Many owners have their outdoor dogs stay in the garage during the winter to stay warm. However, garages can be harsh, unsafe environments for dogs if the space isn't properly prepared and the dog isn't given the right tools to stay happy and warm. Knowing how to prepare your garage and protect your dog can help you avoid problems this winter.
Provide a Warm Place to Sleep
Provide your dog with a heated or insulated blanket where he or she can stay warm and lay comfortably while trying to sleep. Keep the blanket in a warm location in your garage, ideally away from exterior doors and windows. If your garage is attached to your home, a sheltered area against the wall of the house will be a good spot for your dog's bed.
Use a Heated Water Dish
Your dog can become dehydrated if the water in his or her water dish freezes. Use a heated water dish to hold your dog's water. Be sure to purchase a water dish specially made to be used by a dog of your dog's particular size. If your dog eats wet food, purchase a heated food dish in addition to the heated water dish.
Give Your Dog Something Fun to Do
Many dogs will get into mischief if they have nothing better to do. Give your dog something to keep him or her mentally stimulated, like toys to chew on.
Give Your Dog Access to the Outside
Even though your dog might spend most of the time inside the garage, your dog will still need access to the outdoors for doing his or her duties. To ensure your dog will always have access to the outside, have a doggie door installed in the exterior door to your garage. Use an insulated doggie door to ensure that the warmer air inside the garage doesn't leak out.
Keep Poisons Out of Reach
Before allowing your dog to spend time in the garage alone, be sure to put all insecticides, cleaning products, and other toxic chemicals up on a shelf where your dog can't reach them. Be extra careful of antifreeze, because dogs find it very tasty. You may want to keep some products in your laundry room instead, or use child locks on certain cabinets/shelves so your dog can't get to them easily.
If your dog accidentally ingests something he or she shouldn't, then it will be helpful for you to know the signs of toxicity in pets. The exact symptoms will depend on the type of poison your dog has ingested, but the general signs include:
- Lack of energy
- Abdominal pain
- Increased drinking
If your dog displays any of these signs, contact an animal hospital, like Bayside Veterinary Hospital, right away.
Know the Symptoms of Hypothermia in Dogs
Even though your dog is more protected in the garage than outside, it can still get cold. So it helps to know the signs of hypothermia in dogs, which include:
- Uncontrollable shivering
Dogs that suffer from extreme hypothermia can even go into a coma and die. If your pet displays any of these symptoms, it's important to contact the animal hospital right away and bring them inside to get warm. For more information, call your pet's veterinarian. He or she can answer your questions and give you more tips and advice.