Summertime means plenty of indoor and outdoor fun. Whether you are lounging indoors or enjoying a barbeque, pool or beach trip, or campfire, humans and pups alike need to stay vigilant about fire. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says pets are responsible for over 1,000 house fires every year in the United States, and an estimated 40,000 pets die in fires each year, mostly from smoke inhalation. In addition, July and August have been the peak months for both the number of large wildfires and acres burned since 2000. A little preparation goes a long way for keeping the whole family safe, canine companion included.
Stay on top of smoke detectors. Be sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the home. It’s best to place the detectors near the bedrooms and in the kitchen, either on the ceiling or 6-12 inches below the ceiling on the wall. Keep them well away from air vents and make sure to regularly check the batteries!
Have (and practice) an emergency exit plan for the whole family. Once a fire starts, it spreads quickly. Include your pooch and other pets in your plan and practice runs. Place stickers on your front windows so rescue workers know there are pets inside, and keep leashes close to present panicked escapes. If your pet is not in their crate, note where they like to nap or hide in case you must evacuate your home.
Update IDs. Make sure your pets are always wearing current identification with contact information. Microchipping is also a great backup plan, just in case of separation or escape.
Never leave your pet alone with lit candles, stoves, or indoor or outdoor fires. A stray bump from a wagging tail could mean a burned pet or the start of things going up in smoke. Keep electric blankets or any devices with electric wires or batteries out of your pet’s reach, as your dog can electrocute itself or start a fire by chewing on cords.
Assemble a dog disaster kit. Include your dog’s food and medications, copies of health records, your veterinarian’s phone number, a list of facilities you can take your pets, a recent photo, a favorite toy or bedding, and an extra leash and collar.
Listen to your dog. Our four-legged friends have an amazing sense of smell and can detect smoke long before humans. If your dog is acting strangely, promptly check on the situation and be prepared to gather your family and follow your evacuation plan.
If you must evacuate and can’t find your dog in the house, leave an outside door open and call your dog’s name once you are safe. They may be able to hear you and escape too.
Smoke exposure is dangerous to animals and humans. Be sure to get veterinary attention for your pooch if they were in a smoke-filled building or you can smell smoke on their fur.
By staying vigilant and prepared, we can enjoy seasonal fun and keep our families safe – canine companions included.
If you are concerned about your dog’s behavior, Bark Busters trainers are always ready to help.
Contact your local trainer today to learn how to live a happier life together with your dog!