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Oklahoma State University
Center for Veterinary Health Sciences

Healthy Animals - Healthy People

Pet Fire Safety

Monday, June 29 2015

Veterinary Viewpoints

Created by The American Kennel club and ACCT Security Services, National Pet Fire Safety Day (July 15) is devoted to helping pet owners keep their beloved pets safe.

Leaving pets at home alone can put them at potential risk. Read on for some helpful tips to keep pets safe from house fires.

Pet proof your home – walk around and look for areas where pets might inadvertently start fires such as stove knobs, loose wires or other potential hazards.

Place doghouses or pens for other pets (rabbit, pot-bellied pig) at least 20 feet from any brush that could possibly become fuel in a fire. Keep both your home and your pets’ homes clear of brush at all times.

Extinguish open flames – pets are curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles or even a fire in the fireplace. Make sure to extinguish any open flame before leaving home.

Secure young pets, especially puppies, keeping them away from potential fire-starting hazards anytime you are away.

Place a Pet Alert Window Cling in a front window of your home. Be sure to list the number of pets inside the home and keep it updated. This static cling will alert rescuers to search for pets in case of an emergency (fire, flood, etc.).

Keep pets near entrances when leaving them home alone so that rescuers can easily locate them. 

Also keep collars and leashes at the ready in case you have to evacuate quickly or firefighters have to rescue your pets. Always evacuate your pets on a leash or in a pet carrier. Pets will panic at the smell of smoke, and may bolt when outside, making them impossible to find.

Since pets left alone can’t escape a burning home, use monitored smoke detectors, which are connected to a monitoring center, to provide an added layer of protection for your furry family members.

If you must evacuate and can’t find your pet, leave an outside door open. Then call the pet’s name once you’re outside. Although this works better for dogs than cats, hopefully your pet will hear you and head for your voice.

Be sure you have a designated meeting place near your home for everyone to meet so all can be accounted for away from the fire.

Also, it’s a good idea to have ID tags on your pets and keep their microchip up to date.  That way if you are separated during any type of emergency, you and your pets will soon be reunited.

by Elisabeth J. Giedt, DVM

Veterinary Viewpoints is provided by the faculty of the OSU Veterinary Medical Hospital.  Certified by the American Animal Hospital Association, the hospital is open to the public providing routine and specialized care for all species and 24-hour emergency care, 365 days a year.