Category Archives: fire safety for pets

Actions That Could Save Your Pet in a House Fire

house-fire-Angela-Antunes-1By Langley Cornwell

A fire breaks out in your kitchen and quickly becomes larger than your fire extinguisher can handle. Or maybe you wake up in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke and the blare of smoke detectors. You need to get your family out fast – including your pets.

No one is ever fully prepared for the reality of a house fire, but those who are best prepared have an evacuation plan, a go-bag with important documents, and a meeting place for everyone in the house, including  pets. These suggestions could help save your pet in case of a house fire.

Proper Pet Identification

Make sure all of your pets are wearing collars and/or have microchips. The sound of a fire alarm is scary and may send a skittish pet into hiding, as will the smell of smoke. Your pet may accidentally end up outside the house, or may bolt out of your grasp in the chaos. Identification will make it easier for him to be returned home if he’s found.

Having a pet identification sticker on your front window is important because it will alert the fire department that there are pets inside the house, if they don’t come out of the house with you. Write the number and type of pet (dogs, cats, etc.) on the sticker.

Leashes and Carriers

Have your leashes and carriers in easy-to-find locations. For most dogs, the leashes should be kept in common areas or near doors so you can quickly attach them before you leave the house.

house-fire-robin-zebrowskiYour cat carrier should be kept in a safe place, but preferably one that gives the cat constant access rather than anxiety. Many cats fear their carriers and will panic, bolt and become defensive when it comes into sight. Cats that have access to their carriers all the time are less likely to panic when you try to put them inside. If your cat is the anxious type, you may want to leave some heavy gloves near your carrier to protect you from the bites and scratches of a panicked pet.

The Family Plan: Identifying Hiding Spots

What type of plan do you have for the members of your household? It’s a good idea to have someone designated to grab the go-bag, someone responsible for making sure the kids are out of bed, and someone designated to locate the pets and usher them to safety. If there is chaos, will that person know where to look?

Pay attention to the places your pets hide when they’re scared – especially during storms. Many animals have a place where they feel safe. Your dogs and cats are likely to go to those same places, many of which – especially in the case of cats – are small and confined.

With dogs, you may try to train them for emergencies. The Emma Zen Foundation, for example, offers dog safety games you can use to teach your dog how to react in an emergency. You can train him to respond to specific commands or even a smoke detector. Training your dog to go to a specific spot will give you a great starting point when it comes to locating him in a true emergency.

If you for some reason can’t locate your pet, leave a door open when you exit the house. Your pet may run outside by himself.

house-fire-joel-kramerHave an Emergency Kit on Hand

You should have an emergency kit for both your family and for your pets. In the pet emergency kit, include a few days’ worth of premium quality CANIDAE pet food, bottled water, copies of vaccination records, a first aid kit, an extra leash, and photographs of your pets. Some experts recommend having pictures of your pets alone in case you need to make “missing” flyers later, but also pictures of your pets with your family in case collars and tags are lost and you need a way of proving ownership.

Where Will You Go?

Finally, where will you go once you are out of the house? There will be quite a bit of chaos outside, especially after the police and fire department arrive on the scene. Do you have a pet-friendly neighbor or nearby family member who can take your pets, preferably indoors? Your pets will need a safe, quiet place where they can be kept calm throughout the ordeal.

Over 500,000 pet deaths occur each year during house fires.  Taking a few precautionary measures and having a plan in place will help prevent your pet from adding to that number.

If you want to know more about the dog that inspired the Emma Zen Foundation, check out our RPO article:  Meet Emma Zen, Fundraising Canine for Pet Oxygen Masks.

Top photo by Angela Antunes/Flickr
Middle photo by Robin Zebrowski/Flickr 
Bottom photo by Joel Kramer/Flickr 

Read more articles by Langley Cornwell

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Safety Tips for Pets Who Love Heaters and Fireplaces

By Tamara McRill

When I was growing up, the merry crackling of a fire always seemed to entice my pets to curl up near the hearth and take a nap. Now that I’m older and, sadly, without a fireplace, I’ve noticed that my dogs are just as attracted to heaters on a cold winter day. Snuggling next to the heat can be comforting for pets, but it can also be dangerous.

That doesn’t mean we have to ban our furry friends from one of their favorite winter pastimes. All we need to do is make sure safety precautions are taken, so sitting near a fire or heater can be enjoyed without any disastrous results. Here are some tips to consider:

Fire and Fur Don’t Mix

For obvious reasons, we need to take precautions to make sure our cats and dogs don’t get singed by errant embers. Fireplaces will need a fireguard screen to make sure any popping flames don’t shoot out too far. This will also prevent wagging tails from entering flame territory.

Dampers and Detectors

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly to pets and humans, not to mention it can cause health issues from exposure. This is especially a concern if you have a gas fireplace. If your damper is closed, then all of the carbon monoxide comes back into the room and your pet, being the closest, will be the first one affected.

In addition to making sure your fireplace damper is properly adjusted, you should also place carbon monoxide detectors near the fireplace and throughout your home. This is so important to check every time you turn on your gas fireplace. Especially given that a gas fireplace burns so cleanly that you likely won’t even notice if the damper is open or not.

Regular fireplaces should also be adequately vented, so smoke and carcinogens don’t get in your cat or dog’s lungs. It’s a good idea to keep any heat vents near your fireplace closed when it is lit, so nothing is spread through the home heating system. Also be sure to check the batteries on smoke alarms, to make sure they are in working order.

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Fire Prevention and Safety Tips for Pet Owners

By Julia Williams

October is National Fire Prevention Month, so I thought now would be a good time to brush up on some things we, as responsible pet owners, can do to keep our furry friends safe. The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) estimates that 500,000 pets are affected by home fires each year. However, according to data from the National Fire Protection Association, pets accidentally start nearly 1,000 of those house fires themselves!

Below are some tips to keep your pet from starting a fire, as well as some ways you can help keep them safe should a house fire occur. Simple fire safety measures can mean the difference between life and death for our beloved pets. As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Prevent your pet from starting fires

•  Do a thorough walk through of your home to look for places where a pet might inadvertently start a fire. These potential fire hazards include, but are by no means limited to, loose wires, frayed cords and stove knobs.

•  The kitchen stove is the number one way that pets accidentally start fires. Pets have also been known to unintentionally fill the house with gas fumes by turning the burners. The easiest way to prevent both of these things from happening is to put childproof covers on the stove knobs. Some people remove the knobs when they’re going to be away, but you have to remember to do it every day.

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Fire Safety for Your Pets

By Ruthie Bently

Fire safety is just as important for our pets as it is for us. You can get window decals that let fire personnel know how many and what kind of animals are in your house. Most firefighters will attempt to save household pets if they can. Some fire departments now even have special oxygen masks to fit pets’ faces, as human ones are usually too large for them.

Do you have a fire safety procedure that includes your pets? You should have an evacuation plan and a prearranged place to meet in case of an emergency. Start by getting every member of the family involved; if you have older kids or teenagers, you can assign each of them a pet to be responsible for. Have a family meeting and make an evacuation plan. Your evacuation plan should include multiple methods of leaving your house if your main door is inaccessible. If you live in a multi-level home, you may want to invest in a safety ladder in case anyone has to leave from an upper story.

So how do you prepare to evacuate your pets in case of a fire? Practice, practice, practice. It is a good idea to make sure your pet(s) are comfortable with their carriers. With repetitive training you can even train them to go into their carriers, by using a treat or a favorite toy as a bribe. By doing this once a week, you can get them used to going in their carriers in case of an emergency. If you have a pet that gets nervous, there are several holistic preparations available to help calm them down.

If you have a cat that goes under a bed and won’t come out, get a pillow case and put the cat in it and knot the neck. The cat will be able to breathe through the pillow case though will not be able to see what is going on, and should be less stressed. It is a good idea to have your pet’s health records in a file near the front door. You should have collars, leads and name tags for all your animals even if they don’t usually wear them. If you keep their carriers and emergency equipment near the door you hope to leave from, this will make your task that much easier.

You should also have the proper tools in your house to help prevent a fire; these include fire extinguishers, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and a safety ladder if your house has more than one story. We have two fire extinguishers; one in the kitchen and one in the living room. If you have a fireplace in the living room, you should have a fire extinguisher nearby.

Fire extinguishers come in different styles, depending on what kind of fires they are used to fight. Attach the extinguisher to a wall, away from children and heat sources, but still accessible. When purchasing a fire extinguisher, discuss what kind of fire you may encounter, so you can get the proper extinguisher and one you can handle easily. Learn how to use your fire extinguisher and don’t wait until you have a fire to try it out.

Another very important fire safety tool is a working smoke detector. You should have one near the kitchen and one between the living room and bedrooms; if your home is multi-leveled you should have one on each level. There are several varieties of smoke detectors to choose from, including some which help the hearing impaired. Most are battery operated and should be tested at least once a month. The batteries should be replaced at least once a year, although the fire department suggests changing them with the daylight savings time change every six months.

Last but not least is a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of fossil fuel combustion, which includes oil, wood, propane, natural gas and coal. Because it is colorless, tasteless and odorless, many people and their pets die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide can build up in any area that is not well ventilated, where there is a stove or fireplace that uses any of the above mentioned fuels. Some of the danger signs to look for are a fire that is hard to light, a fire that goes out or burns slowly, gas flames that burn yellow or orange instead of blue, and soot on or around the appliance being used. Carbon monoxide poisoning can affect both humans and pets; symptoms include headaches, nausea, dizziness, feeling drowsy or tiredness. Having a carbon monoxide detector in the house can help measure levels before they get out of hand and become an emergency that sends you or your pets to the hospital.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.