For many homeowners, our pets are just as much a part of our family as any of the humans in our lives. Pets can always cheer up someone going through a hard time, or comfort someone who just needs to be loved. Most pet owners love and care for their animals, but unfortunately some are either uninformed or neglectful, and pets suffer because of their lack of care. One common way that dogs especially are mistreated is by being left locked up in the garage, and given our line of work this is a particularly concerning issue for all of us at A Plus. We love our pets and know that our readers do as well, so today we’re going to educate you about why you shouldn’t leave your dog in the garage if it can be avoided, and if you have to leave your dog in the garage, what you should do to protect them.
Firstly, it is important to understand why dogs should not be left in the garage. Later we’ll discuss what to do if you absolutely have to leave them, but if at all possible try to find a different solution. Your canine companion is not designed to live in the constraints of a garage for several reasons.
- There are chemicals and dangerous tools in the garage that should be kept away from your pets! Antifreeze in particular is sweet smelling and tasting, but is poisonous.
- The temperature in garages which are not well insulated or climate controlled can easily be far too hot or cold for your furry friend. Even on a mild day, the garage can turn into a sauna.
- Dogs are social animals! If your dog is spending all day cooped up inside, especially if they are in one room or in a crate, they probably aren’t getting enough stimulation.
If you can, try to find some other solution instead of leaving your pet in the garage. Having a dog sitter or family friend who can check on your pet during a long work day is a great idea. If the weather isn’t too hot, cold, or rainy, consider leaving your dog outside. Especially if you have a larger fenced in area for the pooch to play in, this can be a good way to keep them from damaging things in your home, while still keeping them safe. Some people want to leave their dogs indoors but because their pet has anxiety or is not yet trained, it may have problems “holding it” or problems with tearing up the house. These homeowners sometimes turn to the garage as a better solution for their pet, but they may not have taken adequate time to prepare the space for a dog.
If you cannot provide the kind of compassion and care that a healthy dog requires, either because of your living conditions or your schedule, consider waiting to get a dog until you are in a situation to better care for the pet. It can be hard to wait on getting an animal all your own, especially if you’re just moving into a new house or apartment, but make sure to take some time to examine your living situation and to determine if there is room in your life for a pet. If you work nine hour shifts and the weather prohibits you from leaving a dog outside, you may not be in a situation to be a pet owner yet.
In the event that some unforeseen circumstance does lead to you leaving your pet at home, and you are unable or unwilling to leave them inside the house, even if they are crated inside the house, consider the temperature and lighting of the garage carefully. If your garage is not cooled or ventilated, it will not be safe for your pet – after all, would you want to sit outside with a wool coat on during the heat of the summer? In the cold of winter, make sure that your garage is insulated to be warm for your pet, and use either an insulated dog bed or a raised bed with their regular bed on top of it. Putting a space heater close to the bed, but separated from the dog with a gated pen or similar apparatus to keep an anxious animal from chewing through the cord and injuring themselves.
Your dog will have to relieve themselves if you’re going to gone for very long at all, so make sure that they are either paper trained or that they have a doggie door available to access an outside area. If you’re installing a new garage doggie door, make sure that it is insulated as well.
Lastly, make sure to think about what your dog will do while you’re away. It is a common misconception that your dog will just lie there sleeping peacefully, while in reality you should make every effort to make the experience just as stimulating as if your pet spent a day with you. Walk them both before and after their time in the garage, and leave both food and toys within easy reach. Watch what toys your dog most consistently enjoys playing with, and give them access to those.
In summation, try to avoid locking your dog in the garage for an extended period of time, since this is often unsafe for the animal, but if you must do it, make sure to do your research and make it a safe environment for your furry friend. Once you see them again, take them for a long walk and spend time with them so that they still feel loved, and you’ll foster a bond to last the test of time.