High-Rise Syndrome and protection of pet

What is High-Rise Syndrome and What Can I Do to Protect My Pet?

After a long, grey winter, Melbourne households are looking forward to throwing open the windows and doors to the warm breeze. But if you live in a high-rise apartment, or even if you have a double story home, you could be putting your beloved pets at risk of high-rise syndrome. The good news is that there are simple changes that you can make to your home to protect your pet from a devastating fall.

High-rise syndrome refers to the injuries that a pet can sustain from falling from a height of more than two stories. Apartment balconies and upper floor windows pose the greatest danger for falls, but the more adventurous of pets, typically cats, can sustain these injuries by falling from high fences and trees.

Pets don’t commonly jump from such a height. Cats and dogs actually have great instincts regarding heights and know just how far they can jump safely. Typically, high-rise syndrome injuries occur when a pet is startled by a loud noise or are distracted by something like a bird or an insect.

Cats in particular are very adept at climbing trees and rarely sustain injuries from falls. That is because they can sink their claws into bark and tree trunks. Cats are more likely to slip from windowsills and concrete ledges because they can’t cling to such surfaces.

Fast fact: cats have the unique ability to quickly compensate for rolling and tumbling to achieve a feet-first falling posture. They are actually more capable of surviving a fall of 12 stories than of three. You see, a cat with outstretched limbs reaches terminal velocity falling from a height of 5 stories. When they no longer sense acceleration, they relax and bend their limbs, which helps absorb some of the energy of the landing. They will be injured, quite possibly seriously injured, but there is every chance of their survival with immediate medical attention.

A fall for any pet from such a height can result in shattered jaws, punctured lungs, broken limbs and pelvises, and even death.

You can prevent most high-rise syndrome injuries

Protecting your pet from high-rise syndrome injuries is simple. In the winter months, it’s easy enough to keep your pets from sneaking out through the windows – they’re unlikely to be open – brrrr! But in warm weather, when you want to open your home to the fresh outdoor air, you need to be vigilant about your pet’s safety. To keep your pet safe during the summer, we recommend installing physical barriers between your pet and the open window to ensure there is no chance of them slipping through.

What barriers are effective at preventing high-rise syndrome injuries?

Pet owners should be aware that window guards designed to protect children from falls are often ineffective at guarding cats, rabbits and small dogs because they can easily slip through. To protect your pets, as well as small children, you need security window screens that are sturdy, perfectly fitted and tested against fall injuries. And you need these installed in all upper-level windows that are capable of opening.

Jim’s Security Doors manufacture and install security mesh screens for windows that are made in Australia and are available in a wide range of colours to match the style of your home. Security Doors screens can be customized to your home and preferences and are easy to clean and maintain and are corrosion resistant.

No matter what type of window your apartment has, a security screen can easily be installed to protect you and your pets from devastating fall injuries. We can install privacy mesh screens for sliding, double-hung, awning, or casement windows.

If you are unsure what kind of window you have, simply organise a free measure-and-quote consultation to help you determine which screens best suit your style, budget and needs.

Options for pet safe security screens include:

  • Fixed window screens – a fixed panel window is a non-moving panel that can be fitted in the fly screen track of the window. Fixed window security screens are the best option for louvred or sash windows.
  • Hinged window screens – connected to your window frame along either the side or top. Hinged privacy mesh screens can be made to swing either in or out.
  • Sliding window screens – overlapping panels reinforce each other via an interlock, forming a solid and secure barrier. They can be installed inside or outside of sliding windows or the inside of casement windows.

Keeping your pet safe out on the balcony

Installing security screens on your windows is a simple fix to protecting your pets against high-rise syndrome injuries. But what do you do about keeping your pet safe on the balcony?

The easiest solution for you is to simply not allow them out on the balcony. But that’s not necessarily the best solution for the wellbeing of your pet. Whether you own a cat, rabbit or dog, access to fresh air and sunlight is vital to your pet’s overall health.

Purchasing a pet enclosure for your balcony is an excellent way of ensuring they get some time in the sun while ensuring they don’t run the risk of falling through a gap in your safety rails. You just need to be sure that your pet can’t jump out of the enclosure.

Pet enclosures can be great for small dogs, cats and rabbits, though you may have trouble finding a suitable enclosure for large or exuberant dogs.

My pet is sneaky

Pet enclosures might be the perfect solution for you and your pet, but then again, your pet might be wilier than your average cat or dog. It only takes a second for a cat to slip through an open door, sometimes while you’re halfway through it!

While this can get annoying, it can also be perilous for your pet. If your body corporate allows the building of structures on your balcony, you could install a 100% fall-proof security system covering your entire balcony without the hindrance of ugly bars or plastic. This system is designed in such a way as to be visually unobtrusive to insiders looking out but is difficult to see through from the outside.

So, what is this fantastic solution?

Secure entry enclosures

Despite the name, secure entry enclosures are not just for entryways and porches. Jim’s Security Doors can install a complete safety system that encloses your entire balcony with security mesh, keeping your pets 100% safe from high-rise syndrome injuries while still allowing them (and you) safe access to sunlight and fresh air. These screened, secure, lockable security enclosures are made from Security Door Melbourne security mesh to Australian Standards for security doors, meaning they are also a great burglar deterrent. Thanks to the quality and design of the mesh, secure entry enclosures are visually unobtrusive. You can build a secure entry enclosure to encompass your entire balcony to keep you and your fur babies safe from falls.

Prevention of high-rise syndrome injuries

Fortunately, high-rise syndrome injuries are often preventable.

To keep your pet safe from falling from your balcony or window, you can:

  • Supervise time spent out on the balcony;
  • Move furniture and tall objects away from the railings to avoid them jumping up;
  • Use a pet enclosure for outdoor playtime;
  • Install security screens on all your windows; and
  • Install a secure entry enclosure if your body corporate permits it.

Keeping your beloved fur baby safe from falls and serious injury is part of your responsibility as a pet owner. By installing security screens on your windows, your pets will be 100% safe from injuries caused by high-rise syndrome. For expert advice on installing security screens on your windows, don’t hesitate to contact the Jim’s Security Doors sales team on 13 15 46.

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