The blaze was reported at 5:10 p.m. at a home in the 1600 block of Huron Avenue, according to San Mateo fire Battalion Chief Mike Keefe.
Firefighters arrived at the home four minutes later and found a fire that was being accelerated by high winds. The fire had started in the rear of the home and was threatening an adjacent residence, Keefe said.
The blaze was contained to the home where it started and was controlled within 40 minutes, he said.
The building's occupants were not home at the time of the fire, but two dogs were found dead inside. No firefighters were injured while fighting the fire, according to Keefe.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation, but it is believed to have been accidental.
The fire is estimated to have caused $500,000 in damage.