So you want to keep your dog — or cat, no judgement here — in the garage while you’re away from home? No problem! I mean, who doesn’t need a break from our old furry friends from time to time… The truth is, the garage may be the safest place for a pet suffering for separation anxiety while you are away at work, IF you follow these important guidelines.
Don’t worry, this blog isn’t about building cages. Since we all want our animals to roam free, we’ll discuss how to use the entire garage space and transform it into the perfect place for that special four‑legged family member.
Let’s start with the basics
Before planning the full remodel of your garage, please take the time to discover the various benefits of using this extra room as a safe‑place for your feline or canine friend. These important basic benefits are:
- More room to have fun. This one is a no‑brainer, but your dog will certainly appreciate the ability to move freely. Even if the pet is used to staying in a cage and feels safe in it, you can easily place the cage in the garage. Just leave the door open: your dog will figure it out.
- Cat or dog will thank you for providing a warm space during the cold winter months. What? Don’t tell me you thought animals could survive anything… If you leave your pet outside, with or without shelter, there could be a chance for frostbite. Just calculate the temperature difference between the interior of your home and the outside during the most piercing of winter days — this can be extreme for an animal who usually cuddles up inside.
- Some dogs tend to bark each time someone walks by a window — it happens, let it go. Good news though — allowing your dog to stay in the garage could eliminate some of these visual stimuli, while providing your neighbors with a quieter environment at the same time. A well‑insulated (R‑16) garage door will do just that: protect your pets from the cold and heat that could enter the garage, and act as the acoustic barrier needed for your dog’s barking.
Can my precious pooch really live in a garage?
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. True, a dog or cat who has reached a certain maturity may need to experience this new environment gradually. And yes, this means you should not leave the animal alone for a full day — that’s just too much. For a dog, you can start by putting up efficient barriers to set a territory. We do not recommend keeping your dog on a leash while it’s in the garage.
Remember that if your pet is already housebroken, it usually won’t relieve itself in your garage — puppies are something else. If you are worried about it, you can just put down newspaper or absorbent pads on the floor to make cleaning easier. For cats, a litter box of an appropriate size will do the trick.
As the experience proves to be positive, you will be able to increase the area accessible to your pet, until it can eventually access the whole garage. It’s important to spend some quality time with your pet in the garage in order to reinforce good behaviours. You can also give a treat to your pet just before exiting the garage and do your own little Pavlov experiment with positive conditioning.
On garage temperature and isolation
No pet should be kept in an uninsulated space. A well‑insulated and weathertight garage is the best option for your pet, whether it’s in the cold weather of winter — keep the interior temperature at or over 50℉ (10℃) — or the summer’s burning heat.
Speaking of burning heat: a window will provide some natural air ventilation if you leave it partially opened.
The accumulation of humidity in the garage, especially in the winter, is another factor to consider. If you think you have a humidity problem, simply measure the level with a hygrometer. Your pet will be comfortable below 50%, so envisage using a dehumidifier if the value is higher.
The feeding of garage favored
Do not change your pet’s eating habits — leaving a bowl of food in the garage is no different than in your home. Follow the manufacturers’ recommendations found on the label and you’ll be fine. Keep in mind that your dogs may sleep more during your absence, saving all their energy so they can shower you with affection when you return!
Please write this one somewhere: never leave a pet without water. Make sure the bowl cannot be accidentally knocked over.
Comfort, convenience and content
For optimal comfort, your pets should have a convenient bed that protects them from humidity and insulates them from the cold concrete. It’s always better to offer them a choice, as on hot summer days, the cool floor may be just what they want. Leave them some toys to play with, an old T‑shirt with your scent and a radio tuned in to your favorite station — not to loud —, and they will forever be content.
Toys and treats are important — they keep your pets busy, distracting them from getting their teeth into something they shouldn’t.
High hazards removal
Remove any items that could physically hurt your dog or cat, along with any harmful substances that they could swallow or chew on. Why not take this opportunity to make the garage a safer place for the whole family? Store dangerous and toxic items in a locked cabinet. Sweep your garage floor after any DIY projects to remove any small objects they could swallow. Take away the ropes or cords your dog could get caught in.
If you keep larger articles in your garage — like a lawn tractor or motorcycle — you can make them invisible to an anxious dog by covering them up. That way your pooch won’t destroy those beloved leather seats (or any other soft things you want to keep intact).
For all those uninsulated garage doors…
Did you neglect the insulation and weather tightness of the fourth wall (also known as the garage door)? Just contact us at 613-749-2138. It will be a pleasure for us to explain the whole range of doors we carry and advise you on the best options for a safe and comfortable place for your pet. Don’t feel like talking? Request an online quotation now.
Finally — if you are planning on changing your garage door soon — go try out our design center. It’s the perfect tool for creating the door you really want. You can also browse our image gallery.
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