Let’s Talk About Doodle Dogs

A Doodle dog stands in the grass over a red ball looking up at the camera.

In the last two years, the Humane Society of Utah has seen a large influx of doodle dogs surrendered to our shelter. This blog will address why and what you should consider before bringing home one of these popular dogs.

What’s a doodle dog? 

First, what is a doodle? A doodle is any breed of dog mixed with a standard, miniature, or toy poodle. For example, a golden doodle mixes a poodle and a golden retriever, aussiedoodle = Australian shepherd x poodle, and bernadoodle = Bernese mountain dog x poodle.

Doodles gained notoriety from Wally Conron, a breeding manager for the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia in the 1980s. Conron tried to find a guide dog for a blind woman whose husband was allergic to dogs. He came up with the idea to cross a poodle with a Labrador retriever, hoping the positive traits that make Labs great service dogs would combine with the non-shedding characteristics of a poodle. This history may suggest that doodles are hypoallergenic and make great family pets.

Are all doodles hypoallergenic?

However, there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog. Allergens carry in dander (dead skin cells), saliva, and urine, so they are impossible to avoid altogether. Some dogs produce fewer allergens or shed less than others, but no dog is completely free of allergens. In addition, allergies vary from person to person, so you never truly know if or how badly you will react to a particular dog. That’s why we always suggest treating every dog as an individual and interacting with them before bringing them home.

Second, it’s not black and white when it comes to genetics and mixing breeds. When you take the genes of two breeds, there is no guarantee of the puppy’s traits. You risk losing the desirable characteristics of each breed and inheriting health issues and undesirable traits. While mixing two dogs may counteract some of the specific hereditary diseases from each parent dog, there’s still no guarantee about which genes your pup will inherit. You could end up with any combination of these conditions, especially in the first mixed generation. Please keep in mind where and how we raise puppies can also contribute to their adult behavior. Puppies who experience early exposure and positive interactions with different people and environments in a home setting will have a better chance of success.

Doodle puppies who “look the part” and are supposedly hypoallergenic often cost more than doodle puppies who still shed or have a nontraditional-looking coat. That’s right; doodles have different types of fur! Many appear wiry, like Jack and Simba (pictured below). While wiry doodle coats will likely shed, they won’t require the regular trips to the groomer for trims and de-matting like a poodle coat will.

Do all doodles act the same? 

Third, because doodles are mixed with many other breeds, their behaviors come in a wide variety. For example, some families expect their doodle to behave low-key and goofy like their friend’s golden doodle. But, they preferred the blue merle coloring of the sheepdoodle or aussiedoodle may be in for a big surprise. Richard (pictured below) went through multiple families for not “behaving” like a doodle. He had a poodle coat, but he exhibited strong herding breed-like behaviors. 

Grey and white doodle dog Richard plays in yard with a tennis ball in his mouth.
Richard’s DNA test revealed he was a standard poodle sheepdog cross.

Doodles come in all shapes, colors, and sizes and can make wonderful additions to most families. However, we encourage you to do your research and understand that the doodle puppy in front of you may grow up differently than you expect. We often have poodle mixes available for adoption at HSU. Take a look at our website first if you’re considering one for your family. Like all our dogs, they come spayed/neutered, microchipped, dewormed, and have age-appropriate vaccinations.

Fearful Dog Gets a Second Chance

Maverick a fearful former outdoor dog lays on a wooden deck at his new home.

Maverick, a teenage puppy, came to HSU’s Pet Resource Center in Murray five days before Christmas.  His guardian said he could no longer care for him due to having a newborn. He described the 8-month-old pup as “smart and kind” and “very fond of his soccer ball.” He also shared that Maverick had a history of being nervous around all people, both familiar and strange, and he’d almost exclusively lived outside. Maverick was a fearful dog who needed a little help from our team of certified dog trainers.

Extra attention from our Behavior Team

While in our care, Maverick’s nerves reached new heights.  He was uneasy with his surroundings and terrified to cross the middle divider in his kennel, separating his food area from his potty area.  Erika Newman, HSU’s Behavioral Coordinator, shared, “When Maverick first came to us, he avoided contact with me at all costs.  When I slowly introduced myself to him, he offered up low tail wags, which for a dog, translates to, ‘I want to interact, but I’m very uncomfortable right now.’ When I finally approached him, he melted into my lap and began licking my face.  It was clear he wanted affection and closeness but was unsure how to go about it.” 

During meet and greets with potential adopters, Maverick continued with his low tail wags and would even roll over to show his belly or pee when approached.  Erika pointed out that these are submissive behaviors and indicate that a dog feels frightened or threatened and lacks confidence. “The goal of our department is to help all the pets in our care to build confidence through positive reinforcement techniques.  Since behavioral issues may lead a guardian to rehome their pet, positive reinforcement training is a critical service we provide for pets and adopters.” 

Fearful dog Maverick plays fetch with a tennis ball.

A foster home for the holidays

Luckily for Maverick, the Humane Society of Utah was hosting its annual Home for the Holidays program, which places pets into foster homes, so they don’t have to spend Christmas in a kennel alone.  This meant Maverick could have more one-on-one time in the comfort of someone’s home without a scary kennel divider in his way.  Annette Perkins took on the role of Maverick’s foster mom.  With Erika’s guidance, Annette worked to help Maverick feel more at ease by going slow with her interactions with him.  And she taught him alternative ways to connect with humans through positive reinforcement.

Over two weeks, Maverick’s nerves began to subside, and he started interacting more easily with other dogs and humans at Annette’s local dog park.  Slowly but surely, Maverick was transforming from a low-wagging tail pup to one who was more adventurous and easygoing.  With his newfound confidence, Maverick was ready to return to our Pet Resource Center and find an adopter.  He didn’t have to wait long;  he found a home with a woman named Beatrice and her daughter the next day. 

From fearful to confident

Recently, Beatrice shared with our team that Maverick is thriving in his new home, where he has a doggy door and can come and go as he pleases.  Outside, he enjoys chasing balls and playing in the snow, but his favorite place is right beside Beatrice, especially when it involves cuddling up next to her at night.  Beatrice wrote in her email, “I took Maverick to a dog park this week, and he had a blast running around with all the doggies!   I am just so impressed with how well-behaved he is.  He is settling in great, and I already love him so much!” We were so happy to see this fearful dog blossom into a happy and healthy companion.

Maverick cuddles with his new owner on the couch.

A Long Road To Recovery

Lady the brindle dog sleeping on a dog bed in her foster home.

Lady, a five-year-old bully mix, was surrendered to our Pet Resource Center in Murray because her guardian worked longer hours and could no longer give her the time and attention she needed. Before leaving Lady in our care, her guardian described her as “playful and friendly” and said her favorite things were “watermelon and sleeping on the bed .”Lady was so sweet with our staff that we thought she’d be adopted immediately without any problems, but unfortunately for Lady, this wasn’t the case. 

Accessing Lady’s health

After an assessment, our medical team discovered that Lady’s skin and ears were infected, and she had a handful of broken teeth. She also had a pretty severe limp. Upon further discovery, it became apparent that the ligaments in Lady’s knees had ruptured in both legs. If she were ever going to run or jump again, she’d need to undergo TPLO surgery, short for Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, to have these ligaments repaired. The problem was that Lady weighed 90 pounds, so our team made the decision to conduct these surgeries two months apart, so Lady wasn’t totally incapacitated. 

After her first surgery, Lady went into our Foster Program under the care of Caitlin Lisle, our Humane Education Director. Caitlin put Lady on ‘bed rest’ and helped her pass the time with food puzzles and yummy frozen treats. Caitlin explained, “Lady was such a joy to rehab. She had the best disposition of any dog I’ve ever cared for. She was just so cheerful all the time about everything. She even loved it when I iced her leg!”

Lady the brindle dog wears a pink sprinkle donut cone while she recovers from surgery in foster home.

While waiting for her second TPLO surgery, our medical team found that Lady was also suffering from entropion in both eyes. Entropion is a condition in which the eyelid rolls inward, causing the eyelashes and surrounding hair to rub against the dog’s sensitive cornea, which results in eye irritation, and, if not remedied quickly, can lead to corneal ulceration. 

Caitlin shared, “I felt so bad for her. Poor Lady couldn’t catch a break! She eventually had three surgeries within 16 weeks. Regardless, she never cried once and always gave her full attention while doing her physical rehabilitation therapy activities. She was the best girl ever!”

Over the four months they shared, Caitlin and Lady became very attached. When Lady was all healed and ready for adoption, Caitlin was happy for her but also teary-eyed. “It was bittersweet because I was so in love with her. But since I already have four dogs of my own, I knew I couldn’t keep her.”

Lady finds a home

Caitlin screened potential adopters to ensure Lady went to the perfect home. A few weeks passed, but Caitlin didn’t find the right fit until a woman named Katie reached out after seeing Lady’s story on our Instagram account. 

Katie shared, “The day I saw Lady’s post was the first anniversary of when our beloved labrador, Ryder, passed away. We’d had Ryder for almost 11 years, and our family was heartbroken when he passed. I didn’t know if we were ready for a new dog, but I reached out to Caitlin on a whim.”

Lady in her adopted home watches a toy train in the living room.

Caitlin invited Katie, her husband, Dan, and their two young kids, Liam and Lucas, to meet Lady. But Dan was resistant. He told Katie, “Unless this dog gives me a sign by jumping into my lap or something, I don’t think I’m ready for a new dog.” Lady must have superman hearing because as soon as Dan walked in to meet her, that’s exactly what she did. 

Katie recalled, “Lady ran directly over to Dan and jumped in his lap. We were all stunned. Not only this, but she was very gentle and tolerant with our kids. We fell in love with her immediately, and she’s been a member of our family ever since.”

Lady wears a Christmas  sweater in her adopted home while watching over her a young boy playing in the snow.

These days you can find Lady riding shotgun alongside Katie to pick up the kids from school or glued to Dan’s hip. “The loss of Ryder was so hard on my husband, but now, he’s Lady’s biggest fan. They’re like little comfort buddies. She always seems to know when we’re having a bad day, and if she senses we are, she’s at our side to offer comfort. She is exactly what our family needs.”

Leash reactivity- where do I start?

Tan and white leash reactive dog pulls on leash while barking on a tree lined walkway.

Leash Reactivity is a term that many humans who own dogs are unaware of, and when they hear it, they don’t know what it means or looks like. Leash reactivity is an on-leash dog barking, growling, lunging, etc., at a trigger. The “trigger” is something or someone that causes this fear response to engage at a certain distance, specific to each dog with reactivity. 

Leash reactivity does not necessarily mean aggression. Dogs can be leash reactive out of frustration or fear, which does not always mean they intend to harm the other dog or trigger. For example, a dog’s leash reactivity may be based on the frustration of being unable to greet another dog. As a result, he barks and pulls on his leash when he sees the other dogs in an attempt to get to them. However, once given a proper introduction, he can play successfully or never shows this type of behavior when off-leash at the dog park. And remember, some fearful dogs may be asking for space from other dogs and do not want to be social with other dogs, and that’s okay too.

Training tips to start with leash reactivity

Tip #1: Bring the treats! Everyone likes a payday, winning the jackpot, or a tasty morsel after dinner. And dogs are no different. So not only will it be easier to work with your dog, but this method will help your dog form a positive association with their triggers.

Tan and white dog takes a treat from a lady's hand while sitting outdoors in a green field.

Tip #2: Give yourself space. Which will likely mean more space than you think. If your dog is leash reactive walking down the street, try crossing the street. If they are walking down the same street, stop behind a parked car that acts as a visual barrier, allowing them to gain distance between you and your dog. 

A tan barrier reactive dogs barks behind a black iron gate.

Tip #3: One training exercise we like to use here at HSU is Look At That (LAT.) This exercise changes the dog’s emotional response when they see their trigger. To practice LAT, start far from the trigger so the dog can remain calm. The moment the dog looks at the trigger, mark by saying “Yes!” or clicking with a clicker and immediately follow up with a reward (treat.) Continue to practice this exercise throughout the walk; over time, you can decrease the distance between the dog and their trigger. This reinforces the behavior of staying calm around the trigger and teaches them an alternate behavior to reacting. 

If you are struggling with your leash reactive dog and looking for advice, please visit our website or contact behavior@utahhumane.or

What to Expect When You’re Expecting… a New Furry Friend!

3 small puppies pose a purple blanket.

Have you ever wondered what the process of adopting from the Humane Society of Utah looks like? Well, we’ve got you covered! In just 5 easy steps, you can bring home a new best friend!

Start out with a meet and greet

Has someone special caught your eye? Step one is to set up a meet and greet through one of our adoption counselors. After going over the available information we have about that animal, they’ll set you up with a meet-and-greet area.

Fill out a quick application

Once you’ve decided that you’d like to take Fluffy or Fido home, you’ll be asked to fill out a short (less than one page) form with some basic information such as your address, phone number, and email. This form can be filled out digitally or with a pen and paper.

Women looks at shelter cat while giving it chin scratches in Kitty City.

Have a chat with an adoption counselor

After our adoptions team has received your application, you’ll sit down with a counselor to go over details about the pet and their history, have any of your questions answered, and sign an adoption contract which essentially says you agree to love and take care of the animal you are bringing home with you. Our adoption staff is equipped with a plethora of resources to help you and your pet’s go as smoothly as possible, from how to handle cat-dog introductions to how to deal with resource guarding.

Inside HSU's adoption lobby facing adoption check out desks.

Pay your adoption fee, receive your new pet’s records, and head home!

Following your chat with one of our adoptions counselors, all that’s left is to pay your pet’s adoption fee, receive any medical records we have on hand (i.e., vaccinations, medications), and a supply of medications to get you through the next few days (if applicable), and get ready to head home! You will be required to take your new pet home either in a pet carrier or on a harness and leash, but if you didn’t bring your own, we have some available for purchase in our onsite store. We are also proud to offer a free exam through our partnered vets in the area, which we encourage all adopters to take advantage of.

After Your Adoption…

Our adoption team will reach out to you via email after one week and after three weeks to check in and make sure all is going well. This offers an opportunity to ask any questions that have come up, request more resources, or send us some cute photos showcasing what your new pet has been up to!

Smiling dog with big blocky heads lays in grass.

So, there you have it! Congratulations on your new furry family member, and thank you so much for choosing adoption first. 

Humane Society of Utah Hires New Resource Center Veterinarian

We are so excited to announce that we have hired the incredible Dr. Libby Gutting as our new resource center veterinarian!

We recently had the opportunity to conduct a short interview with Dr. Libby to get to know her and her journey to the Humane Society of Utah.

How did you find yourself at HSU?

I graduated from vet school at Oklahoma State University in 2010.  After that I stayed in Oklahoma and did a year-long Shelter Medicine and Surgery Internship. I then moved to Milwaukee, where I was the Medical Director at Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control for the past 11 years.  

After that long, I felt it was time for me to learn more and offer my experience somewhere else. I wanted to stay in the animal welfare field, as it is where my heart is, so I began my search looking for a position closer to my family, who all live in states surrounding Utah, so this was the perfect place for me!

What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

I’ve been doing a mix between the shelter and surgery so far.  I enjoy being part of a team that is made up of different departments that have unique perspectives on plans for the animals coming into care in the shelter.  I love working with the shelter animals, doing exams and pathway planning, but am excited to use my surgery skills and expand them as well.

What’s your favorite thing about your job so far?

I really enjoy the collaborative environment I’ve experienced so far here.  I feel lucky that I get to spend time in the clinic AND in the shelter and get to be part of both teams.  All have been fantastic! I have really been impressed by the education of staff as well.  Everyone is so invested in learning and growing, which I think is a sign of an amazing team.

One of my favorite things about shelter medicine is that every day is different, so it never gets boring.  And I have definitely already experienced that at HSU.  You never know what new and interesting cases you will see every day.

Do you have any advice for people who’d like to enter your field of work?

It can be a tough job, physically and emotionally, but it is worth it to help the lives of the animals and see so many enter the perfect home.  Being a veterinarian requires a lot of educational commitment, but I can’t imagine having done anything else.  

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m just happy to be getting to know everyone and learn what HSU is all about.  I appreciate the welcome I’ve received and am excited to grow in my career here. (END)

We are so thrilled to have you on the team, Dr. Libby! Thank you so much for all you have done so far, we are excited to see what the future holds!

Extending the Rule of 3’s: Lolly’s 3-Year Gotcha Day

Lolly, a dark brindle dog with a white stripe up her nose, poses on a white backdrop while wearing a white banana.

Here at the Humane Society of Utah, we love to tell adopters about the rule of 3’s. The rule of 3’s gives adopters an idea of what to expect when bringing home a new furry friend. 

The first 3 days allow the pet to decompress in a new environment. The first 3 weeks are for bonding and creating a routine, and the first 3 months help you solidify this routine and understand your pet more. Keeping the rule of 3’s in mind can help set you and your pet up for a happy life together. However, we often don’t discuss what happens after a pet has settled in and truly becomes part of the family. That’s why we decided to check in on Lolly and her owner Kev to discuss how Lolly is doing 3 years post-adoption.

Lolly Finds a Home

In 2019 a lovely dog named Chess came into our care. Kev knew he wanted a dog and often checked the Humane Society of Utah website. When he saw her picture, he immediately fell in love! Kev says that he got in his car, drove to our Pet Resource Center, and told the adoption counselor, “That’s my dog!” Our adoption counselor recommended they meet and go for a walk, but Kev knew that Chess was the dog for him. Sure enough, when they met, it was love at first sight! “We went out into the yard, and I introduced myself to her… she responded with a kiss. Her smile just really captures your heart because it quite literally lights up the room,” Kev remembers of their first meeting. As you can guess, Kev adopted Chess and changed her name to Lolly.

Lolly, a dark brindle dog with a white stripe up her nose, wears a bunny ears headband while looking up at the camera.

Lolly Becomes Family

Throughout the years Lolly has truly become a member of Kev’s family. Lolly has really found love in many things, specifically going on walks. “You could take her on a 20 mile walk and be home for five minutes, but if you pick up her leash again, she will undoubtedly get just as excited to go back out.” Kev reports that Lolly is also a big fan of toys and food, so if you combine those with going on a walk, Lolly is in heaven! Over the three years (and counting!) Lolly has been home with Kev. He says that she has added adventure to his life. “I love Lolly’s sense of adventure and adaptability. She is not scared of a hike, she is not afraid to go for a walk in the snow, and she is okay with a night in.” Kev also said that Lolly has made him a “happier and patient person” and that she has taught him so much about life. It’s clear that Kev and Lolly were meant to find each other!

Lolly, a dark brindle dog with a white stripe up her nose, sits in her owner Kev's lap on the ground both have smiling faces.

Thinking Long Term

We love hearing stories like Kev and Lolly’s! If you’ve adopted from the Humane Society and want to share an update on your pet, you can join this Facebook page. Although life can sometimes be stressful when you are a new adopter, the rule of 3’s and thinking long-term can help immensely with the transition. We truly believe that pets add many aspects to life, and that’s why our adoption counselors work so hard to help match you with the right pet. In addition, our Behavior team is always happy to help give advice post-adoption. 

When asked what advice he would give to potential adopters, Kev said, “Go play with some animals! Animals have their own personalities and have such unique forms of love. There is truly an animal for everyone.” If you’re considering adoption, you can view our adoptable pets on our website or call (801) 261-2919 ext. 227 with any questions. 

Gary’s Journey: Looks Aren’t Everything

Gary, a three-year-old American Bulldog weighing nearly 100 pounds, arrived at our Pet Resource Center in Murray in early July with gnarly scratches on his face and his tail between his legs. This droopy-faced pup had been attacked repeatedly by two dogs in his previous home and was injured as a result. But, according to his previous owners, Gary didn’t have an aggressive bone in his body and never once fought back. They called him their “gentle giant” and described him as a dog who loved cuddling with the family cat and greeting other pups on walks with an exuberant tail wag. Gary proved looks aren’t everything.

Gary a large white dog with a black nose and scars on his face wearing a purple and white bowtie collar, stands against a grey backdrop with colorful paper flowers.

Gary’s Journey

But, despite Gary’s friendly demeanor, he would have a hard time at our center getting anyone to give him a second look, let alone a second chance. He was too big and too energetic, and of course, the jagged marks on his face didn’t help. 

HSU’s Corporate Giving and Communications Manager, Shannon Egan, closely watched Gary’s journey at our center. “Potential adopters would see how big he was and then notice the wounds on his face and assume the worst,” she shared. “They’d carefully move past his kennel as if they were afraid of him.”

As the weeks went by, Gary rarely had a visitor. At HSU, we know it’s essential to consider one’s lifestyle before adopting so you can choose a pet that will fit in nicely. However, it’s also important to take notice of any indiscretions we may show in the unfair judging of pets based solely on the way they appear. “If potential adopters had taken the time to get to know Gary, they’d have found he is house-trained, knows all kinds of tricks, and is a very good boy!” Shannon explained. 

Gary a large white dog with a black nose and scars on his face sits in the grass looking up at the camera smiling.

Gary Becomes a Staff and Volunteer Favorite

After nearly a month at our shelter, Gary’s wounds turned to scars, and he passed the time by interacting with other dogs in playgroups and going on walks with our staff and volunteers. Our team fell in love with him and promoted him on social media to better his chances of finding a home. Finally, on July 28th, a potential adopter named Cade stopped by to visit him. Before the visit, Cade had taken the time to research Gary’s breed so he knew what it would entail to give him the best possible life. That day, Cade and Gary spent quality time in our outdoor play yard, and then they went home together. 

Gary’s journey reminds us of the common misconception that shelter animals are surrendered due to behavioral issues, illnesses, or for being high maintenance. But like Gary, so many homeless pets end up in shelters for no fault of their own. People surrender their pets for various reasons: they’re experiencing financial issues, the passing of a loved one, or they’re blending into a new family, and pets don’t get along with each other. 

Shannon explained, “Most pets who come to us have a proven track record of being great companions, just like Gary. We advise potential adopters to keep an open mind and heart when meeting all animals in shelters. These pets have lost their families and homes and are now in a stressful new environment. Go easy on them. Give them the patience and understanding they deserve.” 

Howl-O-Ween Pet Safety Tips

A black kitten sits in front of pumpkins placed on an orange backdrop.

As spooky season approaches, it’s easy to get carried away with all the tricks and treats, but pet owners should remember that Halloween can be a stressful time for their furry friends. Follow these pet safety tips to keep your familiars, hellhounds, and riff-raff secure and delighted during this festive time of year.

Know which holiday treats are safe for your pet and which are not:

Keep pets away from anything containing chocolate or xylitol (sometimes called “birch sugar”), which is a popular ingredient in sugar-free candy. Don’t allow children to store their Halloween candy stash in their room, as pets have very strong noses and can likely find even the most carefully hidden treats. Keep candy up high and stored securely out of paws reach.

Loud noises and spooky animatronics can be scary for pets:

Don’t put up decorations that put your pets at unease in locations where they will routinely come across them. A piece of decor which makes loud noises or moves unexpectedly and jarringly could cause pets to panic and hurt themselves or others. Also, avoid taking pets to areas where these types of decorations are present, such as local Halloween displays.

A scary looking skeleton ghost dangles from a front porch with cobwebs around it.

Don’t leave pets outdoors and unattended on Halloween night:

With all the hustle and bustle that is typical on Halloween night, it is dangerous to leave pets out in the yard without supervision. Aside from this being a stressful commotion for animals overall, sometimes the “trick” part of Halloween gets out of hand, and pets are frightened, injured, or worse by overzealous trick-or-treaters.

Similarly, it’s a good idea to have a safe space set up indoors where your pet is away from the revolving door of trick-or-treaters. This can help stop pets from becoming overstimulated and from running out of the open front door.

A little girl in a blue princess costume reaches out to pet a large golden colored dog in a yard with halloween decorations.

Make sure pets have microchips and ID tags:

Should your pet be startled, they may react by running away from whatever startled them. In case of an escape, make sure all your animals have microchips and ID tags with up-to-date and accurate information. An often looked-over pet safety tip, this is an easy one to help reunite you with your pet should they get lost.

Keep pets away from jack-o-lanterns, candles, and glow sticks:

Pets can potentially burn themselves on candles used to light jack-o-lanterns and other decorations, or they could tip them over and cause a fire. Glow sticks, though typically non-toxic, have a bitter taste which may cause a negative reaction by any pets who decide to chomp on them.

A small black dog with a snaggle tooth sits next to a jack o lantern wearing a halloween sweater.

Know your pet before deciding to put them into a costume:

While some pets don’t mind dressing up for Halloween, for many, it can be an experience that causes undue stress and even injury. “Pets should never be in a situation where they are uncomfortable or fearful as that can create a situation where the pet has to protect themselves by growling or biting,” said Anjela Sullenger, HSU’s behavior and training manager. Don’t force your pet into a costume if they seem uncomfortable or nervous. There are plenty of other ways for them to celebrate the holiday!

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