Wednesday is National Pet Fire Safety Day. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by home fires and nearly 1,000 of these fires are accidentally started by the homeowners’ pets themselves. To help prevent fires and keep our pets safe from this residential threat, the American Kennel Club provides the following tips:

  • Extinguish open flames. Pets are curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles or even your fireplace. Do not allow your pet to be left unattended around an open flame, and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any flames before leaving your home.
  • Remove stove knobs. Be sure to remove stove knobs, or protect them with covers before leaving the house _ a stove or cook top is the No. 1 piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.
  • Give flameless candles a try. These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame and take the danger out the ambience of candlelight. Cats, in particular, are notorious for starting fires when their tails knock over lit candles.
  • Keep pets near exits. Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet in the event of an emergency. When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near your home’s exits where they can be easily found.
  • Secure young pets. Especially with young puppies, it is important to keep them confined and away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home. There are many options for safe, secure and comfortable crates and gates.
  • Hang a pet alert window cling. Write down the number of pets inside your home and attach the static cling to a front-facing window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets.

For more tips on dog ownership, visit the AKC at (c)2015 American Kennel Club.