How to keep your pets safe in hot weather – especially if you have a balcony

Picture of an open window (left) next to
The summer months are riddled with dangers for household pets (Picture: Getty/Blue Cross)

Pet owners are being warned not to open their windows or balconies to cool down their homes on hot days.

Brits are getting excited about the gorgeous weather today, with temperature expected to soar to heights of 30C this weekend.

But days like this can be riddled with life-threatening dangers for pets which many owners aren’t aware of.

A survey by Blue Cross revealed 57 per cent of owners didn’t consider opening their windows and balconies dangerous to their pets.

Just over half still believe the myth that cats can land safely on their feet if they fall from a height.

One year old Oscar, who was lucky to survive after falling from a fifth floor window, shows the danger of the old wive’s tale.
METRO GRAB - How to keep pets safe in hot weather Zana the kitten recovers from broken leg after falling from a window From Blue Cross From @Blue Cross/Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=OPCrbYKQzII
Zana is one of many kittens who have broken a leg after falling from a window (Picture: Blue Cross)

The injury to his leg was so severe vets at Blue Cross had to amputate and they also had to stitch wounds on his tongue.

Shattered bones and internal injures are all too common in cats who suffer falls which sometimes prove fatal.

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Fall victims are often very young and experiencing their first summer and can easily lose their footing while older cats often fall when sleeping on a window ledge or balcony.

Natasha (Picture: Supplied)Trans woman spat at by man telling her 'You're not really a woman'Turkish Angora Arabella was just five months old when she fell from a third floor window, resulting in such severe fractures to her front leg that Blue Cross vets were forced to amputate. Last year Blue Cross’s animal hospital in Victoria, London, treated more than 45 reported cases of cats falling from height. This year they have already treated 17.

And it’s not just cats that can be seriously injured during the summer.

sad-looking bulldog in the park, backlit by sunlight. Soft shalow focus. Three-months old female English Bulldog
Owners should avoid walking their dogs during the hottest part of the day (Picture: Getty/iStockphoto)
Spring cozy image with a cat and lilac flowers
It may be tempting, but leaving windows open while your pets are around could be dangerous (Picture: Getty/Moment RF)

Nearly six out of ten pet owners admitted they don’t consider walking or letting their pets out at cooler times of the day during hot weather, putting them at risk of heatstroke and even burns to their paws from hot tarmac and pavements.

Flat-faced breeds, such as French bulldogs and pugs and Persian and Burmese cats, are at a greater risk of heatstroke.

This is a copycat version of the kind made by Greenies.

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They’re prone to collapsing as their short muzzles make breathing difficult, and therefore cooling down much harder.

Older and overweight pets also struggle to adjust while out in blazing heat.

METRO GRAB - How to keep pets safe in hot weather Zana the kitten recovers from broken leg after falling from a window From Blue Cross https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/top-tips-keeping-your-cat-cool-summer
Zana recovers after falling from a height during hot weather (Picture: Blue Cross)

Dog owners should also avoid leaving their dogs in hot cars and remember leaving windows partially open makes little difference to the temperature inside.

Greenhouses and conservatories can have a similar effect to cars.

To keep your dog happy on a long car journey, it’s better to stick the air conditioning on and to make sure windows are shaded from direct sunlight.

Caroline Reay, Senior Vet at Blue Cross, said: ‘It is a myth to think that cats will always fall on all four paws, which implies an open window or balcony doesn’t pose a threat. ‘Oscar and Arabella are very lucky to be alive after their falls. We see so many cats like them at our hospitals every year with shattered bones and internal injuries and sadly not all survive.

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‘With the hot and humid summer weather, please don’t leave windows or balcony doors open. If you’ve got a cat, don’t leave a gap. It’s just not worth the risk.’

Blue Cross advises owners to keep balcony doors closed and to put up screens and netting at windows to prevent inquisitive pets falling.

Owners can also install tip and tilt windows.