Wednesday, 13 August 2008

'High rise syndrome' sees cats and dogs at risk from falls

We know to keep dogs on the leash near busy roads, and to ensure gardens are safely fenced in to protect them from straying and traffic accidents. But what about 'high rise syndrome'?

The ASPCA has been warning that, come summer time, pets kept in flats can meander close to open windows and end up taking a painful tumble, leading to serious injury or even death. Although cats are the main victims, some smaller dogs that people keep in apartment complexes are also prone to falling from fire escapes and balconies.

It's not exclusive to flats, either. My friend's Rottweiler, having lived safely in a large house for eleven years, suddenly got overly curious about an open window just as her owner turned her back for a second. In the blink of an eye, Sasha sailed out of the window, which overlooked the yard a full storey below. Thankfully she only suffered a short-lived sprain, but needless to say she was kept out of the room whenever it had open windows after that.

There's no need to swelter inside in order to keep your pets safe. Insect screens will keep bugs out and pets in, and common sense dictates that neither dogs nor cats should be left on a balcony or fire escape unattended.

Designed mainly for cat-owners but useful for anyone keeping a pet in a high level flat, the ASPCA's high rise survival tips are a valuable resource.
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