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  • Writer's pictureStream Valley Vet

July 15th ~ National Pet Fire Safety Day

July 15th is National Pet Fire Safety Day!

National Pet Fire Safety Day is a day dedicated to reducing the estimated 500,000 pets affected by home fires every year. Don't have a fire escape plan yet? Make today the day you create one! It can save your life and your pets!

Below are great tips to keep your pets safe from house fires:

First and foremost, it's vital to have working smoke alarms and to train your animals to join you when the alarm goes off. If you have not had these alarms tested recently, we highly recommend that you do so as soon as possible.

Extinguish open flames

Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even fireplaces. Make sure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame when in use. Wagging tails can haphazardly knock over lit candles. Curious kittens may be interested in pawing at sizzling grease, which quickly sends a kitchen up in flames. We want to avoid this occurrence at all times! Keep all candles at a level that pets cannot reach. Most importantly, remember to thoroughly extinguish any open flame anytime before you leave the house.

If you'd like to take an extra safety measure, you can consider flameless candles! Pets may still be curious about these, but there's no chance of knocking over an open flame. There are many flameless fragrance options such as reed diffusers, fragrance warmers, fragrance spheres, concentrated room sprays, scent plug-ins, or essential oil diffusers to consider. However, if you use these alternatives, don't use scents that are toxic to pets!

Essential oils that are harmful to cats include:

  • Wintergreen

  • Peppermint

  • Citrus (including lemon oil)

  • Tea tree (melaleuca)

  • Pine

  • Eucalyptus

  • Cinnamon

  • Pennyroyal

  • Clove

  • Sweet birch

  • Ylang ylang

Essential oils which are harmful to dogs are:

  • Melaleuca (tea tree oil)

  • Pennyroyal

  • Wintergreen

  • Pine oils

*Remember, the higher the concentration of the essential oil, the greater risk to your pet. If your pet ingests any oils accidentally, contact your veterinarian immediately!

Pet Proof Your Home

Take a walk around your home and get a good look for areas where pets might start fires accidentally, such as stove knobs, loose wires, and other potential hazards. If you can, remove knobs from the stove, or protect them with covers whenever you're not in the vicinity. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a stove or cooktop is the number one piece of equipment involved in pets starting fires! With knobs being removed or covered, they will not accidentally turn on if your pet attempts to mess with them.

If you have glass water bowls out on a wooden deck, please replace these with stainless steel or ceramic bowls. When the sun's rays are filtered through glass and water, this can actually heat up and ignite the wooden deck beneath it.

Practice Escape Routes with Pets

Have a plan if a fire breaks out when you're home. If a fire is spreading rapidly throughout your house, you might have less than two minutes to get out safely. Once you have your plan established, practice fire safety drills as often as possible to have it memorized and be ready to take action!

When drafting out a plan, first identify two ways out of each room that has windows and/or a door. Locate a meeting point outside where all family members and pets should gather. The best way to protect your pets in the event of an emergency is to bring them with you! Keep a collar on your dog, and leashes and cat carriers in an easily accessible spot near an exit so you can grab them on the way out. This spot could be a near the front door, mud room, or back deck.

Pets will most likely panic at the smell of smoke and sight of fire, so make sure to secure dogs on leashes and put cats in their carriers if possible. Otherwise, they might run away once you get outside. Kennel slip leads like the ones we use at the Stream Valley Kennel can be great for these situations. These thin nylon leashes have a metal ring on the end that can double back through the nylon rope to create an easy on, easy off collar and leash in one. They're invaluable in emergency circumstances. If you're interested in purchasing this product, they can be found on websites such as Amazon and Chewy. Search for "Nylon Kennel Lead" or "Nylon Rope Lead for Dogs." Check out these options:

If you have birds or other caged animals, decide who will be in charge of taking them to your outdoor meeting spot.

It might not always be possible to find or reach your pet before you evacuate. In this case, leave an outside door open and call your pet's name. If your pet does not know to come right away when called, start working on this ASAP! Be persistent and loud, and most importantly, do not give up. It might take time for your pet to build up the courage to run outside.

Create an Emergency Supplies Kit

Assemble a portable pet emergency supplies kit to provide for your pet's needs for at least seven days. Pack the supplies in a sturdy case that's ready in the event that you need to evacuate. This kit should include:

  • Medications and medical records (stored in a waterproof bag/container) and a first aid kit.

  • Name and contact information of your veterinarian.

  • A list of medical conditions and special considerations.

  • Leashes, harnesses, and transport carriers.

  • Current photos of your pets in case they get lost.

  • Food, water, portable bowls, and if needed, cat litter.

  • Plastic bags/paper towels for throwing away animal waste.

  • Favorite toys and pet beds with kennel or carrying case.

Keep your pets safe when you're not at home

  • When you're out of the house, keep your pets in a secure environment near an entryway. This way, firefighters can easily gain access to them in case of an emergency. Be sure to keep collars and leashes at the ready as well.

  • Especially with puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.

  • Consider using monitored smoke detectors which are connected to a monitoring center so first responders can be contacted when you're not home. These systems provide an extra layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms.

  • Secure a pet alert window cling to a front window of your home. On this cling, write down the number of pets inside your house and any contact numbers, which include your cell phone, veterinary hospital, emergency veterinary hospital, or nearby friends or neighbors. Order a free pet rescue window decal online from the ASPCA at!

To celebrate National Pet Fire Safety Day, put these tips to use and start making a plan today. Practice a fire drill with your family, including your furry family members! #PetFireSafety



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