Keeping your furry friend safe in a fire

LIFESTYLE | July 2017

Everyone’s heard of the ultimate excuse “My dog ate my homework…”, however have you heard of the one where the dog set the house on fire?

Seems a bit farfetched, doesn’t it? But, that’s exactly what happened to a family in America. As told by the American Kennel Club, one family found out the hard way when the family pooch Lucy accidentally turned on the oven burner when investigating the delicious smelling cake sitting atop the stove. Luckily no one was harmed in the fire – except the poor cake – thanks to the smoke alarms.

As it turns out, this scenario isn’t all that farfetched. Household pets are responsible for over 1,000 house fires each year in the US. So to keep your castle, your family and pets safe, here are 5 tips to help prevent a fire caused by your beloved furry friend.

  • Electrical Cords – Electrical Cords – Otherwise known as the ultimate chew toy for many puppies and kittens! Not only are electrical cords harmful on many levels for dogs and cats to chew on (e.g. electrocution), once they’re damaged, they can short out and spark a fire. If you discover an electrical cord that’s been damaged, it’s best to replace it immediately. One way of minimizing the risk of your pet chewing on a cord is to roll up any excess cords, tie together and hide behind furniture or a more secure location if possible. You may even be able to purchase protective covers for cords from your local pet store if you can’t hide them away from pets.
  • Candles – Anytime a candle is lit, it poses a potential threat. Luckily, flameless candles have become a thing now so where possible, use these when you’ve got pets around. If you prefer the real deal, make sure you think about them as you leave the room, (how long will you be away and should you put them out) and keep candles in the most secure locations your pets can’t easily reach.
  • Fireplaces and wood stoves – These are another potential hazard for pets and fire! Come the colder months, pets love to huddle around the warmth and comfort of a nearby fire. But keep in mind that if your furry friend gets too close, there’s a risk they may receive burns to their face, paws or tails. If you have a pet that loves sticks, well, starting that fire could become mission impossible. As a precaution, keep pets out of the room when starting a fire or adding extra wood wherever possible and never play active games in a room with a lit fire. A pet-proof screen or a safety barrier will help keep your pet far enough away, so if you don’t have one already, look into investing in one.
  • Gas stoves – As we’ve heard above, gas stoves are another common house fire culprit. If you can, try keeping your pets out of the kitchen, or investing in some stove knob covers, these are not only handy if you have pets, but also if you have little inquisitive children.
  • Electric blankets – Most pets and humans love the comfort of a warm bed, but at no time should you have your pet lay on or sleep with an electric blanket. Both dogs and cats can claw or chew on these and damage the blankets heater wires. If these get damaged, there is a serious threat of electrocution. Any exposed wires could also heat up the sheets or mattress to a point of causing a fire. So if you’re pet sleeps in bed with you, consider getting rid of the electric blanket.

So this Pet Fire Safety day take the time to make sure you’ve got some preventive measures in place to keep you and your family (human and pets) safe from fire.

And if the worst does happen, State has you covered with House and Contents insurance. Find out more and get a quote online.

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