Leaving your pet in the garage for a long-length of time is generally not a good idea. However, circumstances may arise where keeping them in the garage temporarily may be your only option.
One scenario could be if guests visited the home for a few hours for an important occasion and there was inclement weather outdoors. If you foresee that or something similar as ever being a possibility, a lot of preparation needs to be done beforehand to make the garage a safe area for your pet.
Safety Hazards in the Garage
While it may be easy to think keeping the dog or cat in the garage is okay for a short while, there are several, potentially fatal consequences when they are kept in there longer than a few minutes.
Extreme Heat and Cold – The garage tends to insulate hot temperatures and can create heat-related illnesses for your pet, even if their water bowl is with them. Cold temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit also pose risk for discomfort, illness, and frostbite.
Liquids – Antifreeze, gasoline, motor oil, insect spray, paint, cleaners, polish, and similar solutions are typically stored in the garage. This becomes a dangerous problem for a curious or thirsty pet as all of these liquids are harmful to ingest.
Objects – Batteries, rat traps, fertilizer, road salt, trash, and electrical wires are very harmful for pets to lick or gnaw on. Small objects also can pose as choking hazards.
Dust and Dirt – Garages tend to accumulate dirt and dust quickly which create a less than ideal environment for your pet if the space is not ventilated.
Carbon Monoxide – Pets are especially sensitive to vehicle emissions and those can become an issue if cars are started in the garage with the door closed.
Organization Solutions to Make the Garage Safer for Pets
Making the garage pet-proof is a sizeable project depending on its current condition. But it’s worth it in the end. The last thing any pet owner wants is needing to rush to the veterinarian.
In a nutshell, you need to organize everything properly so harmful items are outside of reach and the space itself is clean. Then you can scope out climate control options if it’s summer or winter.
Plastic Bins – Instead of leaving loose items on shelves or on the floor, store all of them in plastic containers. Group all like items together and label the box.
Toolboxes – Tools should be stored in lockable toolboxes. Moreover, toolboxes are a better choice than a slatwall or pegboard because hung items could get knocked down by an energetic pet.
Storage Systems – Garage cabinets are an excellent choice for both cats and dogs since they are lockable (either with built-in or with child-proof locks) and don’t leave open the option to climb up to them like overhead shelving. Since the items that pose the most risk tend to fit in boxes that can be stored on small shelves, cabinets may be the most logical choice.
Secure the Garbage Bin – If your pet is particularly energetic and has a tendency to knock over things, the garbage bin can pose a risk. Consider fastening the bin to the wall to prevent it from moving.
Seal Off Electrical Components – Cover wiring with tape or a cord cover to prevent them from damage. Try to hide the wires themselves and position them in a high area away from the floor.
Clean the Garage Floor – Your pet can fall very sick from licking old chemical and oil stains on the floor. A mix of cleaner, scrubbers, and hosing off should do the trick. A thorough sweep will rid of dust and dirt as well.
After cleaning and organizing your garage, here are a last few tips to remember before allowing your pets in there.
Leave plenty of water, food, and chew toys. This way they won’t be hungry or bored.
Cooling units are more effective than fans. Many pets do not cool as efficiently with fans compared to humans. But if it’s too hot or too cold, hire a pet sitter and don’t give the garage second thought.
Don’t leave the garage door cracked open. Doing so will age the springs too quickly and require frequent replacements to its components. Any other doors or windows should be cracked open enough to allow some air flow.
This post was written by Michael Nokes. White Rabbit is an authorized Monkey Bar Storage dealer specializing in garage organization and storage. White Rabbit serves homeowners in the Chicago area.