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Tips to keep your dog from starting a house fire

American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

Did you know that in the winter, things like heating devices and candles cause one in six reported home fires? An estimated 500,000 pets a year are affected by home fires every year, nearly 1,000 of which are accidentally started by pets, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

The American Kennel Club offers these tips to help prevent home fires and keep your pets safe:

Install smoke detectors. Having smoke detectors installed is a great step, but it’s not enough. Make sure to test them once a month and replace the batteries annually. On top of this, keep fire extinguishers in your home in places that are easily accessible.

Never leave open flames unattended. Dogs are naturally curious. Leaving them unattended to investigate things like cooking appliances, candles and fireplaces is extremely dangerous. Make sure that any open flames and sources of heat are thoroughly cooled and extinguished before leaving your home.

Be careful with stove knobs. A stove or cooktop is the number one piece of equipment involved when dogs start a fire. Some stove knobs just need to be pressed to turn on, which is an easy way for dogs to accidentally turn them on just by leaning on or jumping up on them. Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house.

Try flameless candles. These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame and take the danger out of candles, while still providing the ambiance of candlelight.


Keep dogs and gear near exits. Make sure your dogs always have their collars on and keep your leashes in an accessible place in case firefighters need to rescue your dogs in an emergency. When you leave dogs home alone, keep them near rooms with exits where they can easily be found.

Secure puppies. 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, so if you can’t monitor them at all times or have to leave them home alone, opt for these.

Place a pet alert decal on a window. Write down the number of dogs inside your home and attach the cling to a front-facing window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your dogs. These decals can be found at your local pet stores.

For more information on responsible dog ownership, visit the AKC at


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