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Open Windows Mean Danger for Pets Local Vets Warn

March 19, 2012 by Jillian at Tails in Chicago, Home with 0 Comments
Dogs and open windows can be dangerous

Photo Credit: Travel Adventures

Are your windows open? Are you enjoying your outdoor deck? What about your pets?

Chicago’s warming temperatures prompt residents to open their windows and enjoy their balconies and decks. Unfortunately, these activities result in some dogs and cats falling out of windows, jumping off decks and balconies, or being injured by windows that slam shut on them.

Each year, Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center (CVESC) treats dozens of pets who have suffered broken bones and internal injuries as a result of falls from open windows, decks or balconies. These pets often have serious injuries that require hospitalization, surgery or even result in the pet’s death.

With warmer temperatures upon us, Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center encourages pet owners to be cautious with open windows. “Many people don’t realize how curious cats and dogs can be around an open window,” said Dr. Jerry Klein, DVM, supervising veterinarian at CVESC. “Pets don’t have the same sense of danger that people have and are easily enticed by things they see outside. The results can be catastrophic.”

According to Dr. Klein, this winter’s mild temperatures brought an early start to this dangerous season for pets. On one warm day during February, CVESC treated a cat that had an open window slam down on its tail and a golden retriever dog that fell from a fourth floor deck.The cat required x-rays and stitches. The dog had multiple fractures and internal injuries requiring blood transfusions and surgery.

“Chicago’s many two-, three- and four-flat buildings are especially conducive to pets falling or jumping out of windows and off decks and balconies,” said Dr. Klein. “People don’t realize the danger to pets at that height. Not only can a fall be harmful to the pets, it can also be very costly for their owners. Prevention is key.”

Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center encourages pet owners to take the following steps to protect their pets on warm weather days.

  • Don’t leave your pet unattended in rooms with open windows.
  • Don’t open windows wide enough for your pet to get through. Child safety locks can minimize how wide a window opens.
  • Keep furniture that your pet may climb on, such as couches and chairs, away from open windows.
  • Opening windows from the top, not from the bottom, may help protect dogs.
  • Don’t rely on a screen to keep your pet safe. Both cats and dogs are known to jump through screens.
  • Cats and dogs on a balcony or deck should be on a harness leash held by a responsible adult.

“While we are always prepared to treat your pet in our state-of-the-art emergency facility, we’d prefer that your pet stays safe during these warm weather months,” said Dr. Klein.

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