Pets are like family. Every animal enthusiast understands the special bond, deep connection and unconditional love that exists between a pet and their owner. To the animal lovers of the world, it is a relationship we can’t imagine life without. Life is full of celebrations and struggles and pets are the most loyal and caring companions to go through the good times and bad times with. They’re truly man’s best friend.

In fact, two thirds of Americans live with an animal, and according to a 2011 Harris poll, 90 percent of pet owners think of their dogs and cats as members of the family. Among pet owners, seven in 10 have a dog (69%), half have a cat (51%), one in 10 have a fish (11%), and less than one in 10 pet owners have a bird (7%) or some other type of pet (8%).

Having an animal is extremely rewarding and beneficial. According to the CDC, pets can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and feelings of loneliness. Pets can also increase your opportunities for outdoor exercise and activities, while providing chances and openings for socialization. Studies have shown owning a pet helps with people’s overall emotional and mental well-being. Many owners feel less lonely, stressed, afraid, depressed, anti-social and much more. While the positives are tremendous, it also takes a significant amount of work, effort and awareness. While pets are loving additions to your family and home, there are many things to take into consideration in order to manage them well. All pets require time, money, and love along with the specific needs of each animal and breed. But, ask any owner and they would likely do anything for their pet. For devoted pet owners, their furry friends are beloved members of the family with whom they share a mutually beneficial relationship.

Pets manage to bring so much joy into our lives. They make us smile and laugh, comfort us when we’re sad or sick, and are always there for us no matter what. We need to always be there for them in return by providing them the safety and protection they deserve. One of the signs of a responsible and skilled pet ownership is the ability and knowledge in providing safety measures and planning and preparing for unexpected emergencies.

One of the things pets need protection from is fires and injuries and illnesses related to hot weather including heat stroke, sunburn, and burns. An estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by home fires. Nearly 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners’ pets, according to a new data analysis by the National Fire Protection Association. The American Kennel Club® and ADT Security Services have joined forces for the annual National Pet Fire Safety Day to spread awareness about how pets can start home fires and more importantly how to prevent them. The special day commences on July 15th, but remember that pets need protection every day.

Fires can be devastating and destructive. Simple protective measures and awareness can be the difference between life and death. As loved and valued family members, it makes sense to include your pet in fire prevention plans and rescue alerts in case a fire strikes.

In honor of National Pet Fire Safety Day, here are tips from The AKC and ADT to protect your pet and ways to provide escape and rescue:

Prevent your pet from starting fires

Extinguish open flames – Pets are curious creatures and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.

Remove stove knobs – Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a stove or cook top is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.

Invest in flameless candles – These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.

Beware of water bowls on wooden decks – Do not leave a glass water bowl for your pet outside on a wooden deck.  The sun’s rays, when filtered through the glass and water, can actually heat up and ignite the wooden deck beneath it. Choose stainless steel or ceramic bowls instead.

Keep your pets safe

Keep Pets Near Entrances When Away From Home – Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet.  When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.

Secure Young Pets – Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.

Since Pets Left Alone Can’t Escape a Burning Home – Consider using monitored smoke detectors which are connected to a monitoring center so emergency responders can be contacted when you’re not home. These systems provide an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms.

Set-up a Pet Alert Window Cling – Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets.  Make sure to update the number of pets listed.

Planning for unexpected emergencies like home fires and taking the above precautions could mean a world of difference for you and your furry friends. We encourage you to learn the simple tips and techniques and implement ways to keep everyone safe from danger.

Along with fires, pets need protection from other heat related illnesses and injuries. Especially when the warmer weather ramps up and summer is in full effect, pet owners need to keep their beloved animals safe. As the temperature increases, so does the number of heat stokes, sunburns and other types of burns. The heat-related injury or death of a beloved pet is a tragic, and in most cases, a completely preventable situation.

Here are some hot weather tips for your pet:

  1. When the temperature is high, make sure your pets have a shady place to get relief from the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, give them access to cool water to drink, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
  2. Know the warning signs. According to the ASPCA, symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
  3. Never, ever leave your pet parked in a car. The vehicle can become like a steaming hot oven within minutes and become a fatal situation fast. In fact, leaving pets unattended in cars in extreme weather is illegal in several states.
  4. Give your pet a summer style and skin regimen. A lightweight summer haircut helps prevent overheating. Shave down to a one-inch length, but never to the skin, so your dog still has some protection from the sun. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. Be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
  5. Keep your pet safe from hot surfaces and keep walks at a minimum when the temperatures soar. Hot asphalt and cement can cause burning on sensitive feet and paws.
  6. Keep them safe during summer celebrations. Certain foods and drinks can be poisonous for pets and fun celebratory activities can be dangerous. Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma to curious pets and even unused fireworks can be hazardous.

Please seek immediate medical attention if your pet is showing signs or suffering from a heat related injury. Time is of the essence in these cases and can mean a life or death situation. Fast action can protect your pet and precautionary measures can prevent danger.

Pets are protective by nature to their owner and loved ones. Responsible and capable owners must reciprocate by providing protection in return from excessive heat and fire risks.

Happy summer and National Pet Fire Safety Day! Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy life and special times with your pets and loved ones! Remember to make every day pet and animal safety day.

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