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The Pros and Cons of Pet Doors: Are they really safe?

 The pros and Cons of Pet Doors: Are they really safe?
By: Jo Singer: Retired MSW, CSW and LCSW

 

Although winter has barely begun, spring will be upon us before you know it. Now is the time to start thinking about ways in which we can enrich our cats’ lives.

Since our two brilliant six year-old kitties, Aki and Edgar Allan Poe are strictly indoor cats; we were wondering if there is a really safe way to give them the opportunity to experience the “great outdoors”. Due to what we considered safety issues, we dismissed the idea of installing a pet door. In fact, it’s never been on our bucket list. Even though many kitty guardians we have spoken to are considering installing one; I hope this article will be of help in making their decisions.

Since pet doors can offer furry companions the convenience of coming and going as they wish, many kitty guardians love the idea of having a pet door installed. But for anyone thinking about installing one in their home, there are some major safety and security issues that should be taken into consideration before purchasing one.
Sean Kane, the president of Safety Research & Strategies has been traveling throughout the country doing extensive research concerning pet door safety. During his extensive study he learned that over the years more than one hundred children have nearly drowned or have tragically been drowned or have been seriously injured while trying to get outside climbing through a pet door that was installed in their own home or in the home of a friend.
Kane learned about these regrettable accidents by checking out news items, interviewing public health specialists, and consulting with The Consumer Product Safety Commission. He also learned gathered information from the offices of coroners and medical examiners about the accidental tragic deaths for which pet doors were considered to be at cause. Kane said, “But the total number to date underestimates the true scope of the problem because most accidental drownings are classified only by the cause of death or injury and do not identify how the child accessed the water.”

Kane also suspects people believe that the installation of a pet door is perfectly safe since the size of the most common types of pet doors are generally similar to a standard sheet of paper, or even smaller. As a result of this misconception people mistakenly think that their children are much too large to be able to gain access through a pet door and to be able crawl through it. In reality, however the average three year old boy weighs about 38 pounds and can easily fit though the opening. In reality, medium-sized cats or larger are able to use these pet doors with no problem at all.

Kitty guardians should be aware of some of the other dangers that pet doors may cause. In bad weather, raccoons, possums, rats and other small critters might easily be able to gain access into the house. All in all, when you think about it, is having a pet door really that great an idea? According to this writer, having a pet door is certainly not worth the risks.

However for kitty guardians who must get a pet door and are willing to take these risks, there are a few alternate door styles that excel the commonly installed flimsy flap-style portals that many folks purchase. Although sturdier pet doors will be somewhat pricier than the more common flap-style ones, since the first priority is child-safety, isn’t having peace of mind worth the extra cost?

In order to prevent tragic accidents from happening, it goes without saying that if there’s a pool in your backyard, it’s essential to have the pet door installed in a safe location which isn’t in close proximity to the pool area. Additionally, make it a habit to open the pet door personally, if you will be letting your kitty out in an area near the pool. To help pet guardians learn more about pet door dangers and how to keep these doors safer visiting this website is a must!

Photo credit: Flickr user marie14Title

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