Is it Ok to Keep Your Dog In A Garage?
Keeping your dog in an insulated garage (temperature regulation is VERY important!) may certainly be an effective way to stop him from vandalizing the house when you're away, but there are many factors you need to consider first. A garage can be as comfortable as your home if it provides a safe and comfortable environment.
Temperature and Insulation
If you don't have insulation in your garage, get it pronto. The garage should also be equipped with climate control devices (either a heater, air conditioner, or both depending on your particular climate). Install a thermometer and check the air temperature in your garage every few days to make sure your dog is safe out there. Consult a veterinarian or breed expert to figure out what temperature range your dog is comfortable in. A fluffy Pomeranian will be fine in temperatures that are too cool for a short-haired Doberman pincher. As a general rule, the temperature in the garage should be between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit -- neither too hot nor too cold.
Entertainment and Hazards
Your dog needs something to keep him entertained while he's secluded from other pets and people. Stuffing Kong toys with peanut butter and then freezing them is a great way to keep garage-bound pets occupied when you are gone for the day, according to Pawsitive Experience. Remember, your dog can and will destroy things to ease his boredom. If you want to keep your pup in the garage, you'll have to move dangerous chemicals, pointy tools and other dangerous objects out of reach. Lock them in a sturdy cabinet or remove them from the garage completely.
Space and Outdoor Access
Ideally, you should connect your garage directly to an enclosure outdoors so your pet can go out to use the bathroom. If that's not an option, put down newspapers or absorbent pads in an open corner away from his food and bedding. You don't want him to get used to urinating wherever he pleases, so encourage good bathroom habits even in the garage. Your dog needs access to enough space to run around in while playing with toys.
Attention and Exercise
One of the biggest dangers of keeping a dog in the garage is that his daily needs may be overlooked. As the saying goes: out of sight, out of mind. Regardless of your reason for keeping the dog in the garage, you MUST spend as much time with him as you can on a daily basis for walks and play. If your schedule prevents you, ask a family member or friend to play with your pup or take him for a walk on the days you can't. Dogs are social animals so they need attention just like they require nourishment. Don't forget about your pet because he's out in the garage and out of sight.
Feeding and Bedding
It's a good idea to ration meals rather than filling the bowl constantly, especially if the dog is alone for hours each day. He may eat to alleviate his boredom or stress even when he's not hungry. Ask your vet about good feeding habits. Check the label on your dog food brand for feeding instructions based on your pet's weight. He should always have access to clean water, especially in the summer.
Provide as many creature comforts as possible, asking yourself what YOU would like should you have to spend time in there. Provide soft bedding, a kennel if he likes enclosed spaces, and a rug for him to lie on. When it's especially cold, provide heated bedding.
By Quentin Coleman
About the Author
Quentin Coleman has written for various publications, including All Pet News and Safe to Work Australia. He spent more tan 10 years nursing kittens, treating sick animals and domesticating semi-feral cats for a local animal shelter. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor's degree in journalism.