The following tips are provided by the National Volunteer Fire Council:
- Extinguish Open Flames – Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
- Pet Proof the Home – Take a walk around your home and look for areas where pets might start fires inadvertently, such as the stove knobs, loose wires, and other potential hazards.
- Secure Young Pets – Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home.
- Keep Pets Near Entrances – When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
- Practice Escape Routes with Pets – Keep collars and leashes at the ready in case you have to evacuate quickly with your pet or firefighters need to rescue your pet.
- Affix a Pet Alert Window Cling – Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window.Thiscritical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets.
- Keep Your Information Updated – Firefighters are familiar with pet alert window clings so keep the number of pets listed on them updated. Knowing the accurate number of pets in the house aids rescuers in finding all of your pets and provides important information so that firefighters do not put themselves or others in danger when rescuing pets.
- Consider Using Monitored Smoke Detection Services – As an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms, smoke detectors connected to a monitoring center help save pets who can’t escape when left home alone.
It would also be a good idea to keep your dog on-leash if you are out camping or at a bonfire, bbq, etc. That way, they cannot wander too close to any open flames. Above all, use common sense. It’s fun to celebrate a dog’s birthday, but don’t put candles on the cake. Not only can they get burned, but they shouldn’t eat the candles.
In addition to the above tips, start training your dog to stay away from candles, open flames such as camp or bonfires, to help reduce risk of injury.
Teach your dog a Leave It cue so that if you see them start getting to close to a flame, you can have them leave it.
You can also train your dog do to an “auto leave it,” meaning you teach them to stay away from a flame without you having to give a command.
To do either of these, start with an unlit candle (in case your dog makes a mistake!). Once you move onto real flames, have your dog on a leash or a long-line so you can grab them if they try to go toward the fire.
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About the Author
Based in Tustin, Calif., animal lover Kristina N. Lotz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and works as a full time trainer. She also owns her own custom pet products company, A Fairytail House, where she makes personalized collars, leashes, beds, keepsake pillows and blankets, and anything else your imagine can think up. In her spare time, she trains and competes in herding, agility, obedience, rally, and conformation with her Shetland Sheepdogs. She smartly married a Veterinary Technician, who helps keep the fur kids happy and healthy, and provides a quick resource for articles.