July 15. Tax Day 2020. I hope you filed your income taxes. You’re welcome for the reminder. Now that I have your attention, July 15 is also National Pet Fire Safety Day – equally as important. Each year 500,000 pets are affected by home fires according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). In an effort to bring awareness and education to pet owners, the AKC and ADT Security Services joined forces to help provide proven prevention measures so that pets can be spared from injury and possible death during a fire. The Metropolitan Veterinary Center (MVC) points out that as many as 40,000 pets die each year in house fires. What is even more shocking is that about 1,000 house fires are started BY PETS each year! When I have thought of pet fire safety my thought has always been on making sure the firefighters save my dog…I never thought of the possibility of my dog CAUSING the fire. This is why it is important to know how to prevent your pet from causing a fire, escaping from the fire and finally ensuring a safe rescue for your pet.
Alarms and Smart Technology
The most obvious prevention measure is to install fire and smoke alarms; don’t forget about carbon monoxide detectors too. Take this a step further by pairing these safety measures with smart technology via a security system, hence ADT Security Services’ involvement in this initiative. You can sync the system with your smart phone or tablet and therefore monitor your home and your pet’s safety while you are away. Plus this added security measure is connected to a monitoring center which will ensure that the help your pet needs, in the event of a fire, gets to your home right away. If a security service isn’t your style, Dog TV suggests implementing a similar solution with surveillance cameras that are accessible through your smart devices. While the surveillance cameras will not alert you like a security system would, you can at least stream real-time footage of your home and your dog’s activities throughout the day while monitoring their safety and providing some peace of mind.
Practicing an escape route and literally doing a fire drill with your dog could make all the difference if a fire ever does take place. Keeping collars and leashes readily available will help too.
Emergency Kit: Take it a step further by preparing an emergency kit with supplies to last at least 7 days, just in case. The MVC suggests keeping medications and medical records, bedding, toys, food and water bowls, food, bottled water and a can opener if needed.
If trying to get your dog to follow along with the escape route isn’t working, think about where your dog hides when they get scared. When there’s fireworks, do they hide under a table? If there’s thunder, do they squeeze behind the couch? Dog TV suggests making whatever your dog’s favorite hiding place is as the designated “safe” spot. And that brings me to the next topic….
Pet Alert Window Stickers and Identification
Stickers save lives! In the event of a fire when you are not at home but your pets are, it is so important to have a pet alert window sticker or cling to let the fire department know that you have pets inside and that they need to be rescued. Typically these stickers have a space to specify how many dogs and cats you have inside and some extra space for more information if necessary; this would be a good spot to list their “hiding spots” to make it even easier for them to find your pets. Furthermore, keeping your pets close to household entrances can make it easy for firefighters to find them as well. Make sure to keep the window alert decal updated in case you get a new pet, etc. You can request a free sticker from the ASPCA.
Dogington Post adds that keeping your dog’s identification tags up to date with their license and your contact information on it in case they get lost during an emergency. You might even want to consider microchipping them for added peace of mind.
If you have kids, you’ve gone through baby proofing your house already. Pet proofing your house is pretty much the same because you need to go down to the ground at a dog’s level and see things at their point of view to identify any potential fire-starting hazards and pet proof them as needed. Just a couple items to consider is to either remove or secure knobs on the stove so that dogs don’t jump up and accidentally turn the burners on and to tie up and loose wires. Always remember to blow out candles so that your dog doesn’t accidentally knock them over with their tail and to put out any open fireplace flames before leaving your dog unattended. Especially when you have a puppy, be sure to confine them away from any of these potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from your home.
Did You Know? While fires can start internally or externally via a wildfire or even lightning, one fire-starting hazard you may not have heard of is a glass water bowl on a wooden deck! MVC warns that a sun’s rays may ignite a fire on the wooden deck through the glass bowl. When leaving Fido’s water bowl outside, they suggest using ceramic or stainless steel instead. Who knew?
The Floor Is Lava
Now that we have a better grasp on what pet fire safety is all about, let’s not forget that there’s another fire we need to be concerned about…the one beneath our dog’s feet when they walk in the summer sun. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, If it’s only 77 degrees out, the sidewalk feels like 125 degrees and skin destruction can happen in just 1 minute. An average dog’s walk is about 30 minutes so imagine the pain and damage it can cause without protection. That’s when Lavasox swoop in for the rescue! They prevent your dog’s paws from getting burned by fiery-hot surfaces. They feature a built-in radiant heat barrier in the sole to escape from sidewalk and road surface heat. The breathable mesh fabric keeps paws cool and the stretch Velcro closure keeps them on. Choose from Flame, Citrine, Marina Blue and Pink Sorbet.
So if you haven’t already pet-proofed your house, this is a great time to get started. Check those smoke alarms, pack an emergency kit, update your pet alert window sticker, rescue your dog’s paws from the sidewalk fire and file your taxes…just making sure you were paying attention! Keep cool! -Team Saltsox