There are almost 50 million households with dogs and over 30 million households with cats in America.
Toss pet birds into the mix and you’re looking at around 85 million American households with pets. If you’re a pet owner that wants a fireplace, you need to think long and hard about the way your pet impacts the situation. An especially mischievous pet could cause a lot of issues with a fireplace.
That said, there’s not really anything to worry about as long as you take fireplace safety seriously. It’s even more important when you have pets, so we’ve got some fireplace safety tips for you today.
Sitting by the fire with your cat or dog cuddled up to you alone makes installing a fireplace worth it. Keep reading and make sure that there aren’t any pet mishaps.
Start With Training
As they say, it’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks, but training your pet to stay away from the fire should be a priority. Per the old adage, it’s easier to do this with a younger pet that’s already in the training phase. If your pet’s curiosity wins out, they could put themselves in harm’s way.
Whether it’s getting too close to the fire, getting hit with an ember, or getting too close to the fireplace implements, there’s a lot that can go wrong for your pet. Use every training tactic in the book to make sure that they know that going near an active fireplace is a bad idea for them.
It’s not just your pet that needs training. If you’re going to install and regularly use a fireplace, especially a wood fireplace, you need to keep your wits about you. No matter how much you train your pet to stay away, if you don’t watch them, bad things can happen.
Like humans, household animals enjoy the warmth and trance-like qualities of fire. They could always forget the rules and get too close if you’re not around to tell them not to. Whether it’s other members of the household or you’re entertaining guests, make sure everyone knows your pet can’t get too close.
Get Yourself a Screen
A good way to discourage pets from going near your fire is to install a safety screen in front of the fireplace. Protective screens separate the fire from kids and pets, but they’re also helpful at keeping sparks contained within the inner hearth.
This is especially important to consider with wood fireplaces that have an open hearth. As the wood burns and shifts, sparks can fly about. Usually, this doesn’t cause problems, but if one hits your pet, it could be burned.
When you’re dealing with electric or gas fireplaces, there’s usually a glass enclosure or a door that easily keeps pets out. If you’re worried about your pet being a bit too nosy (to their own detriment), this might be a great option to consider. Head over to our site to learn more about different types of fireplaces.
Make Sure the Fire Is Always Out
It sometimes takes a while for the embers of a wood fire to completely burn out. If you’re not careful, it’s possible that your nighttime fire could smolder away and even reignite if conditions allow. For the safety of your pet and your home, always make sure that a fire is really out before leaving.
When you’re finished with a fire, the first step is to stop adding fuel to it. Once the remaining logs have burned up, take your poker and spread the remaining embers into a mound. Next, use the scoop to take cooler ash from the bottom and place it on top of the smoldering embers.
Wait until you’re positive the fire won’t reignite and the ash has cooled, then sweep them up and put them in an ash container. It’s a bit of a process, but it ensures that you’re following proper fireplace safety guidelines.
Fireplace Safety Tips
While we’re on the subject, let’s discuss fireplace maintenance. When you have a wood fireplace, you have to make sure you’re cleaning it on a regular basis. If the creosote from the burnt logs is allowed to build up, it can create a serious fire hazard for you and your pet.
With a gas fireplace, you need to be wary of carbon monoxide. This is an undetectable gas that can cause a lot of harm if the flue and damper aren’t left open on your fireplace. Get yourself a detector so that you’re notified at the first appearance of this silent killer.
How Not to Decorate Your Fireplace
When you have a nice fireplace, you want to make it the centerpiece of your living area. One way to do that is to decorate the area around the fireplace, whether around the hearth or up on the mantel. If you’ve got pets, however, you have to be mindful of the type of decorations you use.
For instance, cats enjoy jumping up to the high ground, whether or not it’s suitable for them. Don’t leave anything that entices your cat—dangly objects especially—on the fireplace mantel because they could knock it down into the fire.
Try to keep ground-level decorations a reasonable distance away from the fireplace as well. The recommended distance is 3 feet, but with pets in the mix, the more space you give the fire, the better.
Keep Tools and Accessories Stored
In addition, you should keep all of your fireplace accessories stored when you’re not using them. Heavy fireplace tools like your poker and scoop could fall and injure your pet if you’re not careful. The hearth should always be clear of anything that your pet might get into.
It’s important to keep a fire extinguisher handy for emergencies, but this should be inaccessible to your pet. They may start to play with it, which could engage it and wreak havoc in your home.
Enjoy Your Pets and Your Fireplace
Installing a fireplace in your home is exciting for you and your pets. All you need to do to keep them safe is take these fireplace safety tips to heart. It’s not difficult to stick to these simple rules to keep your pet safe at home.
If you’re looking to install a fireplace in your Philadelphia home, there’s none better for the job than Dreifuss Fireplaces. We’ve got a rich history of serving Philly homeowners and businesses, so contact us today to discuss your vast fireplace options.