Skip to main content

PawTracks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

4 ways to keep your pet from starting a house fire

We’ve all seen images of heroic firefighters running from burning houses cradling a dog or cat in their arms. The thought of beloved animal companions being trapped in a fire when home alone is a pet parent’s worst nightmare. It’s a valid fear, as about 500,000 pets are affected by house fires each year, with an estimated 1,000 house fires being started by pets. Luckily, there are ways to pet-proof your house to help prevent this from happening to you and your fur baby.

Firefighter rescuing dog.
Sergey Mironov/Shutterstock

4 ways to keep your pet from starting fires

Do you want to keep your pet safe? Follow these tips and strategies.

Pet-proof your kitchen

Have you noticed how easy it is to accidentally turn on the knobs at the front of your stove by brushing against them? Well, this can just as easily happen with unsupervised pets. Cats can turn these knobs when using them as stepping stones to get to the stovetop. Large dogs can hit the knobs when jumping up to get to food or pots. If you have this style of stove, consider removing the knobs or protecting them with childproof covers before leaving the house. Better still, leave your pets in a safe room without access to the kitchen when home alone.

Secure electrical cords

Pets’ chewing on electrical cords also poses a danger. Not only can it cause a short circuit leading to a fire, but pets also can get electrocuted. While kittens and puppies are most likely to play with electrical cords, pets of all ages are at risk. Hiding the cords behind furniture is not the best solution when kittens or cats are the culprits because they can easily squeeze into tight corners to get to the wires. The best preventative is to hide the cords inside protective covers. You’ll find a wide variety of protective products on the market, including some made especially with pets in mind. For example, Chewsafe Cord Cover is infused with a bitter-apple taste to discourage pets from chewing. It’s important to consider the location of electrical outlets when choosing a spot for your pet’s food and water bowls as well as for her bed or crate.

Cat looking at candle on table.
Fedor Ouspenski / Pixabay

Never leave pets alone with lit candles

If you like to burn candles and you share a home with cats, then you know how attracted kitties are to the flames. Many house fires are started by cats knocking over lit candles with their tails. Pets should never be left unsupervised around open flames, and that includes candles burning in the fireplace. Be sure that all candles are completely extinguished before you leave the house. Pet parents should consider using flameless candles with a light bulb when adding ambiance to a home.

Place a screen in front of fireplaces

Fireplaces and woodstoves are another house fire hazard when you live with pets. Dogs who enjoy playing with sticks will be attracted to the woodpile beside the fireplace, and cats will be fascinated by the dancing flames. To prevent fire or skin-burn accidents, set up a protective screen in front of the fire or stove. Pets also should be taught that the area surrounding the fireplace is off-limits. Be sure that all pet beds, blankets, and toys are kept at a safe distance from the fire. Also, never leave your pets alone in a room with a lit fire. Unsupervised pets can go exploring and knock over protective screens. It’s safer to take your pets with you when you leave the room.

In addition to preventing your pet from starting house fires, it’s important to have a plan in case the worst ever happens. Consider installing monitored smoke detectors that are connected to emergency responders. This will give you peace of mind that if a fire starts when you’re not home, the detector will alert emergency response services. You can help firefighters save all your pets by placing a rescue decal on your front window listing the type and number of pets in your home. This saves precious time when the rescuers are working hard to get your pets to safety.

Editors' Recommendations

Vera Lawlor
Vera was the pet columnist for 201 Family magazine and has contributed pet and animal welfare articles to Bone-A-Fide Mutts…
Where to put a dog crate in your house depends on these important factors
Know exactly where to place a dog crate to keep your pet safe, secure, and happy at home
Dog looking through black dog crate

Dogs like to sleep in so many places: in your bed, in their own bed, on a sunny spot on the floor, and in their dog crate, to name a few. But that's not the only thing a crate is helpful for. It can keep your canine friend out of mischief and give you peace of mind when you're out of the house. A dog crate should ideally be a place of security and comfort for your pup (and it can be even better if you personalize it for their own unique needs). Of course, this raises the question of where to put a dog crate.

Have you been Googling something like, "Where to put dog crate?" We've got you covered! Always remember that a dog crate is supposed to create a safe space for your pet, while also assisting in their training, so the way you utilize that space in your home is essential for both of you.

Read more
4 fun Father’s Day activities for dog dads so your pup can join the fun
Father's Day activities that the family dog can enjoy, too
Man and his dog doing a selfie outdoors

Dog dads, it’s your time to shine! With Father’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect moment to plan your special day — with your four-legged friend. Since the weather is heating up, Father’s Day activities are a great excuse to get outside (which your dog will love, too), though quality time with your kids — whether human or canine — can be found just about anywhere.
These Father’s Day activities with dogs are just the right amount of adventure: You’ll get some sunshine and fresh air, but you won’t need to jump through hoops to do it. Whether you’re planning for yourself or the special dad in your life, you won’t go wrong with any of these fun ideas with dogs. Happy Father’s Day!

Host a barbecue with your pooch for a more social weekend
Nothing says summertime quite like a backyard barbecue. Gather your loved ones, whether they have two legs or four, and stock up your menu with Dad’s favorite foods. Meats, sides, veggies, maybe something to drink — just make sure not to season any meat you plan on sharing with your pup!
In an enclosed, outdoor space like the backyard, you won’t have to worry about keeping an eye on your dog at all times. Plus, Dad can have a drink if he wants! If you prefer a park setting or don’t have a grill at home, just bring a long leash so your pup can chill without getting into trouble or taking off.
Fido will love all the attention he’s getting from happy partygoers, and Dad will love having his favorite company in one place. Who doesn’t love catching up with family? But the star of the show, of course, will be the delicious meal you prepare!

Read more
No fuss, all love: Meet the top breeds of low-maintenance dogs that will steal your heart
Looking for a canine breed that won't overwhelm you with work? These low-maintenance dogs are best
A brown and white basset hound sleeping in a blue chair.

Owning a dog can be a fulfilling experience, but it also requires time, effort, and commitment. If you're leading a busy life, struggle with mobility issues, or prefer a more laid-back approach to being a dog parent, low-maintenance dogs can be the perfect companions.

These dogs offer all the love and affection without the fuss and extensive care requirements. Let's talk about what makes a furry friend a low-maintenance one and introduce you to the top breeds of low-maintenance pups that will steal your heart.
What are low-maintenance dogs?
When it comes to choosing a dog, different breeds have varying needs and characteristics. Some breeds demand constant attention, regular grooming, and extensive exercise, while others are more independent and require minimal care. Low-maintenance canines fall into the latter category. They're generally independent, adaptable, and easygoing, making them suitable for busy individuals, seniors, or those who prefer a more relaxed pet ownership experience.

Read more