets and their health.
Not only will they induce physical injuries, but they can also cause respiratory problems and other severe medical conditions.
Here are some ways they affect the pet's body.
Pets rarely run through fire, so thermal burns aren't common, but they do happen.
Pets usually get burns on their faces and paws, and they may also get singed on their whiskers and skin.
Treatment may be lengthy, extensive, and costly, depending on the severity of the injury.
However, most pets die from smoke inhalation by the time the flame reaches them.
Aside from burns, it would help if you looked out for smoke inhalation when your pet gets exposed to fire and smoke.
Let's talk about its symptoms and the dangers it can induce to your pet.
Symptoms of Smoke Inhalation:
The following are some of the first visible indicators of smoke inhalation in pets:
- Soot has covered your pet.
- Your pet has a smoky odor.
- He's either having trouble breathing, coughing, or breathing quickly.
- Gums and other mucous membranes on your pet turn a vivid cherry red color.
- Charred fur
- Visible burns
- Redness, squinting, or an elevated third eyelid are all examples of vision problems.
Five Dangers of Smoke Inhalation:
According to Dr. Justine Johnson of Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in Rhode Island, diseases and injuries caused by smoke inhalation are treatable if they are mild to moderate.
Here are five risks of smoke inhalation in pets you need to be aware of:
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
According to Dr. Lynn Rolland Hovda from Pet Poison Helpline in Minnesota, “Carbon monoxide poisoning is often the first thing everyone associated with smoke inhalation.”
She added that it's believed to be the most prevalent cause of mortality in pets exposed to fire and smoke.
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in pets can occur when the concentration of carbon monoxide in smokey air is high.
Carbon monoxide sticks to hemoglobin more firmly than oxygen.
Thus, it prevents hemoglobin from fulfilling its role of transporting oxygen from the lungs to the body's tissues.
And when carbon monoxide poisoning lasts for hours or becomes severe, brain damage can occur because of a lack of oxygen.
Increased respiratory rate and odd sounds in the lungs when breathing are the most prevalent indicators of CO poisoning in pets, as per Dr. Hovda.
Cherry red mucous membranes and neurologic problems may also appear in some pets.
Hydrogen Cyanide Poisoning
Common household products like plastics, laminates, paint, varnishes and other construction materials generate poisonous fumes in house fires.
And these gases can lead to hydrogen cyanide poisoning.
Rapid breathing, trouble breathing, lethargy, drowsiness, or even unusually enthusiastic behavior are signs of hydrogen cyanide poisoning.
So, this condition's symptoms are similar to those seen during oxygen deprivation.
Although smoke inhalation is not always the cause of hydrogen cyanide poisoning, it shouldn't be overlooked.
As air enters the lungs, it passes through your pet's nose and mouth, into the windpipe and small airways.
So, when smoke with excessive heat, ash, and chemicals find its way into the lungs, it may irritate and harm their airways.
It also leads to a higher prevalence of pneumonia and other complications.
According to Dr. Hovda, smoke inhalation can induce thermal damage to a pet's airways without any visible indications.
“Ulcers and erosions take 48 to 72 hours to develop. Therefore pets should be constantly examined for many days.”
This lung infection can occur as a result of smoke inhalation.
And when the airways get damage, it's easier for bacteria to get to the lungs through inhalation.
Your pet's recovery time will depend on the severity of the condition.
Therefore, treating it at an early stage is crucial to prevent complications.
The treatments for pneumonia include antibiotics and supportive therapies such as oxygen supplementation and intravenous fluids.
Leaving smoke inhalation untreated can lead to neurological problems too.
Outward signs include trouble in walking, behavioral problems, and seizures.
Dr. Johnson also added that the effects could either be transient or permanent depending on the extent of the damage.
The time your fido was left untreated can also affect it significantly.
Final Thoughts About Pet's Fire Safety
As described in this article, there’s no doubt that taking preventive measures is imperative to ensure pet fire safety.
It takes a lot of time and effort since creating and implementing a plan with pets is more challenging than humans.
So, take advantage of this year's Pet Fire Safety Awareness Month to examine your home's situation and set the bar higher for pet fire prevention and precautions.
By doing so, you can save your pet and your family's life.