Can your dog or cat be kept in the garage while you’re not home?
It’s possible! However, you’ll need to follow a few guidelines to make a safe and comfortable space for your pet in your garage. If your dog or cat has separation anxiety and tends to destroy furniture or other items when left alone in the house, using the garage can be an excellent solution.
This blog post will discuss how to use the entire garage as your furry friend’s home away from home instead of constructing or placing a cage in the garage.
Before you begin…
Carefully consider the pros and cons of using the garage as a place to keep your pet during the day versus leaving a crate in the house.
- In the garage, your dog will have more room to move freely and play. However, if your pet is used to staying in a crate while you’re away, he or she may require their safe space. In this case, you can move the crate to the garage and leave the door open so your dog can go in and out as needed.
- During extremely cold weather, your pet will stay nice and warm in the garage. If you’re at work all day and leave your pet outdoors, with or without a shelter, you risk having your dog or cat get frostbite. Calculate the temperature difference between the interior of your home and the outdoors on a cold winter day. The temperature difference can be extreme for an animal used to being inside and cozy in the house.
- If your dog tends to bark at passersby, being in the garage would prevent your dog from barking at each person who walks by your house, which lowers the noise level for your neighbors. A well-insulated (R‑16) garage door protects cold and heat from entering the garage and is also a good acoustic barrier.
Will your pet tolerate the garage?
If your pet has reached a certain age and maturity, it is recommended that you try the new garage environment gradually. Don’t leave your pet in the garage for a whole day the first time. For a dog, you can start with defining a small territory by placing barriers such as baby gates to prevent your dog from wandering. Do not leave your pet on a leash without supervision.
If your dog is housebroken, he or she won’t try to relieve themselves in the garage. However, if you have a puppy, that’s another story. You can always put down newspaper or absorbent pads in a designated spot to make things easier. For a cat, a litterbox will do the trick.
Over time, you can slowly increase the area your pet is allowed to roam in until he or she is able to be left alone in the entire garage. To speed things along, be sure to spend some time with your pet in the garage. Before you leave, give your pet a treat. He or she will quickly start associating the garage with a positive experience.
Garage Temperature and Insulation
If your garage isn’t well insulated and you need it as a place for your pet during the days, you need to consider your insulation options. Heating the garage won’t help much during cold winter days if your garage isn’t insulated. An insulated garage will also protect against the summer heat. If your garage is well-insulated and weathertight, it will make a comfortable place for your pet to spend its days.
During the winter, keep the interior of your garage at a temperature of 500 F (100 C) or higher. During the summer, keep a window open for natural air ventilation.
Humidity in the garage is another factor to consider. Measure your garage’s humidity with a hygrometer. If the humidity is below 50%, your furry friend will be comfortable. If the humidity is higher than 50%, you can place a dehumidifier in the garage to reduce the humidity level.
Just because your pet will be in the garage doesn’t mean that you need to change its eating habits! Leaving a bowl out in the garage is no different than leaving one in your home. Follow your vet’s recommendation or the manufacturer’s recommendation on the label. Remember that, usually, your pets aren’t very active while you’re away. They prefer to save all their energy to excitedly greet you and shower you with affection when you return!
Don’t forget that your pet must always have water. Be sure to have a bowl of water that cannot be knocked over by a stray paw or tail.
Make sure your pet has a comfortable bed to rest on while you’re away. Ideally, their bed would protect them from humidity and insulate their bodies from the cold concrete. Though, in the summer, be sure to leave some concrete floor open for your furry friend because a nice cool floor may be just what they want. Leave a few favorite toys for your pet to play with or an old T-shirt with your scent on it in their bed. If they do better with sounds or music, leave a radio tuned to your favorite station at a reasonable volume.
Be sure that your dog has a toy or something safe to chew on. This will keep them busy for a good part of the day and distract them from chewing or destroying things they shouldn’t. Avoid sticks, bones, and anything that could splinter or anything that could choke your dog in your absence.
Ensure that any items that could harm your pet are removed from the garage before you leave them there unsupervised. Things to watch for are harmful substances they could accidentally swallow or chew on. Lock any toxic items in a cabinet to keep your pet and family safe. Sweep the floor of your garage to ensure it is free of any small objects like nails or screws that your pet could swallow. Put away any ropes, cords, or straps that could entangle your pet.
For larger items, like a lawnmower or motorcycle, placing a cover over them will prevent a dog with separation anxiety from chewing on the seats or other softer parts.
If your garage door isn’t well insulated…
If you realize that the fourth wall of your garage, the garage door, isn’t well-insulated and weathertight, contact us at 705-721-7909. We will gladly explain all of your options and the range of doors we carry. We’ll help you make the best choice to make your garage a comfortable, safe place for your pet. You can also send a request for an online quotation.
Lastly, if you are planning on getting a new garage door in the near future, why not try to use a tool like our Design Centre and create the perfect garage door for you? You can also view our image gallery.