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Using Candles Safely Around Pets

An open candle flame around pets is an accident waiting to happen. 

 

MetPet.com Staff Writer

It's lovely to have a row of candles flickering gently on the mantle or adding warmth to a side table.  However, the increasing popularity of candles are also causing an increase in the number of house fires. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that the number of house fires started by candles tripled during the 1990s to approximately 20,000 per year. 

That single pillar candle on the coffee table can be knocked over by a leaping cat's paw or a dog's wagging tail onto flammable furnishings.  Here are some helpful ideas to keep the candles burning safely so that you can enjoy their glow without worrying about accidents. 

In general, place candles in holders designed for that purpose.  Place candles away from flammable furnishings including drapes, books and upholstery.  Place candles out of drafts that come from air vents, windows and doorways.  Place candles on fire-proof surfaces.  If your dog shows excessive interest in the scent, you may want to avoid candles that smell like apple pie or other foodstuffs.

Place candles up high and in enclosures
Provided that your cats and dogs aren't master climbers and can't jump high enough to reach them, mantles are an ever popular place for candles.  If you have flammable drapes or decorations, consider hurricane style lamps with glass enclosures or smaller votives placed into fire-proof glass. 

If you don't have a mantle, try placing candles on one of the many types of open shelves available.  You can place these on any wall high above your pets and away from anything flammable.  They are very versatile and can also be used for displaying delicate decorations. 

Hang candles from the ceiling or the wall
Another popular alternative is to install chandeliers that use real candles instead of electric bulbs.  They add a terrific glow to the dinner table, just make sure that you use high quality drip free candles. 

If you don't want to turn your house back several centuries in the lighting department, consider accent lighting such as sconces.  Chandeliers and sconces come in a wide variety of materials and styles including iron, steel and glass.  They come sized for a single candle or an entire wall's worth.

An even more versatile alternative are hanging glass candle holders.  These look more like vases than traditional candle holders and some can be used for that purpose as well.  They hang from a sturdy string affixed to the ceiling and can be placed anywhere in the room. 

There are also room dividers and screens that include candle holders but these are dangerous around pets if they can be easily tipped over.  Innovative candle holders are available at home furnishings stores and online catalogs with new products appearing all the time. 

Consider Fake Candles
A new source for candles is the electronics industry which uses LEDs to mimic the flicker of candlelight.  These battery operated gadgets come in a variety of styles including tiny white plastic ones that you pop into your own votive holders to large resin pillar style candles with multiple flickering LEDs.

The fabulous fakes run on batteries and can be turned off when not in use.  They are also useful alternative to an open flame when lighting a pumpkin for Halloween or when nestling candles amongst pine boughs for the Holidays.

Related Information:
Pet Fire Safety Sign

 
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