Feeling PAW-triatic? Firework Safety Tips for Pets

Firework season can be a scary time for pets. Keep your pets safe by following these tips.

  • Exercise your pet on the morning of the holidays when you think there may be fireworks
    • This will get extra anxiety out and calm your pet down before the night begins
  • Keep pets inside and away from loud noises 
    • It’s a good idea to create a safe space where pets feel secure inside the house. Use an inner room away from windows or a crate filled with your pet’s favorite toys and bedding. Keep a light or two on and consider turning the TV or radio on for some calming background noise. If your pet hides somewhere in this safe space, allow them to do so. Do not try to coax them out, as hiding is a natural coping mechanism for animals. Make sure pets always have fresh water available
  • Leave your pets home while venturing out to loud and crowded places
    • Fido and Fluffy don’t want to go with you to your local fireworks display! Again, make sure they have a safe place to stay while you’re out
  • Pets may be tempted to run if startled by loud noises. Ensure that outdoor areas are securely fenced and your pets cannot get out of your yard
    • In case of an escape, have microchips and valid ID tags on all of your pets and make sure information is current and accurate
    • If your pet escapes during the firework show contact your local animal shelter, post online or on social media lost and found pages
  • Check with your veterinarian for additional help
    • For especially anxious pets, they may suggest a snug t-shirt to make your pet feel secure or prescribe medication to use during the holidays. If your pet is prescribed a medication, never share this with other pets or give your animal more than the recommended dose
  • Be aware that anxiety may last longer than the fireworks display
    • If your pet still seems on edge after the fireworks are over or even the next morning, continue to keep them inside and surrounded by calming things, such as their favorite treats or toys. Make sure that you’ve cleaned up any party debris before allowing your pet free reign of the yard again

Humane Society of Utah Offers Hot Weather Safety Tips For Pets

Contact: Guinn Shuster                        
Email: guinn@utahhumane.org   

News Release
Humane Society of Utah Offers Hot Weather Safety Tips For Pets

May 27, 2022

News Release
Humane Society of Utah Offers Hot Weather Safety Tips For Pets

Murray – UT, May 20, 2022 – As the temperatures rise, it is important that pets and pet owners alike take precautions to stay safe and healthy in the summer heat. While many animals spend quite a bit of their time outdoors, some extra precautions are necessary this time of year to prevent heatstroke, heat exhaustion, and other hot-weather ailments.

The Humane Society suggests the following hot weather tips this summer season:

  • Keep pets indoors more often during extreme heat, do not leave them outside all day
  • Make sure pets have a cool place to retreat to in the yard, such as a shady spot. Keep in mind that some outdoor dog houses can be hotter than the outdoor temps
  • Cool and fresh water should be available to pets at all times, both indoors and outdoors
  • If the asphalt is too hot for your hands and feet, it is too hot for your pets. Place your hand on the sidewalk for 10 seconds to test the temperature
  • Check pets for ticks, foxtails, and grass seeds following outdoor activity
  • Ensure that your yard is free of plants that are toxic to dogs and cats such as lilies, sago palms, and rhododendrons, and be careful with the use of insecticides and weed killers, which may be poisonous for your pets
  • If your pet wants to share your plate at a summer BBQ, know what foods are not pet-safe, such as onions, avocados, olives, garlic, grapes, cooked bones, and alcohol
  • Do not leave pets unattended near water– not all pets can swim! Limit the amount of pool water your pets drink, chlorine and other chemicals can be dangerous, and rinse your pets off after taking a swim in chlorinated or salty water.
  • If you have a brachycephalic (short-nosed, flat-faced) breed such as a pug, persian cat, or any type of bulldog, know that their short noses cause them to overheat quicker than other animals. Overweight and older pets are also at higher risk for heatstroke, so keep these furry friends in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible
  • Do not leave pets unattended in vehicles! Doing so is a major risk for heatstroke, heat exhaustion, and heat-related death.

5th Annual Bark at the Moon Dog-Friendly Event Returns to The Gateway

Contact: Guinn Shuster

Email: guinn@utahhumane.org


Date: May 20, 2022

Media Alert 

5th annual Bark at the Moon dog-friendly event returns to The Gateway on May 21, 2022 

Salt Lake City — Utah, May 21, 2022 Join us this Saturday from 4-8 p.m. for a family fun event that will raise funds to support the lifesaving programs at the Humane Society of Utah (HSU). The fundraiser is Presented by Mountain West Veterinary Specialist and supported by Fuzzy, Subaru USA, and The Arrow. Ticket prices begin at $20 and include admission to the festival. Dogs must be six months of age or older, up to date on vaccinations, and socialized with other dogs and people. 

“This is a fun community event to raise money for our homeless companion animals,” said Kaya Nielsen, HSU event manager. “We’re excited to return to The Gateway this year and grateful to the participating businesses for their support that allows us to bring people and pets together.”

The fundraising event will feature over 35 local vendors, food trucks, craft beer, live music, a splash zone for the dogs, a food truck for the dogs, Instagram-worthy photo opportunities, and more. 

“We are excited to be a part of Bark at the Moon and support the Humane Society of Utah with all the wonderful work they do for homeless pets in Utah,” said Kirsten Gull, Mountain West Veterinary Specialists spokesperson. “We are so glad to be part of this great community and love to be able to give back and support our local shelters, rescues, nonprofit organizations, and educational programs.

At 8 p.m., pets and people can participate in a group stroll around The Gateway.

$5,000 reward offered for Utah puppy thrown from a car window

Contact: Guinn Shuster                         
Email: guinn@utahhumane.org

May 17, 2022

News Release
$5,000 reward offered for Utah puppy thrown from a car window

Murray – Utah, May 17, 2022 — Humane Society of Utah offers a $5,000 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction in Malin’s case. According to Kevin Hansen of the South Salt Lake Animal Services, a bystander saw a 2-month-old puppy thrown from a moving car at 3300 S 300 W on Friday, May 13, 2022. South Salt Lake Animal Services named the critically injured puppy “Malin,” who is now receiving medical attention for two broken legs, two fractured ribs, and a punctured lung.

The Humane Society of Utah’s advocacy director, Rachel Heatley, praised South Salt Lake Animal Services’ response. “South Salt Lake Animal Services handled Malin’s injuries with urgency and deep compassion, ensuring Malin received the treatment she needed,” she said. “We only hope this reward will help bring the perpetrators of this cruelty to justice.”   

Malin is currently in the care of South Salt Lake Animal Services and will be brought into a foster home to help her heal this evening. The Humane Society of Utah is grateful for the tireless efforts of animal control officers in helping animals like Malin and caring for animals in our community. 

The Humane Society of Utah urges anyone with information regarding who injured Malin to contact the South Salt Lake Animal Service’s Office dispatch at 801-840-4000. Any tipster can choose to remain anonymous.

Oopsie, Don’t Forget Your Poopsie!

Did you know by not picking up after your dog, you’re putting other people and their pets at risk of exposure to harmful bacteria and parasites?

What happens when you don’t herd your turds?

The parasites and bacteria in dog waste can spread disease to humans and other animals, including wildlife. Even if your dog does not show symptoms of being sick, their waste can carry diseases harmful to humans and other pets. E. coli, Salmonella, Giardia, Parvovirus, and parasites like ringworm and tapeworm, to name a few.

Stormwater will carry pet waste and other pollutants directly into our waterways. Animal waste also adds nitrogen to the water. The excess nitrogen depletes the oxygen in the water necessary for beneficial underwater grasses, wildlife, and fish. To protect our watershed and drinking water is why dogs are not allowed in Big or Little Cottonwood Canyon. 

Dog waste is not a natural fertilizer. Since most dogs’ diets are high in protein, it has the reverse effect of fertilizer. Dog waste can take up to 12 months to fully break down.

Leave No Trace

“But I’ll grab it on the way out.” Unfortunately, even with the best intentions, many people don’t.

We are blessed to live in a state with incredible natural beauty and access to unforgettable outdoor adventure minutes from our doorsteps. While many of these areas remain open to dogs, there is no guarantee they’ll stay that way. And, let’s be honest, most people do not appreciate walking along a trail dotted with brightly colored poop bags or stepping in the dreaded pile of dog poo.

We encourage everyone to leave no trace and Be Part of the Solution to the Poo-lution! 

Here are some easy ways to pack out your dog’s poop without worrying about the smell.

After bagging your pup’s poop, use a clean peanut butter jar to seal the smell. Small peanut butter jars will easily fit in most fanny packs, backpacks, or purses. Best of all, they’re free! You can also purchase a smell-proof Bag off amazon for around $10-$15 or get fancy with a Ruffwear Pack it Out Bag.

Finally, one of the most important reasons you should be scooping your dog’s poop is because it’s the law. Many cities and towns have local ordinances requiring you to clean up after your dog. Please help us keep the Wasatch Front and surrounding areas dog-friendly by picking up after your dog. Whether it’s on or off-leash, it’s a privilege to access these areas with our four-legged friends.

Worth the Wait: Leo’s Story

Leo's story: black and tan bully breed missing fur stands in living room looking out patio door.

Our staff was heartbroken by the sight of Leo’s condition when he first arrived at the Humane Society of Utah in early 2022. Leo, a four-year-old bully breed mix, was severely malnourished and suffering from what appeared to be extreme allergies, which had led to hair loss and skin infections all over his body and in his ears. As a result of these infections, Leo’s body was covered in swollen red sores, pustules, and scabs. After our medical team assessed him, their number one priority became to help Leo gain weight and clear up his painful skin and ear infections as best they could.

Concerns of refeeding Syndrome

Unfortunately, due to Leo’s severe malnutrition, our medical team had concerns of refeeding syndrome, a severe and potentially fatal condition caused by sudden shifts in blood electrolyte levels. Since food deprivation changes the way one’s body metabolizes nutrients, there can be an abrupt electrolyte change when fat metabolism switches to carbohydrate metabolism in malnourished patients. To prevent this, HSU had to re-introduce food slowly. As a result, Leo’s healing process was prolonged and his energy low, but he made progress. 

Due to his severe medical issues, Leo was placed in our foster care program for a longer-than-average stay. His foster guardian and HSU’s Behavior and Training Manager, Anjela Sullenger, said, “He’s settling in with me and tolerating his new regime of taking medicated baths for his skin very well. He has become very affectionate with me and wants me  to sit and cuddle with him all day, which is very sweet.”

Leo's story: a severely malnourished black and tan dog stands looking out patio door. The dog is missing much fur and all ribs can be seen.

Leo’s true personality shines through

Anjela brings him to work with her every day to support Leo’s mental and emotional health. At our Pet Resource Center in Murray, Leo follows Anjela everywhere while hanging out at her office. If Anjela has to step out for a minute, Leo patiently waits by her office door for her to return. While at home together, their favorite thing to do is to sit and cuddle on the couch and catch up on Anjela’s favorite TV shows.

Anjela shared, “Leo gets along very well with my two dogs, although he is not interested in playing at the moment and not really up for much exercise. But I have high hopes that he will become more playful as he starts to feel better.”. 

HSU’s Resource Center Veterinarian, Dr. Meredith Bleuer, has been part of the team to help Leo recover. She adds,  “malnutrition is not only detrimental to metabolic function, but can also lead to many secondary problems such as skin abnormalities, delayed wound healing and major organ dysfunction.  It is important to ensure pets receive proper nutrients with a nutritionally balanced diet.”  

Worth the Wait

Over the next two months, Leo would require further visits with specialists to help get to the root of his skin issues. While visiting with the dermatologist veterinarians at Blue Pearl, it became apparent that Leo was suffering from an autoimmune skin disease. Luckily, he could make a full recovery with proper medication. While in Anjela’s care, Leo steadily began to gain weight, and his splotchy, scab-filled coat was eventually replaced with soft, velvety fur. 

Although Leo’s road to recovery has been long and challenging, our dedicated team, who never gave up, is happy to report that he was adopted on March 26th! He now spends his days cuddling with his new family and doggy friend on the couch. Leo is an excellent reminder that while most transformations don’t happen overnight, they are worth the wait when they finally do – and it’s important never to give up hope.  

What can happen when using E-collars, prong collars, choke chains on your dog?

With so many training options available, it can be hard to figure out which is the best method for you and your pet. The animal training industry remains unregulated, leading to various opinions about what methods are the “right” methods. Evidence supports the use of reward-based methods for all canine training, along with the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.

Here’s why:

Scientific evidence in support of positive reinforcement-based training has been overwhelming. Studies show that positive reinforcement leads to improved welfare of companion animals, has a positive influence on the human-animal bond, and effectively achieves training goals.

  • The use of aversive-based methods and equipment, including e-collars, prong collars, choke chains, and other tools, can result in fallout, including:
    • Aggression (directed towards the handler or others)
    • Escape/avoidance behavior
    • Learned Helplessness (apathy)
    • Generalization of fear to other elements in the environment (including the handler)
  • The science of behavior across species is well-established and has been studied for decades through fields such as applied behavior analysis and animal welfare science. This field overwhelmingly proves that positive reinforcement is the most humane and effective method to teach and to modify behavior
  • Using punishment becomes habitual and easily escalates. This is not the relationship we want to promote for pet guardians in our community

In alignment with our mission to “eliminate pain, fear, and suffering in all animals,” the Humane Society of Utah chooses to use evidence-based force-free training. We want to grow the human-animal bond by increasing understanding between humans and their pets, establishing clear communication, and putting the welfare of both human and animal first.

A Love Story From Texas to California

Six-year-old Jaeger’s story began in El Paso, Texas. While we don’t have many details of his early life, we know that he was a frequent flyer at the local animal shelter and found himself there numerous times. After spending an unknown amount of time in El Paso, Jaeger was transferred to the Humane Society of Utah in June of 2021 for a second chance at life.

Filled with energy and enthusiasm, Jaeger arrived at HSU ready to find his perfect match. Our staff quickly picked up on his quirks and started making a plan as to what type of adopter would suit him best. We found that he had lots of energy and needed an adopter who could help him stay stimulated mentally and physically. He also wasn’t house trained and would need a refresher on doggy etiquette, so finding a patient adopter was vital.

During his stay

Jaeger worked closely with our behavior team and was learning more every day. We knew finding the right fit for him might take some time, but seeing him with a loving family would be well worth it.

From June to September of 2021, Jaeger was adopted and returned three times. There were various reasons for Jaeger not being a fit for each of these families. However, it also gave us more information about who would be a good fit for him.

Jaeger continued to work with our staff and volunteers on a daily basis who took detailed notes of his personality and behavior. He became a staff favorite and was loved by every person in the building! Everyone was rooting for Jaeger to find the best home possible and was prepared to do whatever it took to get him adopted.

Fast forward to the end of September

It began as a typical day but little did we know, it would end up being an unforgettable one for Jaeger. A woman walked into our Adoptions Center and talked with our staff about the type of dog she was looking for. After introducing her to several dogs and learning more about their personalities, she laid her eyes on Jaeger. With his vibrant red coat and puppy dog eyes, she couldn’t resist taking him out to the play yard to see if they’d be a good match.

A short time later, she brought Jaeger back inside and insisted that he was the one for her! Filled with excitement, our staff gave her a rundown of Jaeger’s history, enjoyments, and struggles, emphasizing the importance of him finding the right fit. The potential adopter was sure she could help Jaeger become the good boy he was destined to be and started filling out the paperwork.

Only a week after taking Jaeger home, we received this message:

“Thank you so much to you amazing humans. It has been a little over a week since I adopted Jaeger, renamed River. He is exactly what I was hoping for and more. He’s definitely a cuddle bug but loves his walks, especially with our next door neighbor’s dog who is his new best friend. I love him so much and as much as I wish he wasn’t adopted and returned three times before me, I’m glad they brought him back so I could give him an amazing home and all the love I have.”

Worth the wait

We were elated to see that Jaeger (renamed River) had finally found his perfect match. We kept in touch with his adopter throughout the following months and learned that they had moved to California together. She expressed how she was so glad to have River by her side through the move and that he behaved perfectly through it all. “River has been with me every step of the way,” she said. “He was a champ and enjoyed the car ride more than I did! So far, he loves going for walks more than ever because it’s warm and there’s still light later in the day. We have yet to go to a beach out here but I’m positive he’s going to love it!”

Stories like this show that even if a dog has tried out multiple homes and bounced around from shelter to shelter, it doesn’t mean that they won’t find the right fit. Jaeger (renamed River) would never have met his current family if he didn’t wind up at the shelter in El Paso, been transferred to us, and returned three times before meeting her. Some dogs may take a little extra effort when finding a home, but in our minds, we think it’s worth it!

What Breed of Dog is That?

two pictures of the same brindle mixed breed one year apart.

“What breed of dog is that?” This is one of the most common questions we hear at the Humane Society of Utah. What breed would you guess for this Utah Humane Society alum, Rosco? Rosco came to our shelter two years ago with his littermates. His family recently sent her DNA results to us, which we have shared below. 

Even the most experienced dog lovers don’t know a dog’s mixed-lineage or exact breed without a DNA test. One study found that 90 percent of a dog’s breed that was guessed by shelter staff didn’t match the predominant breed identified through DNA analysis. Another study revealed that experts seldom agree on their breed guesses, so one person’s Mastiff mix is another’s Boxer mix or Lab-hound mix.

As a result, you’ll now find most “mixed-breed” dogs on our website are labeled as small, medium, or large mixed-breed. Since most dogs who come to our shelter don’t have pedigree papers, most people may try to label them by the breeds they most closely resemble, leading adopters to make assumptions about their personalities and future behavior based on these breed guesses.

The truth is, there is a wide range of behavior, even in purebred dogs. For example, a purebred field Golden Retriever will behave differently than a purebred show or pet Golden Retriever. Now, mix three or four breeds into one dog and it’s anybody’s guess as to which personality and behavior traits will shine through. Each dog has a genetic predisposition and unique learning history that shapes its personality. This is why we encourage people to meet each dog they are interested in adopting in person instead of making assumptions based on a breed label. Treat the dog in front of you as an individual, and get to know each dog’s unique personality to see if he or she is the right fit for you!

Collars or Harnesses?

Why Harnesses?

The area around a dog’s throat is one of the most vulnerable parts of their body. Research finds that when a dog pulls, or the leash is jerked, the pressure exerted on a dog’s neck by a flat collar is enough to risk damage to the dog’s neck. 

  • Collars should only be used to display ID tags, not for restraint or control. Harnesses are a better option to control your dog safely.
  • Slip and prong collars can cause injury to your dog’s neck and spine. Even when used correctly, these collars work by causing pain.

Prong collars, shock/E-collars, and choke chains also have long-term adverse behavioral effects, including problems with aggression, anxiety, and fear.

Safer Options

There are comfortable harnesses available that make walking your dog easier. Harnesses with a leash attachment at the dog’s chest and back help reduce pulling (like the Freedom No-Pull Harness shown here).

Our staff is happy to show you how to fit and use a new Freedom Harness. 

* Please note, some front-clip harnesses restrict movement to keep the dog from pulling, but those are meant for short-term management while you are working on training your dog to walk on a loose leash. A Y-shaped harness such as the Perfect Fit harness shown in the illustration below, is a better solution for long-term use as it allows the dog to move freely. 



Once you have the right equipment, your dog can practice walking on a loose leash. If you make it rewarding for your dog to remain near your side, you will notice that your walks go more smoothly.  

Learn how to train your dog to walk on a loose leash.  

For more tips on loose leash walking, call the Animal Behavior and Training Department at 801-506-2417 or contact us for information.

Read our statement about using positive reinforcement training instead of correction-based methods.