If Scruffy is an outdoor-only dog but you want to keep him warm during the colder months, your garage may seem like a no-brainer solution. However, some dangers may be lurking there. Here are a few basics on making your garage a dog-friendly zone.
Search For Toxins
If your dog's nickname is Dyson because, like the vacuum, he tends to suck up and ingest anything in sight, you'll definitely need to dog-proof your garage. Inspect your garage carefully and remove anything on ground level. Keep your antifreeze well out of reach, and don't forget about those leaks and spills under the car, which your dog may lap up in no time. Also, store away any petroleum-based products, solvents, paints, pesticides, trash and any discarded car batteries you may have lying around.
Care and Comfort
With dangerous chemicals out of the way, daily walks and access to entertaining toys, your dog should stay relaxed and out of trouble in the garage. Make sure Scruffy has a well-insulated raised bed with lots of warm blankets, a bowl full of water, food and an area to eliminate as needed. Keeping a thermometer in the garage can help you monitor how cold it gets in there so you can take extra precautions to keep your dog warm.
Just because your dog is warmer in your garage doesn't mean he will just curl up and sleep most of the day. Don't forget that your dog still needs exercise and mental stimulation. If weather permits, walk him during the warmer hours of the day and then leave him with some safe interactive toys to keep him busy. Fail to provide sufficient outlets for pent-up energy and your dog may get restless and engage in destructive behaviors.
Consider Making Him an Indoor Pooch
If you want to make your dog extra happy, instead of keeping him in the garage, why not try keeping him warm and toasty inside the home with you? Dogs are ultimately social creatures who crave companionship from humans. The happiest dogs are those taken outdoors for exercise, but kept indoors with their family for the rest of the time, explains the Humane Society of the United States.
By Adrienne Farricelli
Pet Health Network: Keeping Your Pets Safe From Garage Hazards
Humane Society of the United States: Protect Your Pet During Winter and Cold Weather
About the Author
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.