Apartment Living for a Dog - Protecting your Fur Baby from a Balcony Emergency

Many years ago, I heard of a tragedy that has stayed with me. I will not go into the description of the scene but needless to say it was terrible. A beloved dog who had moved to an apartment with his family hung himself on a balcony. The family had just stepped away for a moment and had their fur baby on a leash when the dog saw a cat. While you may envision this dog climbing up on to the railing and leaping off, this is not what happened. Nor did he climb up on a table or chair and make his way over the railing. The sad truth of the matter was he wiggled his way through the bars of the railing and leaped while still having his leash on. A tragic death that did not need to happen but what can be done beyond keeping your fur baby off the balcony.

The best way of preventing this tragedy is to never leave your dog on the balcony by themselves. While this sounds like commonsense, many pet parents think that they will be just away for a moment and frankly it only takes a moment, so what is one to do.

As stated, the best approach is to go and stay out on the balcony with your dog but even this approach can lead into a tragedy since a dog can move very quickly. The second technique is one that every parent utilizes when their child gets up and starts moving around and that is child proofing or in this case “dog proofing.” What this means is to move all the furniture away from the rail so that it is harder for your dog to go up and over the railing. The third task is to check the space in the railing. What I am talking about are the bars or scrollwork that is between the top and bottom rail. In most cases, the spaces between the bars or scrollwork are too small for your dog to get his or her head through. When it comes to small dogs though, this is a really hazard. There are several techniques that one can use to fill in those gaps. This includes attaching something to fill in those gaps like chicken wire to your railing. If you do not like this look, you can also find other more decorative choices at your local home improvement center.

The last approach is one that I do not support and that is harnessing and leashing your dog. What this means is placing a harness on your dog that is attached to a leash verses a collar. The idea behind this approach is you make the restraint so that the dog cannot get enough height to jump and/or cannot reach the railing. This sound very simple and a good idea but if you depend on this system to be your fur baby’s babysitter, you are asking for problems.

While we all love to get some fresh air, an easy question to ask yourself before you let your dog out on the balcony and that is would I place a human baby out here by themselves? If the answer is no then go out onto the balcony with your dog, sit in chair and enjoy the day with your fur baby.