Now that the rain clouds have officially moved on, it’s time for some summer fun! During this time of year, our backyard spaces get a lot more use than they ordinarily do, which means there are new hazards and dangers to be aware of. While we know to watch our kids and pets around the pool, we should also be conscious of what they’re doing around a grill or fire pit. Pets especially are curious creatures and look for anything and everything that seems like it could be fun. So before you break out the coals for an evening bonfire with friends, make sure you have these four safety tips in mind.
1. Establish Boundaries
One of the best ways to prevent your furry friends from frequenting an area that is potentially dangerous is to keep them away from it altogether. By establishing boundaries before your party—or even before the summer season is in full swing—you eliminate several risks involved with outdoor entertainment. If your pets are weary to listen to you, set up a physical boundary, similar to the fence that goes around a pool to keep small children away without supervision. Choose a fence material like wood or vinyl that won’t get knocked down by you or your pets and is able to withstand the heat from the bonfire or grilling area.
2. Keep it Small
While most of us wouldn’t start a giant bonfire with people and animals around, fires tend to become overzealous without much help. To keep the size of the flame small, make sure you have retardants nearby, such as water or a fire extinguisher. If you’re stoking a fire in an outdoor chimney or fireplace, make sure you have a screen in place to mask flames and embers that could harm you or your pets.
3. Don’t Leave
Our number one tip for protecting your pets from the potential harm of an outdoor fire pit? Don’t leave them unattended. Whether this is your pup’s first or 50th outdoor party, it’s in his best interest that you keep a close eye on his whereabouts. Should you have to get up to grab the burgers or mix some drinks, keep your pet on a short leash nearby and occupied with a treat or toy. Better yet, ask a friend to keep an eye on him. That way, there is constant supervision.
4. The 24-Hour Rule
What many people don’t know is that a fire isn’t truly out until a day after it’s been extinguished. When you’re wrapping up your evening soiree, make sure to thoroughly douse the fire with plenty of water. A good rule of thumb is to dunk the flames until the hissing sound dies out. Next, you’ll want to scrape the sticks, logs and fire pit itself for embers that could’ve gone astray. Lastly, keep your pets away from the pit until the coals have completely cooled, approximately 24 hours later. While the fire is much less dangerous once it’s been extinguished, parts of its aftermath could still harm your pets, like loose embers or hot coals.
With these safety tips in mind, feel free to enjoy your summertime fun with your friends, family and pets, of course!