Nothing like the feeling of peace, tranquility and warmth of sitting in front of a roaring fire sipping your favorite beverage before retiring for the evening. With the first really cold weather of the season bearing down on us, folks are cranking up the fireplace for the first time of the season.
Our pets, both cats and dogs alike, love to curl up by the fireplace. The perfect Norman Rockwell scene; a prelude to the holiday season. However, as I learned this morning, fire and pet fur don’t mix. While sipping on my first cup of morning coffee, I went over to turn on the gas logs in the fireplace. My kitty, Smoki, quickly joined me as I stood backed up to the fire. She began rubbing around my legs for some morning loving. Immediately, I smelled an odd smell of something burning and looked down to see if my jammies were on fire. To my horror, I saw the tip of Smoki’s tail literally ablaze! Luckily, my instinct reaction kicked in, and I quickly grabbed her tail to extinguish the flame. Thank goodness Smoki came out unscathed by the experience due to her very fluffy tail. Me not so much. This was something that could have been averted if I had taken the time to close the screen on fireplace enclosure.
Keeping pets safe while enjoying a fire is a serious concern. As I saw from my experience with Smoki, it only takes a blink of the eye for tragedy to strike. Even glass door inserts can pose a danger. People mistakenly believe that the glass doors on fireplace inserts provide a high level of safety and protection from the heat. These doors become extremely hot and can cause serious burns to children and curious pet noses.
Here are a few tips for keeping your pet safe around the fireplace:
1. Never leave your pet alone in the room with a lit fireplace
2. Place your pet’s bedding and other belongings like blankies and toys at a safe distance from the flame
3. Invest in a fireplace screen if your fireplace doesn’t have a built-in screen and keep it closed when fireplace is in use
4. Avoid placing items on the mantle that may spark your pet’s curiosity
5. Remove those heavy fireplace tools typically located on the hearth that are particularly susceptible to wagging tails
We can enjoy plenty of nights by the fireplace with our pets this holiday season if we adhere to these simple safety precautions.