How To Protect Your Pet In A Fire

Dog by open fire

How Can We Protect Our Pets From Fire?


Estimated Read Time: 6 ½ minutes

Summary: In this blog, we learn all about pet fire safety! We’ll find out how we can protect our pets in the case of fire and how to be the best pet parent in one of the worst situations. Read on to find out how to protect your pet in a fire…


Our dogs, cats and other domestic animals we may choose to keep are a part of our family. Therefore, if we’ve run fire drills with our partner and kids, we need to consider what we’d do to help our dog out of the house in case of fire too. 

Will Dogs Avoid Fire?

Can Dogs Smell Smoke?

There’s no sure-fire way to tell your dog is smelling smoke specifically, but dogs will try and get away from a scent they don’t like as quickly as possible. They can usually tell if something smells bad or is posing a threat to them or their family and will try and do what they can to help.

A dog will typically howl, jump and/or bark to get your’s or someone’s attention that there is a fire or other dangerous issue arising.

If a smell (like smoke) is distressing them but a fire isn’t obvious, they may sneeze, exhibit distressed behaviour, pant and/or face in the direction of the smoke or smell.

If your dog is displaying behaviour like this, make sure you don’t punish them or ignore them. Let them take you to where they can smell danger and determine the situation yourself, raising the alarm and evacuating if required. 

You could also consider actively training your dog to bark at you in emergencies, rather than just relying on their instincts. Contact an ethical, kind, reputable, professionally-qualified trainer to help advise you on how to do so.

doodle sitting by fire

How To Prevent Your Pet From Causing A Fire

Yes, your pets are of course capable of starting an accidental fire in your home! Cats jumping onto hobs, knocking over lit candles or dogs throwing their toys into a fire… Just like child-proofing, you need to pet-proof your home too to protect everyone from a potential fire.

Fireplace Guards

Always cover a fireplace with a guard, and never leave a lit fire unattended when a pet is present. 

Secure Wires, Cords and Cables

Particularly if you own a teething puppy, secure your cords and wires in specially designed cases or bind them properly to the wall so your kitty or pup can’t chew at them or play with them.

Avoid Open Flames

Like to light candles? It may be worth investing in some faux, flameless candles or if you must have real ones, keep them out of reach of wagging tails and curious paws. And, just like with a fire, never leave a lit flame unattended. The same rules go for things like BBQs and outdoor grills, pizza ovens or fire pits.

Oven Protection

You can get covers to put over your dials, knobs and switches on your oven or hobs to stop them from being turned unintentionally by stray paws! To stop your pet from trying to get up there in the first place, cover and move leftovers to the fridge as soon as possible and keep flammable items (like oils) in cupboards instead of next to the cooking area.

How To Protect Your Pet In A Fire

You can’t always prevent a fire, but there are several steps you can take to prepare for the case of one and ultimately help preserve your pet’s life:

  • Fit smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and check regularly that they work
  • Have your pet microchipped and make sure they’re always wearing a collar with ID tags in case they become lost or injured because of a fire. It’s actually compulsory under UK law to microchip your dog. This must be done before the dog is 8 weeks old, and you can be fined up to £500 if your dog is found to not be microchipped.
  • Consider having a pet door installed so they have easy access in and out of the house
  • Don’t lock your pet in anywhere like a cage or a room unattended. If you have to, choose a room that’s closest to the main entry door so a firefighter will be able to get to them
  • Know where your pets nap, take a time out or hide because if they can’t be located and are scared or injured, that’s probably where they’ll put themselves. Don’t know where your dog or cat wanders off to sometimes? Follow them. It may save their life one day.
  • Practise fire drills as you would at work, school or at home with your children, with your pet. Get your dog or cat used to being picked up and marched out of the house, so they don’t struggle/panic as much in a real scenario. In particular with dogs, get them really good at their recall training so you know they’ll come to you even when confused in an emergency and away from the danger.

Unfortunately, the reason for most pets dying in house fires is because their owner wasn’t at home and they couldn’t find a way out. So, you may want to consider kitty or doggy day care or hiring a sitter if you’re away from the home and there can’t be someone you know or another adult member of the household present with them.

Petlab Co. Pro Tip: It may also be worth leaving an emergency pet evacuation pack as close to the main entrance to your home as you can. This can include a spare collar, leash, any medication they need, water and a portion of food. In case you have to leave your mobile phone behind, you may also choose to put a photograph of your pet in this pack in case you become separated in an emergency and you can show others what they look like.

dog with owner by fire

How Do You Let Firefighters Know You Have Pets?

If you’ve managed to get out of the house quickly but had to leave your furry friend behind due to it being unsafe or impossible, communicate that you have a pet stuck in the house to firefighters as soon as you can.

However, if the worst happens and you’re left unconscious or injured due to fire, you won’t be able to do this. To cover this potential circumstance, you can get a “dog in house fire sticker” that clearly states the number of pets and the types of pets present in your home that will need the fire rescue’s assistance. You can also put their vet’s contact details on it. Place the sticker in the window as close to the main entrance of the property as possible.

If you are able to leave your home with your pets, make sure you communicate to the fire service that you’ve rescued the pets mentioned on the sticker so they don’t waste their time or risk their lives unnecessarily. 

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