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    National Pet Fire Safety Day

    Australian Shepherd Puppy Fireman

    Today, July 15, 2011 is National Pet Fire Safety Day.  When we hear about pets and fires in the home, we often think of the dog who awakens his owner, saving lives with a warning bark about a fire in the house.

    But pets are also the victims of fire.  According to Pet Safety Alert, 40,000 pets are killed in fires annually, most of them in residential fires.

    Every year, the Animal Medical Center provides care to pets who have been trapped in burning buildings and rescued by New York’s bravest, our friends at the NYC Fire Department.

    As a pet lover, you can take action to prevent pet-related fires and to protect your pet if there is a fire.

    To help firefighters find all of your pets, the folks at ADT Home Security Systems offer a free window cling to alert firefighters to the presence of pets in the home.  You can request one through their website.

    Firefighters want to help pets suffering from smoke inhalation, but the oxygen masks designed for humans are not shaped to fit a pet’s nose.  If you are feeling philanthropic, donate a pet oxygen mask to your local firefighting team.

    Pet proofing your home can help to prevent a catastrophic fire.  Candles are a huge danger for pets.  A wagging tail can knock a candle off the coffee table and into a pile of flammable papers.  My own cat, who had a big puffy tail, swished it over a lit candle and nearly went up in flames!  Space heaters and backyard grills present a hazard, as they can easily be knocked over by a pet and start a fire.

    To protect the entire family, make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have their batteries changed twice a year.  A good time to change the batteries is when you change the clocks for daylight savings time in the spring and fall.

    Like people, pets can suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning.  If everyone in the family is ill and your pet is exhibiting the following signs, see your veterinarian and mention you are concerned about carbon monoxide poisoning.

    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Cough
    • Loss of exercise stamina
    • Disturbances in gait
    Photo: iStockphoto
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