One of the biggest worries for pet owners is keeping those furry family members healthy and safe. Whether the pet spends more time outdoors or indoors, the garage is often a middle ground between the two. You may keep your pets in the garage while out of the house or when entertaining guests. You also may let pets in the garage to escape the elements outside. Whatever it may be, a big question is how to make your house or garage safe for your pets?
To your pets, the garage is a new area that is ready for them to explore. For humans, it’s a place often used as a kind of dumping ground for items that don’t fit in the living areas of home, like heavy objects, chemicals, and sharp tools. Every pet parent knows how important it is to keep your furry friends safe; check out these tips to create a space that is both safe and accessible to pets.
Clean the Garage Floor
Pets like to lick things off the floor, especially when eating, but the garage floor can be full of chemicals and unsafe debris. Chemicals can come from a variety of sources, like harsh cleaners, oil, antifreeze, and other car fluids. To help prevent any harm to your animals, here are a few things you can do to make the garage floor clean enough to avoid injured or sick pets, should they lick the floor.
- Sweep and deep clean your garage floor frequently
- Check for chemicals, stains or spills and clean them
- Remove any debris that could be harmful, like nails, screws, or bits of drywall
- Use natural pet-friendly floor cleaners
- Keep potentially harmful chemicals out of reach
- Check for insects in their feeding areas
- Frequently clean their eating dishes
- Clean their toys or replace them to make sure they are free of chemicals
Pets are often compared to children because they both like to explore every inch of space. They get into anything and everything they can. For example, cats love climbing into small spaces like boxes, under tables, or in small spaces. Dogs and cats both love to scratch and chew on things like cardboard or Styrofoam.
To help manage this problem, it is crucial to make sure to find a home for all the items in your garage. Some ideas include:
- Categorizing types of items and grouping them together in labeled containers.
- Moving all loose boxes, buckets, or belongings off the floor onto shelves or in cabinets.
- Selling, donating, or disposing items you haven’t used in the past year.
- Sealing off open containers.
- Assigning them their own spot.
A lot of pet owners recognize that their garages aren’t organized enough for their pets. For more ideas about how to organize, here are some more tips.
Lock Away Chemicals
According to The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), most household chemicals are hazardous or deadly to pets. A few common chemicals to avoid leaving in the open are antifreeze, petroleum products, carbon monoxide, lawn fertilizers, garden insecticides, and household cleaners.
If you store any of these in your garage, make sure they are out of reach from your pets. To help with this, store them in cabinets or containers with a lock on them. If you don’t have the budget for those options, plastic totes work just as well. Try storing your chemicals in higher places that you know your pets won’t be able to reach. This will also prevent them from being a temptation to chew on.
Secure Tools and Sharp Objects
Your tools can be a choking hazard, and your sharper objects can cause severe injuries. Make sure all your tools and sharp objects are stored properly to keep your pets out of danger. For smaller tools, store them in a toolbox with a lock, sealed cabinets or in your workroom, depending on the size and layout of your garage. For larger objects, store them in higher places, so your pets can’t reach them. Because cats typically like to climb, and could potentially reach things stored up high, cat owners may want to consider a cabinet solution. We all know how excited dogs can get, which could spell disaster if you have items stacked or propped against the wall in the garage. Many pet parents utilize overhead storage to get everything off the floor and out of the way, effectively eliminating the danger of falling boxes, bins, or other items.
Improve Climate Control
We think a lot about controlling the temperature of our house, but most of us overlook the temperature in our garage. Depending on the season, your garage can get either too hot or cold for animals. The body temperatures of dogs and cats normally run about 3-4 degrees hotter than humans, but we generally react the same to temperatures. Dogs and cats should not be left in temperatures below 32F or higher than 100F. However, a comfortable temperature for your pets can vary depending on the size of your dog. To find out what temperature is comfortable for your pets, check out this chart.
Be sure also to accommodate the temperature to their needs. If it’s too cold, you can add a space heater or provide warm, dry blankets. Make sure you have an AC system installed or provide your pets with damp towels to lay on when the weather heats up. When extreme weather is projected, it may be best to keep them indoors no matter the circumstances.
Inspect the Garage Door
Your garage door can become a safety hazard if it has old components and isn’t used properly. One specific area to check is its reverse mechanism, which makes your garage door reverse when it senses that something is underneath it. You can test it by placing a small object on the garage floor under the path of the door. If your garage door does not automatically reverse when it senses the object, you will need to get it fixed.
It is also wise to keep your pets as far away from the garage door components, so they don’t chew on wiring or play around the garage door track. To help with this, you can wrap the wiring with a protective covering and use a bitterant spray to put on the covering that tastes gross to them. It may be tempting to tie leashes to the tracks on the ground, but doing so could pull the tracks out of alignment and cause more safety hazards and costly repairs.
Avoid leaving the garage door cracked open. Doing this can age the garage door springs much more quickly, causing it to need to be replaced more often. A replacement is expensive and can become a safety hazard.
Keep a Clean Feeding Area
If you’re planning on allowing your animal in the garage during feeding, keep your dog in the same routine, especially if their living conditions are shifting. Feeding areas can also get dirtier inside of a garage, so check them more frequently. There are also several feeding bowls that can help you keep their water and food separate, to keep each of them clean. You can also include a large mat under their bowl so that when their kibble falls off, they are licking the matt instead of the concrete.
To ensure your pets’ comfort, make sure they have the resources they need. This includea the type of bed or kennel they prefer to sleep in; toys to play, with or whatever else your pets enjoy. You will also want to make sure your garage is tidy enough to have room for your pet to roam around, so they aren’t cooped up in one spot.
Author Matthew Scully said, “Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind’s capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights or power or some claim to equality, but in a sense, because they don’t; because they all stand unequal and powerless before us.” Our pets deserve the best care we can give them. Implementing these steps will help you to make sure your garage is safe for all your pets. Remember, not all of these tips have to cost money, there are several budget-friendly tips on how to keep your dog safe.
Allison Thomas at Hinding Garage Systems. They help owners in the Ogden area organize their garages in hopes that they can have more time to do what they love. She enjoys working out and spending time outdoors with her loved ones.