Fireplaces are a wonderful way to warm up in the colder months. Even our pets love snuggling up in front of the hearth on a cold day. While it’s fine for our pets to enjoy the fireplace, you should take some precautions to make sure your pet is safe. Whether you have a natural gas fireplace or wood-burning stove, these 10 pet safety tips can help keep your pet from getting injured.
Train Your Pet to Stay Away
Like young children, pets may not know that fires and fireplaces can be harmful, especially when they’re very young. Their curiosity can get the best of them, and they may venture too close to the heat and get burned or singed. They can also get startled or hurt by hot embers, which can pop out of the fireplace unexpectedly.
To help keep your pet safe, train your furry friend to stay back from the area directly in front of the fireplace. It is important for all animals to learn that a fireplace is not for play, and that they should always keep a safe distance.
Supervise Your Pet By The Fire
One of the most important pet fire safety tips is always to supervise your pet when you have a fire going. Pets can be quick; they’re experts at stealing food off the tabling, unrolling toilet paper, and chewing your shoes to a pulp. So, whenever a fireplace is in use, make sure you are monitoring where your dog or cat is at all times. It takes just a few seconds of distraction for an animal to slide into the flames. If you need to step away for a few minutes, either take your pet with you or ask someone else to monitor him.
Even pets trained to stay away from the front of the fireplace can forget the rules and decide to get closer for a little extra warmth.
Use a Fireplace Screen or Glass Door
While a protective metal screen or glass door can’t keep your pet completely safe, you should still have one in place. An open fireplace can present a much bigger danger if your pet decides to check out the fire up close.
A covering can also keep some of those popping embers inside. Plus, wood in a fireplace can shift around as it burns. A safe covering can help ensure it doesn’t fall out onto the hearth where it can hurt your pet.
Better Safe Than Sorry: Go for a Gate
If your pet is very curious about your fire and doesn’t like to stay a safe distance away, consider using a baby or pet gate. You can set up the gate to block the doorway into the room while still letting the heat from the fireplace circulate. You can also purchase configurable pet gates and set them up as a boundary around the fireplace area.
Keep the Hearth Area Clear
You should never put anything flammable near the fireplace. An ember could snap out and set it on fire. If you leave a pet blanket or something cosy nearby, you could also encourage your pet to settle into a dangerous spot.
In fact, the entire front area of your fireplace should always remain clear. This means making sure your pet doesn’t drop any toys or knock something near the hearth. Things left close to the fireplace can start a fire in your home.
Have a Fire Extinguisher Handy
No matter how hard you try to keep your fireplace safe, there is always a risk of fire. For instance, wood can shift and knock down a covering or an ember can fly out unexpectedly. Always keep a working fire extinguisher on hand to help put out a fire quickly and safely.
Store Fire Tools and Accessories Safely
Fireplace tools, like pokers, tongs, spades, and fireplace brooms, can hurt your pet if they step on them or knock them over. Also, be careful if you use a stand to hold the fireplace tools. Make sure it’s sturdy and stable so it will be less likely to fall or get knocked over by a waggy tail.
Other fireplace accessories, such as matches, lighters, and starter chips, can also be harmful to your pet if chewed on or swallowed. Keep these stored safely away from the fireplace. If your pet does ingest something that might be poisonous, contact your vet right away!
Avoid Playing Near the Fire
It might sound obvious but play and recreation time with your pet near the fire can be as dangerous as fooling around with fire. You just never know what might happen. Wagging tails, long fur, and sensitive paws are just some exposed areas on an animal that might burn during a play session. Your pet could stumble into the fireplace covering and get burned, or either one of you could knock into it and cause a fire in your home. Confine play to a different area of the home.
No Dangling Mantle Decorations
Draping your mantle with branches, bunting, garlands or lights may look great, but it can create a hazard for your pet. Your pet might be tempted to play with decorations and pull the whole thing down into the fire.
If you have a cat, you should be careful about putting any kind of decorations or home accents on your mantle. Cats can jump up on the mantle (even when we think it’s too high for them!) knocking things over and creating a fire risk.
Inspect Your Fireplace
Have your fireplace inspected regularly to help keep it safe for you and your pet. Set up an appointment before the start of the winter season to make sure it’s clean, safe, and ready to go. You should have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. Check to see that batteries are working, and the devices are operating properly.
Many of these fireplace pet safety tips also hold true for outside grills and fire pits. Always keep an eye on your pet near any kind of fire. If your pet does get burned or hurt, contact your vet for assistance immediately.