There’s nothing better than escaping the colder temperatures by relaxing in front of a warm fire with family and friends, both human and furry! Cats and dogs enjoy the warmth of a fire as much as we do. And while your hearth might become their favorite spot to snuggle by on colder nights, be aware that hot glass, sparks, and flames can be dangerous to your pet. Fireplaces and other heating appliances can pose a threat for curious, playful cats and dogs! But practicing a few safety steps can help your whole family safely enjoy time in front of the fire.
1. Do Set Some Boundaries
The first step in fireplace safety for your pet is to institute some rules. While some dogs and cats know not to go near hot objects, the heat may not deter a curious pet! It is important for all animals to learn that the fireplace or stove is not a place to play, and to always keep a safe distance. Train your pet to learn boundaries and follow your commands when around a lit fireplace!
2. Don’t Play Near Fire
Even if your dog or cat has been trained to keep a safe distance from the wood or gas fireplace, he/she can still be at serious risk for burns if they play in front of the hearth. Even playing catch or tossing treats near a fire can be unsafe, since wagging tails, long fur, and sensitive paws are just some exposed areas on your pet that could get burned during play time. If your pet is in a playful mood, it’s up to you to move toys and play to another area of your home!
3. Do Invest in a Gate to Be Safe!
If you plan on using your fireplace frequently this winter, invest in a screen or gate. This is a preventative measure that will ensure dogs and cats are out of harm’s way! Ashes, coals and other fireplace elements are dangerous if ingested, so be sure to keep the barrier up even when the fireplace or insert is not in use.
Depending on your fireplace, you may have a built-in screen. If you don’t, make sure to have one installed. Since some pets are fascinated by reflections, avoid installing anything that is reflective (like glass) to prevent them from burning themselves on contact. For additional safety, consider investing in a child lock for the fireplace doors.
4. Do Check the Damper!
The damper will contain heat when you are not using your fireplace, and will release smoke when the fireplace is in use. If the damper is closed while a fire is lit, anyone in your home at that time will be exposed to dangerous carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide can be deadly to both you and your pets, so always check that the fireplace damper is completely OPEN before starting a fire! And make sure to have at least one working carbon monoxide detector in your home.
5. Do Supervise Your Pet
Pets are sneaky, and can quickly steal food off your plate, unroll the toilet paper, or chew up your favorite shoes if you look away for a second. While this can sometimes be cute and funny, monitoring your cat or dog around the fireplace is no laughing matter! In a matter of seconds, your pet can get seriously burned by the flames, so be sure to monitor your furry friend closely whenever your fireplace or stove is in use. Supervision at ALL TIMES is critical, so if you need to step away for a few minutes, take your pet with you, or ask someone else to watch them.
Taking these extra precautions will ensure that you and your furry friends can enjoy cuddling in front of the cozy fire all winter long!
For more information on keeping your entire family safe around the fire, contact Sara Madden at MatchlessNY@gmail.com. Matchless Stove & Chimney is a specialty hearth retailer providing design, installation, and maintenance services for residents of New York’s Capital District.