Our pets are significant to us as man’s best friends and family members. We will do everything to keep them safe at all times. Emergencies can happen at any moment that we are unaware of and can happen countless times. We may never entirely prevent such things from happening. However, we can prepare ourselves and also our pets.
July 15 is Pet Fire Safety Day and over 500,000 pets are affected by fires each year, according to the AFAI. 40,000 pets die in fires from smoke inhalation. A fire could destroy your home at any time, which we may not realize. This could be due to space heaters or a natural fire. Most Americans have pet evacuation plans. If necessary, make a plan. First, make sure your smoke alarms have functional batteries. In case of an emergency, assign each family member a pet.
Keep your pet safe in the Summer heat! Learn more in this blog: Keeping Pets Safe from the Summer Heat
Protecting your pets in case of potential danger
According to the American Red Cross, home fires are the most common disaster in the U.S. that they respond to, and they could be the most preventable too.
Most pet fire protection plans should involve pets.
You must prepare a fire safety or emergency pack. If you need to leave your home, establish a safe spot for them. When you have an escape plan, practice bringing your pets. Train them to come when you call so they will be in a fire.
In a fire, evacuate your pets quickly.
They may get imprisoned or flee and face life-threatening risks. Not all shelters allow pets, so ask your vet for advice and research kennels and facilities. Ask your local animal shelter whether they offer emergency shelter or foster care. Local research is required. Know where to go and what to expect in a crisis by having options. Knowing if there’s a disaster-ready animal refuge is also vital. Find hotels or motels that welcome pets.
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This decision requires time and thought. Consider a local temporary caregiver. The caregiver you choose should be available during the day or have easy access to your home. Give a trusted caregiver your house keys. You can ask neighbors with pets for aid, and you may even take care of theirs in exchange, depending on who is accessible. When picking a permanent pet sitter, be sure they can be trusted. When you leave your pets behind. Consider pet-owners. This foster parent has cared for pets before. Discuss your pet care expectations with them, so they realize the weight of the duty.
Install monitored smoke alarms.
These are good for fire-prone areas or if you’re worried about a fire. Even if you’re not home, monitored smoke detectors alert firefighters and rescues immediately.
Note where your pet likes to nap or hide. Map all the cubby holes for your escape plan. This is vital if you must flee quickly. Cats hide when stressed, making them hard to detect in peril. Use crates for your pets so they won’t run in an emergency.
Note the animal hospital’s number and address. With this knowledge, you’ll know where to take injured dogs for care swiftly.
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Prep travel and emergency kits.
In case you must evacuate during a crisis, plan for the worst. Even if you’re gone for a day, assume you won’t be back for weeks or months.
What to prep
First, Make sure all your dogs have updated collars and tags for faster evacuation. Pet IDs should include your name, number, and email. Microchipping is also advised as a pet ID. Most animal shelters can read the microchip in your pet’s shoulder area. If your electronics are lost or damaged, write down the microchip number.
Next, you should have an emergency kit, and leashes kept close to an exit. Inform all your family members where the kit is stored, and be sure that it is clearly labeled and easy to move and carry. Things to include in your emergency kit are:
- your food
- pet food
- pet medication, if any
- pet documents, including medical history, etc
- pet photos, in case they get lost or you were separated from them
You should prepare emergency kits with three to seven days worth of self-sustaining food and water. Medications should be at least seven to fourteen days worth.
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Other things that you should include in your emergency kit:
- Pet first-aid kit and guidebook
- Disposable litter trays (aluminum pans work best)
- Litter or paper toweling
- Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
- Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
- Pet feeding dishes and water bowls
- At least seven days’ worth of bottled water for each person and pet (make sure to store them in a cool, dry place and replace them every two months)
- A travel/duffel bag, crate or sturdy carrier, preferably one for each pet
- Specifically for cats: Pillowcases, toys, scoop-able litter
- Specifically for dogs: Extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week’s worth of cage liner
Practice your routine.
You should place your emergency kit near your pet carrier, which also carries your pet’s information. If your pet’s routine doesn’t include spending much time in a pet carrier, ensure they are familiarized with it so you will not have added stress. Another good thing to do is to practice transport routines, like taking them to the car, securing them inside the vehicle, or taking them for a ride.
Keep outdoor pets away from danger too.
Outdoor pets are prone to fires too. Keep your pet houses or pens away from areas full of woods. If you have a doghouse, a pen for rabbits, or any other outdoor pets, be sure they are 20 feet away from any brush that could start a fire. With this, you will have enough time to go out and rescue your pets if a fire starts burning your property.
We also suggest creating open access.
It is smart to leave an outside door open. If you must evacuate immediately and can’t locate your pet inside the house, leave a door outside and call your pet’s name once you have already gotten out of the house. However, this only usually works better for dogs than cats. Dogs will immediately head for your voice in case they hear you. Just be prepared since he’ll be, of course, in a state of panic. Also, ensure that you inform your family members of a designated meeting place near your home so everyone can meet in an emergency.
Practice fire drills with your pets.
You must include your pets in your family fire drills. Practice a scenario where you look for them and get them outside of the house.
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Prevent your pets from starting fires
According to the National Fire Protection Association, around 1,000 home fires are accidentally started by the homeowner’s pets. Here are some tips to avoid fires, as said by The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services:
Extinguish open flames
Always ensure your pets are not left unattended around an open flame since they are generally curious and will explore cooking appliances, candles, and even your fireplace. Also, always extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
Remove stove knobs
We greatly suggest removing stove knobs or placing covers over them before leaving your home. This is the most common equipment involved in your pets instigating a fire.
Invest in flameless candles
These candles only contain a light bulb instead of an open flame and would prevent your pet from knocking over a candle. Cats are known for starting fires when their tails hit a candle.
Secure young pets
Leave your pets in crates or behind baby gates in safe areas when you leave your home so they would be away from possible fire-starting hazards.
Always take care of your electrical cords
Always check that there are no dangling electrical chords scattered in your homes. These chords could strangle your pets and even electrocute them if they chewed on them. Chewed and damaged cords should be immediately thrown away and replaced since they can start a fire.
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Always secure your fireplace
A fireplace can be a comfortable place for your family and pets. However, this can immediately start a fire nearby a rug or a dog bed. We suggest avoiding placing fabric items near a fireplace and placing a glass fireplace guard to keep the ashes and wood in the fireplace so and won’t be scattered around.
Avoid placing glass water bowls on wood decks
You may not know this, and it might be new information for you. Incidentally, a glass water bowl left in the sun can act as a magnifying glass and make the sun’s rays into a hot beam. When a wood deck is not properly treated with flame retardants, the heat from the sun could start a fire. Flame-retardants are substances added to materials to avoid catching fire or slowing down the burning process. We suggest using plastic or metal bowls instead of glass bowls.
Protecting your pets in case of fire the outside
Your pets may also be in danger of fires outside of your homes. During the summer months, families always hold campfires and cookouts and your pets are often together with you at these fun events. It’s currently summer, and barbecue parties are common during this season. Although pets can have fun during these events, this can also stress your pets because of new people, strange smells, tempting foods in your grill, and loud noises. It is essential as fur parents to be responsible for our pets even though we are busy having fun.
No pets near the hot grill
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, all pets should be at least three feet away from the hot grill. Also, the charcoal or lighter fluid used for the grills might attract curious pets, and they can kill them due to toxicity if ingested. Also, grease that can be found below your grill can be tempting and tasty for your pets. This can cause gastrointestinal problems and even pancreatitis. Moreover, sharp tools for grilling can also be dangerous. For all these reasons, it is imperative to always keep your pets away from your grill. In any case, someone should always attend to the grill.
Keep your pets secure and ensure they have updated information
Your pets can escape and get lost because of the anxiety they may feel because of the many people coming and going. Always make sure that your gates are closed at all times when people are not using them. The second tip is if your dog is on a leash, double-check that the leash is secure. Keep your pet’s identification tags and microchip information updated in case an emergency happens and if they get lost. In some cases, pets can get lost during gatherings.
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Special considerations for horses
Make sure that your stable and pasture are always clean and tidy.
Be wary of hazardous and flammable materials, debris, and machinery from around the barn’s walkways, entrances, and exits. Always maintain and inspect barn floors and septic tanks. Always check your grounds regularly and remove dangerous debris in the pasture.
You could prevent fires in your barns by making a no-smoking policy.
Avoid using or leaving your appliances working in the barn-like box fans, heaters, and power tools that can overheat. Also, exposed wiring can lead to electrical fires in the barn, and a simple nudge from a horse can accidentally knock over a machine.
Have your horse wear a halter and get used to “trailering”
At times, you should practice your horse getting on a trailer. This is the same as fire drills happening in schools.
Always inspect your trailer
Make sure your towing vehicle can carry the trailer and your horse and that the trailer is hitched properly. You should lock the hitch on the ball, safety chains or cables attached, and your emergency brake battery is charged and linked to the towing vehicle. Correct tire pressure also counts as important.
Have your horse well-socialized and be used to being around strangers
We suggest inviting emergency responders or members of your local fire service to interact with your horse. It would be really good if they became acquainted. Ask the firefighters to wear their usual response gear so your horses can get used to their look and smell.
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Have a phone buddy system with different horse owners and local farms in your town. This could help you when you need to evacuate animals, or you could share trailers and pastures.
Keep records updated
Make sure that your equine veterinary records are in a safe place and that you can quickly get it in times of emergencies. Also, have emergency phone numbers on your phone. Include your 24-hour veterinarian, emergency services, and friends. You should also have a copy of the emergency services personnel in your barn.
- Your pet birds should be transported or moved in a secure travel cage or carrier.
- Ensure you have a blanket over your pet’s cage during cold weather. This can help your birds reduce the stress they feel when you travel.
- Carry a spray bottle to moisten your bird’s feathers during warm weather.
- Prepare your pet bird’s recent photos and have your bird’s leg bands on for identification.
- If your carrier does not have a perch, use paper towels instead so you can always change them.
- Have your carrier in a quiet area as much as possible.
- You must feed birds daily, so we suggest buying a timed feeder. The feeder will have his daily feeding schedule if you need to leave your pet behind out of the blue.
- Items that are handy for your pet bird: catch net, heavy towel, blanket or sheet to cover the cage and cage liner
- Your pet snake can be transported in a pillowcase. However, it is still important to have permanent and secure cages for the snake when you reach a safe place.
- Have with you a sturdy bowl that is large enough for your pet to soak in. We also suggest bringing a heating pad or other warming device like a hot water bottle.
- Lizards can be transported like birds.
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- You should transport small animals such as hamsters, gerbils, mice, and guinea pigs in secure carriers with blankets, food, and food bowls.
- Some items needed to transport them are salt lick, an extra water bottle, a small hide box or tube, and a week’s worth of bedding.
Help firefighters help your pets.
When leaving your home, we suggest keeping your pets near the entrances of your house.
Prepare the leashes for your pets and keep collars on them in case a fire is instigated and firefighters need to rescue your pets. In addition, please keep them in areas where the rescuers can easily look for them.
Rescue Alert Sticker
use a pet alert window cling or a rescue alert sticker and include the number of pets inside your house and your veterinarian’s information and place this on your front window or at your front door. This is very important information so firefighters would immediately know what to rescue, and they could easily save time when locating your pets. Also, ensure that the number of your pets listed is updated on the pet alert window cling.
Pet first aid kit in case of other emergencies besides fire
In case of fire or accident, you need a pet first aid package. Knowing pet safety can be helpful. Pets trying to escape may get cuts. A pet first aid kit in your purse will ease your anxieties during accidents and injuries. Keep a home and car kit. In case of injury, you’ll be ready. You can buy a kit at a local pet store or build one to your pet’s needs with items from your medicine cupboard or pantry. We hope you never need it, but it could save your pet’s life in an emergency.
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First aid kit checklist for your pets
Step 1: Gather information
The first step in creating a first aid kit for your pets is to gather copies of important phone numbers, documents, and health records and secure them in a safe place. These include the following:
- Your veterinarian’s phone number and the number for your closest 24-hour emergency veterinarian
- Your pet’s vaccination history
- A recent photo (in case your pet gets lost)
Step 2: Invest in a pet first aid guidebook.
Do not just rely on the internet search results for information on what to do in case of a pet emergency since they can sometimes lead to non-expert advice and can give you problems during emergencies in case your internet gets disconnected. Although it can also help you, we suggest purchasing a pet first aid guidebook. It can let you be more aware of what to exactly and correctly do in emergencies or any given situation. Moreover, veterinarians have already verified the information written in the book and looked through so you can trust the book.
Some first aid books are organized alphabetically according to each injury or illness so you can easily browse the needed information. They also include a list of human medicines that are okay to give to your pets. Furthermore, they also contain temperature, heart rate, and responsiveness charts to help you know your pet’s condition.
Step 3: Gather and organize your supplies
Have the things needed in your pet first aid kit organized and kept in a waterproof organizer, such as a tool kit with a removable top tray or a heavy-duty locking style. These kinds of organizers won’t grab the attention of your curious pets and children.
According to the American Kennel Club and The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a well-stocked pet first aid kit contains the following items:
- Vet wrap
- Activated charcoal (which can save your dog’s life from accidental poisoning)
- Blunt-end scissors
- An instant cold pack
- Hydrogen peroxide (used to induce vomiting in dogs in an emergency)
- Tweezers and an old credit card for removing bee stingers
- Cotton balls and swabs
- A penlight or flashlight
- Nail clippers
- Veterinary antibiotic ointment (antibiotic creams such as Neosporin are not recommended for dogs)
- Vetericyn (so that your pets won’t feel pain when cleaning the wound and to help with skin irritations)
Step 4: Collect other emergency essentials
Another thing to consider is gathering a few other things you may need to transport or comfort a sick or injured pet. These things include:
- A pet carrier
- A spare leash (a slip rope leash that allows you to secure a dog on the move quickly)
- A collapsible water bowl and extra water
- Your dog’s favorite, non-perishable treats and a spare favorite toy
Step 5: Get it all together and review
Make sure to review all the information we have given to make your own pet first aid kit and take some time to organize and gather all the things needed. Now that you have the needed information to organize a first aid kit for your pets, it is also important to think of an emergency preparedness plan for your pet in case of an emergency.
Final thoughts about the pet first aid kit
Organizing a first aid kit for your pets could go a long way for you and your pet. Keeping a fully-stocked kit ready on hand for your pets can prevent minor injuries leading to a trip to a pet hospital early in the morning. For instance, an antibiotic ointment may prevent a little cut from getting infected. Meanwhile, pet-friendly activated charcoal mixed with water can help your pets vomit the poison they have accidentally ingested. It’s better to be prepared than sorry, so we suggest creating and organizing a pet first aid kit.
Help pets recover after an emergency.
Your pets may become aggressive or defensive when they experience stressful situations like fires, earthquakes, storms, or other natural disasters. Their behavior may change dramatically. Always take note of their well-being and protect them from further hazards and other dangers to ensure their safety.
- Always keep a close watch on your pets and keep them under your control, as fences and gates may have been damaged, and they might escape.
- Your pets may become too stressed and disoriented, especially if the disaster affected their scent markers. Scent markers allow them to find their home, so be wary of their behavior change.
- Take note of hazards at the nose and paw or hoof level, especially debris, spilled chemicals, fertilizers, and other substances that may endanger your pets.
- We also suggest consulting your veterinarian if any behavior problems persist.
Ask us for help with pet fire safety or anything that may bother you.
Now that you have more information regarding pet safety, please do all the tips we suggested to keep your pets safe and away from danger. Call or text Advantage Insurance Solutions in Denver, Colorado at 720) 221-8168 for your pet insurance needs.