You would never think of your pet as a little arsonist. Yet, according to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) household pets are responsible for over 1,000 house fires each year in the United States.

You have probably heard the story of a black lab almost burning down the house in an attempt to steal pizza from the top of the oven. He accidentally turned on the burners, promptly setting the greasy cardboard box on fire.

Emergency services worldwide know many cases like that. One in Canada has even made it into the news recently with a social media post featuring a beagle-cross with a sign that goes, “I escaped from my crate, was counter surfing, turned on the stove and knocked over the cereal box accidentally setting my house on fire. Sorry.”

Barrie Fire And Emergency Service Post With A Dog Arsonist

Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles or they simply knock the candles off a shelf.

Of course, pets don’t mean any harm. It is just their curiosity that often leads to unfortunate events to happen. And as pet owners, we sometimes unintentionally set the stage for such events.

United States Fire Administration reports that 500,000 pets are affected annually by fires, with more than 40,000 losing their lives. To educate pet owners about potential risks when pets are left home alone and provide them with proven prevention measures, The American Kennel Club in association with ADT Security Services declared July 15 National Pet Fire Safety Day.

Unless your dog or cat knows how to dial 911, here are some safety tips to keep your four-legged friend and home safe from fire.

1. Extinguish Open Flames

Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Place a sturdy screen in front of your fireplace, don’t leave your pet unattended when any of these items are in use, and make sure to extinguish open flames before leaving home.

A Dalmatian is near the fireplace

2. Remove stove knobs

The NFPA says a stove or cooktop is the number-one cause of fires started by pets. Before leaving your pet home, be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers that will keep pets from turning on the stove accidentally.

3. Use flameless candles

These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame. While less romantic, they take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle.

4. Beware of glass water bowls

Outside on wooden decks, they can heat up and actually start a fire. Choose stainless steel or ceramic bowls instead.

A dog drinking from the steel water bowl placed on the grass

5. Minimize the exposure of electric cords

For puppies and kittens, cords are the ultimate chew toys. But it only takes one errant spark to start a fire. Ensure that your electrical cables and wires are out of your pet’s reach or use cord protectors. If possible, unplug them when leaving the house.

Cat looking at te cord

6. Make an emergency kit

Include a leash, your pet’s medication, vet documents, some food, and a recent photo and description of your pet.

7. Place a pet alert window cling

They let firefighters know that you have pets inside the house, how many, and what kind. Make sure the number of pets listed is always up to date.

Rescue stickers can be found at pet stores or you can obtain them for free from nonprofit animal organizations like the ASPCA.

Pet rescue sticker

Observe National Pet Fire Safety Day

National Pet Fire Safety Day is a great opportunity to put the tips into practice. Have a fire drill and aim to escape in two minutes or less. Use #PetFireSafetyDay to post on social media.

Keep your pets and your humans safe!


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