Dogs in the Shop

Article - March 31, 2010

I received an interesting question from Armando on Facebook the other day and I thought it would make a good discussion topic here. He asked:

What are your ideas on having your dogs in the shop? Besides them running around and possibly knocking something or someone over, I would think dust would be a concern for them as it is for us. I like them as company but would rather be safe, me and them.

Lucky for me, my dogs aren’t the least bit interested in my shop. Sometimes I let them in only to watch them excitedly circle the tablesaw twice and then run back in the house. But for those of you who’s canine companions actually want to stay out there with you, you have a decision to make. And although some may see this as common sense, it bears repeating: your shop is just as dangerous to your pets as it is to you, if not more. Bottom line is, everything we try to protect ourselves from will also hurt dogs, only they can’t wear ear protection and respirators (with the exception of Shannon Rogers’ Safety Dog Alex- pictured left). Additionally, we have to consider all the little choke hazards that are laying on our shop floors. And finally, think about all that dust getting into your dogs coat. I wouldn’t want a 4-legged dust bag running around the house spreading that fine dust everywhere. My dogs are dirty enough as it is!

To drive the point home, I asked Brett Grogan, DVM, a few simple questions (thanks Vic!):

Are dogs just as susceptible to respiratory complications resulting from dust exposure as humans are?

“Yes they are. And they are probably at more risk because they are closer to the ground where the dust settles.”

How about a dog’s hearing? Could they be even MORE sensitive than we are?

“They would be at least as susceptible to hearing loss from the loud noises or more so, due to their acute hearing.”

What could happen if a dog were to ingest small pieces of wood from chewing scraps?

“That could cause anything from nothing to mild dietary upset or, if they pierce the intestinal lining it could be life threatening.”

Additionally, Dr. Grogan had this to say:

“You should take as many precautions in the shop with your dogs as you would for yourself or your kids. Another caution is regarding polyurethane glues, like Gorilla glue. For whatever reason, dogs seem very attracted to the taste. I’ve performed several operations to remove cured glue from dogs, which would obviously be life threatening.”