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Smoke Detectors and Family Pets

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The batteries in your home smoke detectors should last for quite a long time. However, once they begin to noticeably lose their charge the detector will begin to beep. This annoying reminder can be quite distressing to pets. This is a page about smoke detectors and family pets.


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December 7, 2011

I recently had an experience with my dogs that I will never, ever forget and need to share what I learned with other dog owners for their dogs and other inside pets they may have.

When a smoke alarm's battery is about to die, it will beep nonstop until it is replaced. Some alarms are louder than others, we have two within our home.

Last year when one of the batteries died and started to beep, it was loud and scared all three of my dogs. I had to run outside to our detached garage, get a ladder, run back inside, climb up and remove the battery. It took a little longer than 3 minutes and my dogs were visibly shaken. I stopped the loud noise and it took several hours for my dogs to calm down.


Time passed and I took one of my dogs to PetSmart. While there, she heard the forklift in their warehouse area and completely fell apart in the store. She was shaking all over and was absolutely terrified. I've taken her back a few times and each time the same thing happened so I now shop at PetSmart alone.

I wrote on my calendar when to change the battery and actually will probably physically do so much earlier than I need too. I never want my dogs to be that terrified again. I felt like an unfit mother. It never occurred to me to change the second smoke alarm because it was wired into the ceiling. I didn't know that it had a back up battery in it.

Well to make a very long story short, I was taking a shower when it decided to die. All of my dogs jumped into the shower with me, literally, shaking. Ginger is 95 pounds, Emma 70 pounds, and Rosie 65 pounds. I had just put hair conditioner on when it happened. If this wasn't so sad, it would of been almost hysterical to watch. I rinsed off the cream rinse, jumped into a robe and ran out to the garage with all 3 dogs, soaking wet, fast on my heels to get the ladder. I left all three in the backyard and removed the battery from the ceiling smoke detector as fast as I could.


Thank God, I'm disabled and was actually home when this happened. If I was still able to work and this had happened while I was gone, my three dogs would have been extremely stressed, if not worse.

Afterwards, my now muddy dogs, each had to have a bath and it took several hours to clean up the house and bathroom after their desperate escape to get away from the shrieking alarm.

Due to this, all three now panic when they hear trucks backing up. There's nothing I can do, to undo how they react to the noise, but if I can help other owners and pets, this hint is well worth it.

By CPJ from Madison, AL

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December 7, 20112 found this helpful

You learned a very hard lesson. Your dogs surely are lucky that you were home when this happened. I also am unable to work and have had mine go off scaring my 2 dachshunds terribly, although luckily not as badly as yours. Mine just went out the back door (they made sure I knew to let them out) and way out to the back end of the yard. The "tips" say to change them at the same time you change your clocks for daylight savings time.


I change my batteries at the start of every new season, spring, summer, fall, winter. The batteries are supposed to last 6 months, I change them after 3, then re-use them in other appliances that won't be as noisy if they die. Also, I use rechargeable batteries in everything in the house EXCEPT the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. For those I use regular batteries. And I buy a new set the day before changing them too. I don't keep those stocked up for more than 6 months at a time.

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December 8, 20112 found this helpful

The is really good advice. Something I never though of. Thanks!

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December 8, 20112 found this helpful

What great advice! I would never have thought of it. I tried hard not to snicker at the picture of all of you in the shower....I failed. Thanks so much for sharing.

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December 10, 20111 found this helpful

I can just picture how terrified those poor babies were, how sad - although it IS funny to imagine having all of them jump in the shower with you! :D


It's too bad you can't use behavioral conditioning them to not be so afraid of it, especially since it's made them afraid f so many other similar sounds.It's scary to think what would happen to them if you weren't home & the alarm went off - or even worse, if there was an actual fire in the home.

Makes me think of my poor little 3yr old twin grandsons, when my husband & I were over at their house a couple of weeks ago, installing smoke alarms for their mom & dad. My husband accidentally set off the alarm while he was installing it.

The boys, who'd been standing close by watching their Grandpa were absolutely terrified. They threw their hands over their ears & ran for their lives, across the room to mine & their mom's side. One of the boys shakes all over like he's having seizures (he's not) when he's scared or upset. I know it wasn't funny, but as we were gathering them in our arms to console them, I was laughing hysterically.


When my husband got the thing shut off, there were 2 boys standing there glaring at him with accusing eyes & shouting "Boo-boo owie!". Forever more, smoke alarms are going to be called "boo-boo owies" in our family!
But on a serious note, I told my daughter that they really need to work with the boys so they aren't afraid & run hide when they hear that thing go off, so they don't hide if it ever goes off for real!

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