balconies petsOdds are, if you live in an apartment, you have a balcony or patio, and if you’re lucky, you have one if your home is a condo or a townhouse. This tiny little “urban porch” may well be the only bit of outdoor space you can truly call your own, so why not take full advantage of it?

This post is aimed at making your balcony a fulfilling place to be for both pets and their owners, but anyone with a little bit of private outdoor access will benefit from reading these tips.

The pet owners among you will want to give your furry friend a little exposure to the outdoors in a safe way. Of course, your pet getting harmed or stolen is always a concern, so here’s how to prepare your balcony to be a safe, happy haven for your dog, cat, or bunny.

  • Indoor cats should only be let out on the balcony if protective netting is first wrapped around all open areas the cat has access to.

    Indoor cats should only be let out on the balcony if protective netting is first wrapped around all open areas the cat has access to. [CC License via to.wo]

    Real Grass Crate – Growing live grass in a basin on your balcony is marketed toward dog-owners short on time, but cats and bunnies would enjoy sniffing around on this their own tiny yard, too, without you having to worry about bugs or snakes hiding in the grass. If your animal does their business outside, commercial options will have a small sprinkler that washes urine into a collecting area, and you will need to pick up droppings yourself.
  • Protective Balcony Fence – Fears of jumping off a balcony probably are not a cause for concern with dogs, but cats and bunnies may well jump or step off without realizing how far up they really are. I used a grid storage set like the ones described here to create a fence all the way around the inside perimeter of my balcony, and held up against the posts of the balcony with cable ties so that I can let my cats out safely. Always keep an eye on your pets while they’re out there, though! Cats especially can be reckless when they’re exploring.
  • Separating Pets and Plants – Many pets enjoy eating the fruits of your gardening work, and some plants are poisoning to small animals, so it’s best to keep the two apart. That doesn’t mean pet-owners can’t garden, too, though! Hanging planters and railing boxes attached to the side of your balcony will make your balcony a more positive place to hang out, with or without a pet.
  • Water Fountains – If your balcony is covered, a pet-friendly water fountain can serve the dual purposes of providing fresh, running water to your pet, and adding natural sounds and sights to your balcony. For non-pet owners, larger water fountains can be very appealing and promote tranquility, but these fountains usually don’t have filters to ensure they are safe for drinking out of.
Photo credits: CC License via Eleftheria G

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