Every year in the month of July, veterinarians and animal experts promote National Pet Fire Safety Day on the 15th. However, learning how to keep pets safe from fire is something that should be done every day of the year. As you might have guessed, many of the fire safety tips for pets that you will get from your emergency veterinarian in Dartmouth are similar to what we do for people. Fire prevention, preparation, and knowledge about what to do in a fire can all work together to keep everyone safe and healthy. Veterinary care for cats and dogs, as well as other domesticated animals and household pocket pets, is something that we take very seriously at our Dartmouth animal hospital. Our goal is to provide pet owners in the Southcoast area with all of the information they need to ensure their pets have a long and healthy life.
The Statistics: Pets and House Fires
When it comes to fire safety and pets, it is essential to have the facts. Studies show that more than 500,000 pets in the United States are affected by house fires each year, and approximately 1,000 of those house fires are started by the pets themselves. This is why a three-pronged approach to prevention, preparation, and knowing what to do in the event of an actual fire is essential. One of the most common ways that a pet could accidentally start a fire is through exposure to an open flame. This can include fireplaces, candles, and gas stoves. Prevention steps can include upgrading your fireplace with an enclosure that pets cannot penetrate, using flameless LED candles instead of real candles, and removing stove knobs or putting covers over knobs to prevent pets from bumping or grabbing at dials.
Other methods of prevention involve pet-proofing your home. While you might think that your dog is a perfect angel when you are home, pets can often become anxious, nervous, and frantic when left home alone during work hours or a quick shopping trip and act in a destructive manner. Pets that chew will often find loose wires, such as lamps with plugs, electronics plugged into walls, and other common fire hazards. If you would put it up or keep it away from a baby, the chances are good that you should also do it with a dog or a cat in the house. Other pets, such as rabbits and common rodents, should also be kept away from loose wires and other fire hazards. Try crawling around the house on your hands and knees at your pet’s eye level to see other hazards and dangers that you might not see otherwise.
How to Prepare for a Fire
No one wants to think about what might happen if their house caught on fire, but learning how to prepare for a fire in advance can give you all the tools you need to help you know what to do if a fire actually occurs. Create a household emergency plan that includes your family pets. Everyone should have a job to do, such as grabbing emergency supplies, finding a pet, and getting everyone out as quickly and safely as possible. As an emergency veterinarian in Dartmouth, we are well aware that some pets are better at hiding than others – especially in a fire situation. Cats are notorious for hiding inside mattresses, under furniture, and squeezing into spots that you might not ever suspect. Start by observing your pet to learn where they like to hide and practice getting them out quickly so it will be easier for you to find and rescue your pet during a fire.
Emergency supplies should include family medical records, birth records, and identification for all of the people in your household. You should also have records for veterinary care for cats and dogs, along with food, prescriptions, fresh water, leashes, carriers, a photo of your pet, and anything else your pet might require. Keep all of this in a safe and easy-to-get place so you won’t have to run around looking for it in an emergency. A photo of your pet can help keep pets safe from fire. If you cannot find your pet, make sure to share the photo with first responders who can help you locate your pet. If you are not home when a fire starts, a decal or sticker on the front window that indicates the number and type of pets will help firefighters locate your pets when you are gone. Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and other security services should be connected directly to emergency response services for the best results.
Other Ways to Protect Pets
Speak with a veterinarian at your next visit to our Dartmouth animal hospital to discuss microchipping and other services that can be used to identify your pet, should they run away or become lost in a fire. Many dogs and cats will run the moment a door is opened, and without a proper microchip, they might be impossible to identify. Collars can burn off or come off when the pet runs through bushes, fences, and other obstacles. Anchor Animal Hospital offers a wide range of veterinary care for cats and dogs, including microchipping, spaying and neutering, training support, and lifelong wellness check-ups and preventive treatments. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment with our team, you can reach us at 508-996-3731.