So we were cleaning out the garage for summer, and thinking about how we’ll be using it for a few things. And how the kids use it for a few things. And how the dogs love to hang out in the garage with the kids, and the cats, too, and…uh-oh. Sometimes it seems that we’re right to just worry constantly. It didn’t take a lot of research to learn that our innocent garage is home to various hazards that can injure, poison, or even kill a pet that has been left inside unsupervised. [photo via flickr]
Pet-proofing your garage is a great first step to a safer summer. You should start by first checking your garage for hidden threats to your pet. Anything on the ground, or level with your pet, can rub off on your pet’s fur and can also be ingested. Any dangerous substance you wouldn’t want your pet getting into should be placed on a higher surface. These risks can include antifreeze, motor oil, gasoline, paint, battery acid, turpentine, and garbage.
Antifreeze is one of the most dangerous substances found in a garage. Although odorless, this fluid has a sweet taste that a curious dog may try to ingest. It only takes a tablespoon of antifreeze to poison an average sized dog. With an 88% mortality rate, this is a risk you do not want to take. Make sure no antifreeze has been spilled on the floor and keep bottles away from where your pet can get to it.
There are certain brands of antifreeze that are a safer alternative. These brands contain propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol, which is still toxic, but may not be as fatal. If your pet has ingested antifreeze, take them to the vet right away. Symptoms to look out for include diarrhea, excessive thirst and urinating, panting, wobbling, vomiting, and convulsions.
Other fluids like motor oil, gasoline, and windshield wash can drip onto a dog if it is exploring beneath your car. If your dog has ingested oil, keep an eye out for symptoms such as depression, vomiting, and lethargy. Ingestion of gasoline or any fluid containing ethylene glycol is a life threatening situation and a vet should be notified immediately. Battery acid is extremely harmful to pets and if ingested, is an extremely severe situation that also requires attention right away.
Carbon monoxide is another danger to a pet stuck inside a garage. While also a danger to humans, dogs are more sensitive to carbon monoxide poisoning. If you suspect your dog has been poisoned, get them to fresh air at once before taking them to the vet.
With so many risks existing inside your garage, the proper steps and precautions should be taken to keep your pets safe. Disposing of old batteries, cleaning up spills, and using funnels when pouring any fluids are good steps to take. Training your pet to stay out of the garage may be a safer alternative that will keep both of you happy in the end.