As the holidays approach, state and area fire prevention officials warn that fires could happen not as a direct result of any person. According to the National Fire Protection Association, pets and other animals inadvertently set about 510 house fires every year in this country. Hall says from 2006 to 2010, such fires caused an average of $8.7 million in property damage and injured eight humans a year. Animals—including wild ones or pests like rats or insects—are capable of starting a fire any time, but the majority involve a heat source, like a stove, light fixture, candle, embers, or a space heater. And over colder holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, there's often more activity around those sources than usual.
Remind your veterinary clients that pets especially need monitoring around holidays when owners may be cooking or baking treats more often or when potentially flammable decorations are out. A dog or cat wearing a homemade costume might get too close to candle with an open flame. Any animal that has contact with heat sources like open flame and space heaters can start a fire. The best advice you can give clients is that they should never leave these type of devices unattended and they should always supervise their pets. And they should always equip their homes with smoke detectors.