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The Chicago Pet Lover's Guide >

How to Create a Pet-Safe Balcony

Jessica Hiltner and Lindy Sidelsky, founders of the enthusiast group Real Dog Moms of Chicago

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Illustration by Colin Hayes

PET-PROOF THE SPACE (1)

“Wrap a mesh material around railings to prevent small dogs or cats from squeezing through bars,” Sidelsky says. “And put a rug down. If your balcony is mostly metal, it gets hot in the summer, which is bad for your pet’s feet.”

PLANT A NONTOXIC JUNGLE (2)

“The ASPCA website has a list of plants that are safe, in case your pet gets curious and wants to eat them,” Sidelsky says. For dogs, bamboo is fine, but not lavender. Cats should steer clear of lilies, but baby’s breath is OK.

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OFFER EASY ACCESS (3)

“I have a magnetic screen door that allows my pups to walk in and out as they please,” Hiltner says.

MAKE IT FEEL LIKE A STAYCATION (4)

“Have a bed so dogs can sunbathe,” Hiltner suggests. “I like Kuranda beds because they are off the ground, easy to clean, and almost indestructible. They’re also perfect for winter because they create a snow bed that big dogs absolutely love.”

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