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It's still tailgating time, Thanksgiving is here, and in a few
weeks it will be Christmas time. Outdoor grills, fireplaces, and
electrical appliances pose a risk to our pets that shouldn't be
overlooked. So don't spoil the happiness of the season and take
into account these pieces of advice for your pet and fire
"Animals have an instinctive fear of fire and smoke; they will
tend to stay away," says Dr. Mark Stickney, director of general
surgery services at the Small Animal Clinical Sciences the Texas
A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
(CVM). "Problems come literally when curiosity kills the cat. This
time of the year people set up space heaters and an animal doesn't
know and knocks it over, and the fire can start that way. Another
thing is when the holiday lights are going up and animals chew the
electrical cord and they can electrocute themselves".
Specifically now, near Christmas time, "when you receive a new
puppy or kitten and they don't now any better. They start playing
with the lights and they can get themselves electrocuted or they
can possibly start an electrical fire," Stickney says.
Other species that are infamous for chewing include rabbits, the
newly popular Guinea pigs, ferrets, and any pocket pets that have
easy access to items underneath furniture and close to the
What about reptiles? "They are not as fast movers, so they are
not going to knock over a space heater. The problem in this case is
that they can burn themselves. It's not so much a risk to the house
but it's a risk for them," Stickney says.
It is especially important to be more careful this time of the
year because of all the stir in the house with the incoming guests
and all of the extra decorations in the house. You need to
make sure that you are always around and that you never leave pets
unattended with electrical appliances. If you are not home, please
Secondly, make sure that you know where your pets are all the
time. If you have a new puppy or the children have been playing
with the Guinea pig, make sure that they haven't lost interest in
the pet and that it is accounted for especially when there are
guests in the house.
A helpful tip is to go to your local fire department and ask for
a sticker that you can put on an outside window that will tell the
fire department how many pets are in your house. "The sticker is a
great way in case there's an accident and your house is on fire for
the firemen to know that there are animals in the house that need
rescuing as well," Stickney says.
According to Stickney, "the biggest thing to bear in mind if you
have an outdoor pit, if you are setting up the grill or deep-frying
your turkey over Thanksgiving, is you want to make sure there are
no pets around where the deep-fryer is. If animals are not used to
being around pits they can eventually run into them and burn
themselves and potentially knock it over and start a fire in your
yard," says Stickney."
"When it comes to fire safety, think of your pet as a 2 or 3
year old child who doesn't know any better and who's going to make
the worst of any possible situation. Keep that in mind and that
will keep you out of trouble," states Stickney.
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