When the weather gets cold, there’s nothing quite like gathering around a roaring fire. It’s even better when pets join in. The hearth is certainly one of the coziest places in any home lucky enough to include a fireplace, but it can be one of the most dangerous places too. Pet owners should train their dogs and cats to recognize the potential risks of a fireplace, while taking additional precautions to ensure their safety.
Supervise pets at all times
Supervision is everything when it comes to pet fire safety -- or pet safety of any kind. No matter how well-trained or well-behaved your pet, a closer look at the fireplace is often too enticing for them to pass up. Never leave your pet unattended while the fireplace is on. If you’ve got guests, make sure they know what to do if a pet gets too close.
Use a fireplace cover
Another simple, effective way to keep pets safe around fireplaces is to use a mesh or glass gate. You can even find options that are specially designed for pet owners. These make the hearth a more pet-safe space while still providing the whole family with light and warmth. Keep in mind, however, that even the best gates aren’t perfect. If a cat or dog is curious and persistent enough, they may find a way to navigate around your fireplace’s defenses.
Don’t play near the fireplace
Once pets are riled up, it can be hard to get them back under control. Dogs and cats can easily forget about fire safety rules when they’re having too much fun. To ensure pets stay calm around the fireplace, keep the hearth area free from clutter and remove all of their toys from the room.
Keep your mantle clean
If there’s an opportunity to claw, bat, or jump at something, your dog or cat will probably take it. It’s best to err on the side of caution. Even pets who usually adhere to fire safety rules could surprise you by putting themselves in danger. No matter how carefully you hung those stockings, make sure to remove them from the mantle before relaxing by the fireplace this holiday season.
Take extra fire safety precautions
Pets inadvertently start around 1,000 fires each year and fireplaces are just one potential hazard. The American Red Cross reports that stoves are the most common origin. If you’ve got young or especially curious pets, you might consider additional fire safety measures, such as removing stove knobs before leaving the house. Though you’ll hopefully never have to use them, ensure your house is equipped with a functioning fire extinguisher, as well as both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
You’ll never be perfectly prepared for everything that life throws at you and your pet. Pet insurance -- like homeowner’s insurance, health insurance, or any other type of insurance -- can help. Learn more about how a quality pet insurance policy can protect you from both routine and emergency pet expenses.