Do animals instinctually know to stay away from fire? Yes, they do know fire is dangerous!
Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop your pets from wanting to be near the warmth your fireplace gives off. Most household pets are drawn to warm, sunny spots in your home.
That’s why you must practice pet safety when it comes to pets and fireplaces! Following a few fire safety tips will keep your pet and your home safe.
With our tips, you’ll be able to enjoy your fireplace this coming winter without worrying. Keep reading to learn more!
Start with Good Training
Because pets enjoy warmth, it can be a difficult task to keep them away from your fireplace. It’s a nice place for them to sit and bask in the glow of the fire.
However, they can get singed sitting even a foot away. It’s best to train them to keep a safe distance.
Cats are universally harder to train, and they especially like warmth. Take your time and use treats, toys, and praise to lure them away when they get close.
If that alone isn’t helping, try using a warm water bottle or hot rice sock under a blanket to tempt them away. They may enjoy the more direct heat of those options as their bed over the fireplace.
Some people have had luck keeping cats off of countertops by using tin foil. If your cat is making her bed on your mantle, that might work for you.
Every dog differs in what they like to receive as a reward in training. If yours loves food, use high-quality treats and a phrase associated with the treat to keep them safe.
Clicker training may work well along with positive praise for the dogs that prefer the warmth of the fireplace over treats. You’d be surprised what hot dogs, peanut butter, and cheese will accomplish for you though!
Always Have Glass Doors & Mesh Screens
Your fireplace should have glass doors that you can close when your fire is finished. It should also have a mesh screen for when your fire is rolling.
You should never close the glass doors completely when you have a fire going. You need a steady flow of oxygen to keep your fire lit.
That’s why you need mesh screens. Embers often jump out of wood-burning fireplaces, which is the reason your pet shouldn’t be sitting close.
Mesh screens catch these embers before they can fly out of the fireplace. If your fireplace doesn’t have these or you prefer a different look, you can buy standing screens.
These must be safely secured so that your pet doesn’t accidentally knock them over onto themselves. They should also be pressed right up against your fireplace to keep embers from coming out of the top or sides.
Use a Pet Gate
For those pesky pets that just don’t want to stay away from the fireplace, there are pet gates! These can help keep your pets at a safer distance than a mesh screen provides, but you should always have the screens closed anyway.
Pet or baby gates won’t help as much for cats that can jump over them. However, dogs and kids benefit from a gate!
Supervise Pets & Fireplaces
The best way to keep your pet away from your fireplace is to supervise them when you’ve got a fire going. Don’t leave them unattended with it, and, when the fire is done, close the glass doors.
Remember that the fireplace is still hot even if you no longer see flames. It can take 3 days for embers and ashes to no longer be hot.
Your fire should be put out by the time you’re going to bed or leaving the house. Even if you didn’t have a pet, you would need to keep watch of your fire.
Keep Their Bed Away From the Fireplace
Never place your pet’s bedding close to the fireplace. Bedding is extremely flammable and fire spreads quickly.
This also teaches them that it’s ok to approach the fireplace. It’s the opposite of the training that they need to keep them safe.
As we mentioned above, embers fly out of fireplaces and could burn your pet or light their bedding on fire. It seems like a cute idea to let them sleep on the hearth, but it’s very dangerous.
Store Fireplace Accessories Safely
Keep all of your fireplace accessories out of your pet’s reach. Tools like your fire poker and log mover can be hot and harm your pet. If you keep your tools on a stand, ensure it’s in a place they can’t knock it over.
Other things you need to start your fire such as starter chips and lighters need to be put away. These things can be toxic when ingested by curious pets.
Get Yearly Inspections
Overall fireplace safety is only possible with routine inspections. Hire a professional to come to your home and give your fireplace, vents, and chimney a proper examination.
Many animals find that chimneys are great spots to build their nests. This is a smoke hazard, as well as, a recipe for disaster for a pet that has a prey drive.
Last Pet Safety Tips
For pet safety around your fireplace, don’t play with them intensely near it. You or your pet could end up in the fireplace or getting burned by the doors/screens.
It’s wise to keep a fire extinguisher on hand for emergencies. Also, install smoke detectors and keep fresh batteries in them.
Looking to update your fireplace to gas? Learn more about gas fireplaces here and chat with an expert today!