Garages are designed for security in mind. They keep our cars, sports equipment, lawn and garden gear safe from thieves. As the biggest door in your home, your garage door has many security features — the ability to lock, the ability to only be accessed with the correct remote. But how safe is your garage — even your garage door — for your pets? Many people keep their pets in their garages while they are away. Is your pet safe from harm? Here are 5 ways you can make your garage and garage door safer for pets and ensure a healthy environment while you are away.
Always Safely Store Antifreeze
Antifreeze tastes like candy to dogs but will kill them if ingested. A few teaspoons can be deadly. To protect against leaking bottles, always store antifreeze in a cabinet safe from your pets. Be careful of any spills. Always mix antifreeze with water away from the garage, ideally on a gravel or lawn surface. Use a hose to wash away any splashes or spills.
A Warm Car Feels Like a Cozy Blanket to a Cat
The warm engine of a recently parked car can feel like the warmest, comfiest quilt to a cat or kitten. If they decide to take a snug little nap, they could get snagged in the engine or wheels when you start the car. Make a habit of banging on the hood and areas around the wheels whenever you leave.
Take Care of Mouse Traps and Poison
It’s not uncommon to have mouse, rat or other rodent infestations in a garage. Many people turn to traps or poison to eradicate the nuisance. Be careful where you leave the poison or traps. A trap baited with peanut butter might be too tempting to Buffy.
You can get pet safe traps that are just as effective as spring loaded mouse traps or poison. Some traps are narrow chambers too small for a pet to access but big enough for the mouse. The mouse enters and is killed. You simply throw the trap away so you don’t have to deal with the dead mouse. Other traps are more humane such as catch and release options. You can even get a glue board for snakes and insects that capture the vermine with a sticky surface that won’t harm a pet.
Install a Webcam
Technology can be a great tool to keep your pet safe. Webcams have become surprisingly affordable. Install a webcam in your garage to keep an eye on your pet while you are away. This can be a great way to check in on your pet to make sure they are safe. It can also be a great way to reconnect with your animal friend while you are working. You’d be surprised at all the fun and shenanigans they can get into when they think no one is watching. Just don’t expect them to repair your garage door. Leave that to a professional.
How Old Is Your Garage Door?
If you have a garage door that’s older than 1993, you might want to consider installing a new one. Garage doors made after the early ‘90s are required to have safety features that prevents them from closing if an object, pet or person is in the way. Today’s doors are equipped with photo eyes that use lasers to check if the garage entryway is cleared before the door can close.
Never Place a Pet Door Near the Garage Door Itself
If you install a pet door, never place it in the garage door itself. This can encourage your pet to run towards the garage door, causing them to be injured if the door is opening or closing. Instead, place a pet door on an exterior door ideally far away from the garage. It’s good to give your pet their freedom, but be mindful of the position of the door to prevent them from being injured by the garage door.
Pets take time to make up their minds. A closing garage door may be their last chance at the outdoors, and they may make a break for it. An older door could crush or kill them. A newer door will stop automatically when they run under.
Establish a Safe Pet Zone
If you keep your dog in an area of the garage while you’re at work, establish a barrier system that contains them. Make sure that the area is free of potential poisons and other dangers. Put in a comfy bed, their favorite food, and make sure they have plenty of water. It’s also not a bad idea to install a pet door within your garage door, so they can come and go as they please.
Reconsider a Doggy Door
Many pet owners like to install doggy doors to allow their pets to come and go at their leisure. We caution against this, or if you must at least be sure to position the door far away from the garage door itself. Positioning the pet entrance near the garage door risks the possibility of the pet running towards a descending garage door and getting crushed in the process.