Safe in the City
Sarah Jessica Parker may have talked about “Sex and the City”, but we are going to talk about keeping our pets “Safe in the City”. And no, we are not talking about safe sex, or neutering (that’s a topic for another day) – we are talking about safe environments for our pets. Whether you live in a high-rise condo, a low-rise apartment, or a home with a yard, there are things to watch out for.
If you love sitting on your 27th floor balcony and looking down (believe me, that’s not for everyone!), or if you love that jet stream air coming through your screen window, you need to be mindful of where your pet is at all times. That screen or balcony ledge may not offer sufficient deterrence to a prowling pussycat trying to catch the bird twittering away on the neighbor’s privacy screen. Also make sure that any patio furniture is away from the balcony edge and don’t encourage your pet to climb up on the furniture – climbing on outside structures could put your pet in a precarious position if the furniture topples over.
Check the deck! The openings between railings may be just wide enough to allow your pet’s head in, but not back out, and you don’t want to have to wrestle with both a pet and a railing at the same time – especially if you are not at ground level – so make sure the spaces between railings are narrow. And watch the window! If your pet sees another animal through the window, or even sees its own reflection in the window, it may try to tangle with the one on the other side! Ouch!! Of course, that would probably only happen once….from my experience, a dog would learn, and a cat would be too embarrassed/dignified to do it again!
If you and your pet share yard space with others, you need to check for hazards that may have been left without regard to pets: cigarette butts, wrappers, sharp objects, and any other garbage that a curious animal might investigate. If the yard is fenced, and before you let your dog out alone, check for breaches! Many dogs love to run free and may actively look for chances to do so – they might even make a small breach bigger by digging, so try not to allow those gaps in the first place.
When out for walks, try to discourage your dog from lingering over anything left on the grass or sidewalk – dogs love to learn about new things with their noses, but it may be hard to see exactly what your pet is getting into, and some things are better left alone. Anticipate distractions and be prepared: if a dog sees or smells something really tempting (to the dog, at least) it may try to pull you down the block before you even know what’s happening!
And whatever you do, don’t let pooch be a puddle drinker – toxins such as antifreeze and/or other chemicals may have found their way into those puddles. As Chicagoans, you also need to be aware that rat urine can be washed into those puddles – rat urine is a carrier of Leptospira, an organism that can cause serious chronic and potentially fatal health problems. It’s best to avoid the puddles altogether, just in case, and hydrate your dog both before & after your walk rather than risk ingesting such deadly stuff.
Just a few tips to follow – let’s keep our pets safe out there!
Majestic Paws - Chicago Dog Walkers & Cat Sitters