Tips to Pet-Proof your Fireplace or Winter Stove
Pets are drawn to the warmth of a winter fire, just like we are. They enjoy a fireside snuggle on cold days, but there are many potential dangers. In a way similar to baby-proofing a house, pets need special protection from solid-fuel heating systems. Whether you have a dog or a cat, safety precautions around a wood or gas fireplace or stove can prevent your pet from being injured or worse.
Tips for Pet-Proofing your Fireplace or Stove
Puppies and kittens can quickly get into trouble around a fire, since they don’t understand the danger. Older dogs may be tempted to get too close, as they seek relief for achiness that warmth provides. Pets and their long tails, ears, fur, and paws are vulnerable near a fire. If pets come into contact with flames or with hot embers or sparks that fly out, they can suffer painful burns that could even be fatal. Another danger is that burning logs often fall off of the grate and roll onto the hearth. Pet-proofing is important, to keep dogs and cats safe. The following are some helpful pet-proofing tips for areas around fireplaces and stoves:
· The first pet safety rule around fires is to make sure your pet is never left alone in a room with a fire going inside a fireplace or stove. Even if you have all protective materials recommended below, pets should not be unsupervised around fires.
· Set your pet’s bed a safe distance from the fireplace, to be sure any popping embers don’t cause harm.
· Set up a pet gate or baby gate to make sure your pet can’t approach the fire. Fireplace hearth screens are available that could accomplish the same purpose, and they can provide a more attractive alternative. Whatever type you use, pets shouldn’t be capable of climbing the barrier.
· If possible, keep fireplace tools such as pokers, spades, fireplace brooms, and tongs safely behind the barrier, to prevent them from being knocked over by rowdy pets. Put away supplies such as starter chips, lighters, and matches, to prevent pets from ingesting them.
· Train your pet to stay away from the fireplace. It can be a tricky goal, since pets are naturally very curious, especially cats. Don’t allow any type of playing to go on in the area. A pet could accidentally end up in the flames during playtime, if boundaries aren’t maintained.
· Place all types of dangling decorations somewhere other than the mantel of your fireplace, since they could tempt a cat to make a leap for them.
Fireplace Safety for Everyone
Some pet safety fireplace tips are also important for everyone in the household. Schedule an annual chimney inspection, to be sure there are no obstructions or cracks in the flue. Creosote buildup in a chimney makes the flue extremely vulnerable to a hazardous chimney fire, which could lead to a house fire. Obstructions could mean that toxic gases enter your home, including deadly carbon monoxide. Contact Hudson Valley Chimney for help pet-proofing your fireplace or stove and for any of your chimney and fireplace needs.