Finding The Right Fit: Bernie’s Story

Sometimes, adding a new dog to the family is a matter of finding the right fit. Jess and Justin already had one dog, and Jess desperately wanted to welcome a second into their home. Justin was a little more hesitant. “I was resistant to the idea because I worried that because of my disability, I would have a hard time taking care of a second dog,” Justin recounts. However, when Jess shared a photo and bio of Bernard from the Humane Society of Utah, Justin was taken with his cute, squishy face. He knew he had to at least meet Bernard. Perhaps this dog could be the perfect fit for their family! As Justin and Jess remember, “We were the first ones there that morning, so we could make sure we didn’t miss our chance to take care of him.”

Bernie a brindle bulldog mix gets an eye exam at HSU.

A Dog’s Road to Recovery:

Bernard arrived at the Humane Society of Utah (HSU), facing numerous health challenges. He suffered from a severe eye infection, limited mobility, difficulty breathing, and a painful skin condition. But beneath it all, Bernard had a heart of gold and a happy, goofy personality. Staff members quickly noticed that Bernard loved being around people more than anything else. Even during times of discomfort, Bernard was happy to have someone visit his kennel. 

This is the first thing that Justin and Jess noticed about Bernard when they visited him in the spring of 2023. It was clear that Bernard had been through his share of challenges. His eye infection was so severe that emergency surgery had been performed to remove the affected eye. When Justin and Jess first saw Bernard, he was in a cone and still exhausted from his recent procedure. But they also saw Bernard’s personality shine through. “When they brought him into the room with us, he just lit up and wanted all the love and attention we could give him,” Jess remembers. Justin and Jess agreed that day to foster Bernard and help him on his road to recovery. When they brought Bernard home, they knew he was there to stay. As Jess describes, “It became clear very quickly that there was no way we could give him up! He fit right into our home and hearts like a missing piece we didn’t know was gone.”

Bernie the brindle bulldog mix sleeps on a couch in his adoptive home.

The Perfect Dog for This Family:

Bernard spent a few weeks in foster care with Justin and Jess. He needed daily medical treatment as he recovered from surgery and got his skin infection under control. During this time, Bernard fit right in with the whole family. He instantly connected with their kids and their other dog. Bernard’s medical history and slow-moving style might have been a turn-off to other pet guardians. But he was the right dog for Justin and Jess, who wanted a mellow companion to add to their family. When Bernard finally recovered and was healthy enough for adoption, it was no surprise to HSU staff that Justin and Jess decided to adopt him permanently. These days, Bernard (who has been renamed Bernie) can usually be found snuggled up on the couch with his people or napping with his new dog sibling. Now that Justin has a constant companion in Bernie, he is so glad he took a chance and decided to visit the Humane Society of Utah. He explains, “What I didn’t realize until he came home to us is that my wife was right, I needed him just as much as he needed us.” So, if you are still deciding whether to add a new pet to your household, remember to keep an open mind. The perfect fit might be out there for you! And there are plenty of animals like Bernie, who just need the right person to take a chance. We couldn’t put it any better than Jess, who says, “You’ll know when you meet the one for you.”

Bernie the brindle bulldog mix cuddles with his adoptive family in his new home.

Keeping Your Furry Friends Safe This Thanksgiving

A large black and tan dog lays in the yard with fall leaves on the ground.

Thanksgiving is a time for family, gratitude, and delicious meals. As we gather to celebrate, it’s important to remember our furry family members and ensure their safety during this festive season. The abundance of food and guests can pose unique risks to our pets, but we can ensure they have a safe and enjoyable holiday with a few precautions.

1. Mindful Meal Planning: The Thanksgiving feast is a highlight, but not all ingredients are pet-friendly. Onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, chocolate, and xylitol (found in sugar-free treats) are among the many foods that can be harmful to pets. Be cautious about leaving plates or trash accessible to your curious companions.

2. Pet-Safe Space: With a bustling household, it’s easy for pets to feel overwhelmed. Create a quiet, comfortable space for them away from the commotion. Provide familiar toys or blankets to help them feel secure amidst the festivities.

3. Avoid Table Scraps: Resist the urge to share your meal with your pets, as rich or fatty foods can lead to digestive issues or pancreatitis. Instead, opt for pet-friendly treats to include them in the celebration without compromising their health.

4. Secure Trash Cans: After the meal, please take care of leftovers and packaging promptly and securely. Turkey bones, discarded food scraps, and strings from meat can be enticing but hazardous if ingested. Ensure trash cans are sealed or placed in an area inaccessible to pets.

5. Stress Management: The holiday chaos can stress out pets leading to anxiety or even escape attempts. Consider using calming aids, like pheromone diffusers or calming music, to ease their nerves. Additionally, ensure they have proper identification in case they manage to slip away in the hustle and bustle.

6. Watch the Doors: As guests come and go, there’s a higher chance of doors being left open. Be mindful of your pet’s whereabouts to prevent them from slipping out unnoticed. Consider using baby gates or leashes to manage their access to high-traffic areas.

7. Communicate with Guests: Inform your guests about your pet’s needs and sensitivities. Request that they avoid feeding table scraps or leaving food unattended. Additionally, remind them to be cautious when entering or exiting to prevent accidental escapes.

Thanksgiving is a special occasion where we express gratitude and enjoy the company of our loved ones, including our furry friends. We can ensure our pets have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving by taking a few precautions and staying mindful of their needs. Remember, a little planning can go a long way in ensuring that our pets enjoy the celebration as much as we do!

Wiggling into a Heart and a Home: Ollie’s Story

Ollie, an Australian Shepherd with Microphthalmia in one of his eyes, had found himself back at the Humane Society of Utah once again. He was an energetic fellow, and it seemed that he could be a little bit much for some dog owners to handle. After 22 total days in HSU’s care and two adoptions that didn’t work out, Ollie was more than ready to find his new home.

Meeting the right person

Jessie had just finished her undergraduate degree and was moving into an apartment on her own for the first time. After seeing Ollie’s picture, she immediately drove over to HSU to meet him.

After meeting with an adoptions counselor to talk about Ollie, Jessie discovered that he may not be the easiest dog out there.

“[The adoptions counselor] told me that Ollie had been returned by a previous adoptive family after less than a day. She said he had some behavioral issues, his eyesight was very limited, and one of his eyes may have to be removed. However, I am very stubborn, so all of the warnings just cemented the fact that I wanted to meet him,” Jessie said.

After he was first brought out to meet Jessie, Ollie seemed a bit timid, but as soon as he got outside into a run, his true personality shown through. Various staff members came by to express to Jessie how much they loved Ollie, but it only took a few minutes for her to know that the wild white-eyed Aussie belonged with her.

Ollie the Australian Shepherd sits in the Utah desert with round red rock cliffs behind him.

“I knew that I had to give him a good life and we’d try to work through whatever issues he had,” Jessie said, “He wiggled his way into my heart.”

Jessie pointed out that she struggles with her mental health, and Ollie has been extra special because he helps her through the darker days.

“He brings purpose to my life especially when I’m struggling,” Jessie said. “He doesn’t care if I don’t want to go for a walk, he will persistently annoy me until I get up and go with him, which in kind improves my mental health. I have become so much more active since I got him, and I have learned to enjoy being out in nature.”

Nothing can hold him back

She adds that although his limited eyesight sometimes makes Ollie a bit clumsy, he doesn’t let it slow him down. She describes him as a goofy boy who doesn’t even realize his own goofiness, and is brave even in situations where it may serve him not to be. For example, Ollie doesn’t know how to swim, and Jessie has had to rescue him from running into bodies of water multiple times.

“Ollie has contributed so much in my life, and I am forever grateful I was able to adopt him. I am flying to Colorado to get a portrait tattoo of Ollie on August 31st,” Jessie said. “There were a few behaviors that were really frustrating with Ollie in the beginning, but I gave him consistency and training to show him there was nothing to be afraid of. I also realize that Ollie has situations that he is not comfortable with, just like humans, and we are able to work around and avoid those situations.”

Jessie said she would suggest adopting a pet to anyone considering it. “There will be good and bad times in the beginning, but if you are consistent and patient while you train them, they will become the best pet you could have ever asked for.”

If you are interested in following more of Ollie’s story, he has an Instagram account! See more of this wonderful pup at @olliethewhiteeyeaussie.

Puppy Survival Guide Part 2: Mastering Management

Puppy management: a puppy stands in an exercise pen on a tile floor with dog toys.

Training is essential, but management is key and often overlooked. Trust us when we say it will make raising a puppy easier! Follow these puppy management tips for effective training.

What is management?

Management is setting up and controlling the environment to prevent undesirable behaviors, for example, picking up shoes so your new puppy doesn’t chew them. We don’t expect infants or toddlers to stay out of trouble or danger, so why should we with puppies? When it comes to children, we are all well-versed in environmental management, such as baby gates and cabinet locks. We can easily apply these same practices with our puppies.

Why management is so crucial for puppies?

The more chances a dog or puppy has to practice or rehearse a behavior, the more likely they will repeat that behavior in the future. By preventing our puppies from chewing on shoes by keeping shoes put away out of reach, they are less likely to make a habit out of it. 

Second, it helps keep our puppies safe. Just like a tiny human slowly crawling around, grabbing things with their hands, and trying to explore the world, puppies will do the same… only at top speeds and with lots of sharp teeth! A puppy only takes a few seconds to grab an electric cord and chew through it. 

Lastly, it gives you peace of mind and a moment to relax. Raising puppies is a lot of work and can be stressful. Putting them in a safe, managed environment for a little while will allow some normalcy back into your life.

Our favorite management tools for raising puppies!

  • A puppy zone: Just like a playpen for babies, an exercise pen or contained puppy-proof zone offers a place for a puppy to stretch their legs and play. It will keep furniture safe from puppy mouths, especially during teething. It also gives them a space to hang out while you’re home that doesn’t require your undivided attention—allowing puppies to learn that they don’t need your attention 24/7 and to entertain themselves while you are nearby. A puppy zone should include a comfy area to sleep, puppy-safe toys or chews, and access to water. Ideal places to set up the puppy zone are higher-traffic areas in your home. Exposing the puppy to the sights, sounds, and regular going ons in the household. A kitchen or living room are great options for setting up a puppy zone. ​As shown above, you can protect your floors and simplify cleanup by purchasing affordable remnant sheet vinyl flooring from your local hardware store for your puppy zone.
  • Crate: A crate is a suitable sleeping place for puppies but not a suitable place for them to spend eight hours while you’re at work. You can even set up a crate in a puppy zone and leave the door open. Puppies will often put themselves to sleep in the crate if given the option! 
  • Baby gates: Baby gates are a great option to help contain your puppy and keep them from venturing into rooms they should not.
  • Metal-mounted water bowl: A metal-mounted water bowl is on the side of the kennel or puppy zone so puppies cannot flip the bowl and spill water everywhere. 
  • Pee pads: Puppies potty a lot, especially in the first 4-5 months. Pee pad training makes cleaning up after puppies much easier.

By taking these steps, you can help your puppy learn good behaviors! Using management to prevent unwanted puppy behavior will make life easier with your new furry friend. 

Stay tuned for the next installment of our Puppy Survival Guide series, where we’ll explore meeting the needs of puppies. Remember, puppies’ natural curiosity and love of play can lead to destructive behaviors if unsupervised.

Uniting Hearts and Paws: HSU Joins Clear the Shelter

With summer in full swing, an event on the horizon brings together the forces of love, care, and companionship—Clear the Shelters. This annual nationwide pet adoption and donation campaign, presented by NBCUniversal Local, is returning for its ninth consecutive year from August 1 to 31.

A Month of Joy and Compassion: Clear the Shelters

Clear the Shelters isn’t just an event—it’s a movement, a heartfelt initiative that resonates with pet lovers, animal advocates, and communities across the United States and Puerto Rico. NBC and Telemundo-owned and affiliated stations partner with local animal shelters and rescue services to ignite a change for animals in need. Together, they amplify the message of pet adoption, creating awareness and raising funds for animal welfare.

August 26: Clear the Shelter in Utah

Mark your calendars for August 26, from 10 am to 7 pm. The Pet Resource Center in Murray will be buzzing with excitement as HSU invites you to join the movement.

You’ll have the chance to meet animals of all shapes and sizes, each with a unique story waiting to be shared.​ Adoption fees will be waived for all cats, kittens, and bunnies. Various dogs will have “name your own price” adoption fees. When you Adopt from the Humane Society​ of Utah, you’ll help create space in the shelter for other animals in need.​ You know you’re getting an animal who has been properly assessed and cared for. Your pet has been microchipped, spayed/neutered, and vaccinated. ​Plus, ​H​SU offers training advice and educational information to support pet families for the life of their newly adopted pets.

Whether you’re an experienced pet owner or taking your first step into pet ownership, you’ll find guidance, support, and a wealth of resources to help you make the right choice at the Humane Society of Utah! 

Puppy Survival Guide – Part 1: The Importance of Sleep

Tan puppy sleeps on white blanket.

Bringing a new puppy into your home is an exciting experience but comes with its fair share of challenges. Proper sleep is one of the most vital aspects of ensuring your puppy’s well-being and development. In this first part of our Puppy Survival Guide series, we’ll dive into why sleep is essential and how you can create a comfortable sleep environment for your new puppy.

The Sleep Needs of a Puppy

Like human babies, puppies require a significant amount of sleep to grow, learn, and stay healthy. Sleep is a vital part of their physical and cognitive development. While the exact amount of sleep varies depending on your pup’s breed, size, and age, the general recommendations are:

  • 8-week-old puppies sleep anywhere from 18 to 20 hours a day.
  • 12-16 week old puppies require 12-16 hours of sleep daily.
  • 6-month-old puppies start to sleep about the same amount as adult dogs, 10-14 hours a day. However, their brains are still growing. When you have house guests or return from an outing with your puppy, they may need a longer nap to recover.

During sleep, your puppy’s body undergoes crucial processes such as tissue repair, growth, and memory consolidation. It’s not just about getting shut-eye— it’s about giving your puppy’s body the time it needs to thrive. Puppies are like sponges, soaking up new experiences and learning from their environment. However,  many people misjudge the amount of sleep their puppy needs, making it harder for themselves and their new puppy.

Benefits of a well-rested puppy

  • Sleep helps consolidate new memories and experiences, improving cognitive development. 
  • Like humans, dogs can experience mood swings and irritability when tired. Ensuring your pup gets enough sleep can help maintain a balanced and happy disposition. 
  • A well-rested puppy is more receptive to training. When your pup is alert and focused, teaching them basic cues, house training, and proper behavior is easier.

Creating a Comfortable Sleep Environment For Your Puppy

Creating a comfortable and safe sleep environment is essential to provide your puppy with the best sleep possible. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Designate a quiet area. Choose a peaceful spot in your home where your puppy can sleep without disruptions. This will help them relax and sleep soundly.
  • Choose the right bed. Invest in a comfortable and appropriate-sized bed for your pup. Whether it’s a plush bed, a crate with soft bedding, or a cozy corner, ensure your puppy has a designated sleeping space.
  • Temperature control. Puppies are sensitive to temperature changes. Make sure the sleeping area is warm enough. However, some puppies may prefer a cool floor over a warm bed, depending on their breed type.
  • Establish a routine. Puppies thrive on routines. Establish a consistent bedtime routine with a short walk, playtime, and quiet moments to help your puppy transition into sleep mode.
  • Limit distractions. Keep the sleeping area free from loud noises, bright lights, and other distractions that might prevent your pup from sleeping well.
  • Be patient. Like any new routine, your puppy might need time to adjust to their sleep schedule. Be patient and understanding as they adapt to their new environment.

Stay tuned for the next installment of our Puppy Survival Guide series, where we’ll explore the art of management. And don’t forget, a well-rested puppy is a happy puppy!

Big Love, Big Hearts: Six Reasons to Adopt a Big Dog

big tan dog Billie Bean poses in studio against white backdrop.

Welcoming a furry friend into your home is a decision that comes with both joy and responsibility. While some may be drawn to small, adorable pups, cuddly cats, or other tiny creatures, there’s something truly special about adopting a big dog from the Humane Society of Utah. These gentle giants have the capacity for love and loyalty that can enrich your life in ways you might never have imagined. If you’re considering adopting a canine companion, here are six compelling reasons why you should consider bringing a big dog into your heart and home.

  1. A Lifetime of Companionship: When you adopt a big dog, you’re embarking on a journey of friendship that’s likely to span a decade or more. Their larger size means there is more to love! 
  2. Boundless Love and Affection: Big dogs are known for their enormous hearts and affectionate nature. Some thrive on physical contact, from gentle headrests to cozy cuddles on the couch. Your big dog will gladly become your constant companion, showering you with love and affection that will brighten even the darkest days.
  3. Ultimate Adventure Partners: A big dog could be your ultimate adventure buddy if you’re an outdoor enthusiast. Their size and strength make them perfect companions for hiking, jogging, and exploring the great outdoors. A big dog’s enthusiasm for new experiences can encourage you to lead a more active and fulfilling lifestyle.
  1. Large Breed Dogs Need Homes More Than Ever: 2023 has been a challenging year for large breed dogs in animal shelters nationwide. They are being surrendered more than any other animal at HSU, and other shelters are also witnessing that trend. More large breed dogs are also showing up as strays and waiting longer to get adopted than in years past.
  2. Emotional Support and Stress Relief: Research has shown that spending time with dogs can positively impact mental health. With their often gentle demeanor and inherent ability to provide comfort, big dogs can be excellent sources of emotional support. Their presence alone can help reduce stress and anxiety, making them invaluable allies in your pursuit of overall well-being!
  3. Making a Difference in a Big Dog’s Life: By adopting a big dog from the Humane Society of Utah, you’re not only changing their life but also your own. Big dogs are often overlooked in shelters, and giving one a loving home means you’re opening up space for more animals in need. Your decision to adopt a big dog is a compassionate choice that will make a big difference for one special dog.

As you consider bringing a new furry friend into your life, remember that big dogs have big hearts and even bigger capacities for enriching your life in ways you may have never imagined. So, take that step, open your heart, and experience the joy of adopting a big dog – a decision you’ll cherish for years to come. Visit UtahHumame.org/Adopt to view our big dogs currently available for adoption.

Kayaking or SUP with your dog in Utah

Women sits in kayak with red dog in a blue Utah lake with mountains in background.

You’ve seen the epic Instagram photos of a dog looking majestic at the front of a paddleboard on a gorgeous green reservoir with our unique Utah scenery in the background. If you’re thinking about trying this with your dog, read on! 

Don’t just bring your dog kayaking or Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) for their first time and hope for the best. If your dog has a bad first experience, it won’t be fun for anyone, and they may make up their minds that it wasn’t safe and never want to join you on the lake again. You can set them up for success ahead of time to increase the chances of a positive outing. There are also many important safety considerations to make sure everyone has a great day on the water. Don’t learn the hard way!

Don’t Force It

Some dogs may not enjoy this hobby. Hanging out on the water should be peaceful, but dogs who bark when they see other dogs or people will likely still do this on the water, and areas where people unload their boats and enter the water can be high-traffic with chaos that could be overwhelming. If your dog is uncomfortable with strangers or other dogs, you can try to avoid busier times or find lower-traffic areas to get in the water. Keep in mind that most of our reservoirs in Utah are increasingly popular when it’s hot out.

As TLC points out in their hit song, “Waterfalls” from the ’90s, you may want to “stick to the rivers and lakes that you’re used to” if your pup will be joining you. Avoid visiting a different body of water with your dog for the first time if you’re not going with someone who already knows the “lay of the land.”

Some dogs just really don’t like being wet or are afraid of water, but there are plenty of other fun activities you can do with your dog on land.

Black lab practices sitting in kayak on dry land.

Water Dangers

In Utah, it’s really important to check current conditions for deadly blue-green algae before you visit a reservoir or lake. Dogs are at higher risk than people because they tend to ingest the water, but harmful Algal Blooms also make it unsafe for people to recreate on affected waterways.

If your dog were to swallow a LOT of water (when fetching a toy repeatedly, for example), they could throw off their electrolyte balance and suffer from water intoxication. This isn’t common, but it’s something to be aware of because it does require veterinary attention. Make sure your dog takes breaks.

Practice on Land

If it’s your dog’s first time, start with your kayak or paddleboard in the yard on dry land and a bag of small, soft training treats. 

  • Reward your dog for standing, sitting, and laying down on the vessel while keeping as still as possible. 
  • Practice sitting in the boat with them and pretend to paddle while a helper feeds the dog treats. (Some dogs think grabbing the paddle with their mouth is fun, so watch out for that). 
  • Watch your dog for signs of stress, but if they’re still having a great time, you can gently let the kayak move side to side and keep those treats coming. Slowly increase the movement of the kayak. 
  • Move the kayak to different areas and have multiple sessions until the dog thinks the kayak is a pretty cool place to be.
Red heeler rides stand up paddle board (SUP) in Utah reservoir.

Focus

If you want your dog to sit, stay, or lay down on the kayak, you have to first practice those skills at home without any distractions, then in the yard, then slowly increase distractions.


Keep in mind that even if you know how to do something, it’s hard to focus on it when you’re super excited, scared, or distracted. So give your dog a break if they have a hard time while on the water the first time.

Practice on water

Once they are comfortable in the kayak on dry land, load them up and go to a body of water, ideally on a calm/quiet day. 

  • Practice getting in the kayak, then having them settle in the kayak. Have a helper, “fake paddling,” on the edge of the water. 
  • If they’re still comfortable, remain in the kayak with them and have a helper gently push the kayak out into the water. The helper will steady the kayak. Feed your dog treats while this happens. 
  • If the dog is still calm and settled, then you can do a test paddle in the kayak. 
  • If they are still calm and settled, move out further into the water with your helper still holding onto the kayak. 
  • If still calm, push out a little further, and watch the dog for signs of stress
  • If still calm, do a few paddles. Feed more treats. 
  • Keep this first session on the water short and sweet!

Lifejacket Practice

You should also start getting your dog used to their lifejacket at home before you even leave the house. If your dog is used to wearing a harness, they might be fine with the lifejacket, but it is bulkier than a harness. Show them the lifejacket and give them a treat immediately afterward. Practice having your pup wear the life jacket for really short periods with treats. Slowly work up to longer time intervals. Lots of treats will help your dog associate the new safety vest with Very Good Things!

Be Prepared

  • Cut and file your dog’s nails before visiting the lake, especially if you are renting a flotation device or if you have an inflatable watercraft. Having long nails can also make it harder for them to have a good grip on the surface of a hard plastic kayak. It’s also important to make sure you don’t get scratched if your dog panics or falls in. 
  • It’s always important to have dogs microchipped and ensure they wear a collar with updated ID tags in case you get separated.
  • The plan is always that the watercraft will stay upright, but especially if you have a large dog, make sure you’re prepared to fall in or tip over. Don’t bring any items you’d be devastated to lose.

Essential Supplies

Lifejackets

Make sure you have a well-fitting life jacket for your dog and yourself. In Utah, you are required to have a coastguard-approved lifejacket for each person on your vessel, and this includes kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. DNR has patrol boats, and they will ticket you if you don’t have one. On rivers, you must be physically wearing your life jacket. 

Your dog may be a great swimmer but may become fatigued or disoriented, so just don’t risk it.

Some dog lifejackets have a clip for a leash, and some less expensive ones do not. You don’t want to “reel” your dog in by his neck while he’s trying to swim, so attaching the leash to a collar isn’t as ideal as a clip on the securely fitted lifejacket. We also recommend your dog have a lifejacket with a handle on the back in case you need to lift your dog back onto the boat. 

Poop Bags

Additionally, you should bring poop bags and a sealed container like an empty plastic jar or smell-proof pet waste pack-out pouch so that you’re not contaminating the water when your dog inevitably poops. It’s also the law to pick up after your dog and pack out any waste. Plus, rain brings all that poo into the water we’re splashing around in. Remember that reservoirs also store most of our drinking water!

Also… the excitement or the stress can affect your dog’s bowels, so be sure to give them a potty break before hitting the water. If they get restless while you’re paddling, they may need to go back to shore for another potty break.

Treats

Bring a waterproof treat pouch with high-value soft treats to make sure you’re more exciting than any ducks, fish, or other dogs/people floating by and to reward the behavior you want to see more of. Always Bring Treats! You can go above and beyond by bringing a stuffed kong or a bully stick to help your dog settle. 

Sunscreen and probably a sun hat that can get wet. Some dogs are also susceptible to sunburn, so be mindful of that when the hot Utah sun is burning down, and there’s no shade to be found. You may need to avoid the middle of the day. 

Plenty of clean, fresh water for you and your dog– Stay hydrated and avoid a trip to the vet to treat your dog’s upset tummy afterward due to potential giardia in the water.

Respect Wildlife

That leads us to the final tip. Keep your distance from wildlife and keep your dog on a leash so they can’t chase. Wild animals expend a lot of energy running, swimming, or flying away and might not be able to find enough food to replenish those energy stores when they need it. Also, stress can kill even if your dog doesn’t catch them. There’s a fatal condition that can affect wild animals called “capture myopathy,” which is caused by intense exertion or stress. 

Additional supplies

Mat for your dog – If you’re using a hard plastic kayak or SUP, you may want to cut up an old yoga mat to place it in the area where your dog will be standing. The slick surface can be stressful for dogs, so having a grippy mat will make them more comfortable and secure. If your dog is mat-trained, it can be helpful to bring that, provided you don’t mind it getting soggy.

Dry bag for your phone that goes around your neck that you keep tucked into your lifejacket. If you do use a drybag, it’s a good idea to have a float attached so that it won’t fall to the bottom of the lake if you tip. If you want to be extra safe, just leave the phone in the car. Or bring an old phone for taking photos and leave your expensive new phone in the car. 

Sunglasses or eyeglasses retainer so your cool shades don’t sink to the bottom of the lake. 

Float for your car keys, which will also drop to the bottom of a lake before you have time to react. Or seal them in a zippered pocket on your life jacket or shorts. 

Water shoes or secure sandals other than flip-flops – Flip-flops float away. 

Backseat Cover and Towels – Be ready for a soggy doggy!

We hope these tips and pack lists make a splash on your next adventure with your dog on Utah’s reservoirs. But remember, you don’t have to bring your dog if they won’t realistically enjoy this. It’s okay to just enjoy nature with your two-legged friends/family if bringing a dog will make it hard to relax.

Kayaking or SUP with your Dog-Pack List

  • Lifejackets for everyone!
  • Leash 
  • Collar with tags
  • Poop Bags
  • Sunscreen, Sunhat
  • Treats and Treat Pouch
  • Water Bottle and Water Dish
  • Grippy Mat for your dog
  • Dry bags
  • Sunglasses retainers
  • Floats
  • Water shoes
  • Backseat Cover and Towels 

Don’t forget to check water quality conditions before you go.

Dive into Safety: Water Safety Tips for Your Canine Companion

Black tricolor dogs jumps through a stream with water splashing around them. Human stands in distant background surrounded by trees.

Water activities can be a great source of fun and exercise for dogs, but it’s important to prioritize their safety while enjoying these adventures. Recent incidents, like the unfortunate one reported in the news article “6 Dogs Die Following Visit to Wildlife Conservation Training Area in Salt Lake,” highlight the need for dog owners to be vigilant and well-informed about water safety precautions. In this blog post, we will discuss essential tips to ensure the safety of your canine companion during water-related activities.

Assess the Environment:

Before heading out to any water location, it’s crucial to research and assess the environment. Understand potential hazards, such as strong currents, toxic algae blooms, or wildlife, that may threaten your dog’s safety. Stay up-to-date with local news and check for any advisories or warnings regarding water conditions.

Supervision is Key:

Always supervise your dog closely when they are near or in the water. Accidents can happen quickly, so ensure you’re keeping a watchful eye on them at all times. Avoid distractions like talking on your phone, and be prepared to react swiftly in an emergency.

Teach Basic Water Skills:

Introduce your dog to water gradually and at a pace they are comfortable with. Teach them basic swimming skills, such as how to enter and exit the water safely and stay afloat. Believe it or not, not all dogs are natural-born swimmers, and certain breed types can’t keep their heads above water. Some dogs may benefit from wearing a properly fitted life jacket for added buoyancy and security, especially those like bulldogs or heavy bully breed types. 

Choose Safe Water Sources:

Select bodies of water that are known to be safe for dogs. Look for designated dog-friendly beaches, swimming areas, or lakes where water quality is regularly tested. Avoid letting your dog swim in unknown or potentially contaminated waters to minimize the risk of waterborne illnesses.

Avoid Dangerous Substances:

Be mindful of potential toxins or harmful substances in the water. Keep your dog away from areas where pesticides, chemicals, or harmful algal blooms are present. If you suspect your dog has ingested something toxic, seek immediate veterinary assistance. If traveling outside of your local area, research the closest veterinarian clinic before you go in case of an emergency. 

Hydration and Breaks:

Just like humans, dogs can become dehydrated while playing in the water. Bring fresh water for your dog to drink and encourage regular breaks for rest and hydration. Avoid extended periods of intense activity to prevent exhaustion or heatstroke.

Golden Retriever plays in outdoor  pool with pink ball in mouth.

Water activities can provide wonderful experiences for dogs and their owners, but safety should always be the top priority. By following these water safety tips and staying informed about potential risks, you can ensure that your furry friend stays safe and enjoys their time in and around water. Let’s make every adventure a memorable and secure one for our beloved canine companions. Looking for your next water dog? Visit utahhumane.org/adopt!

Shelter Mythbusters: Unpacking the Myth of Hypoallergenic Pets

Red doodle dog looks up at camera with open smiling mouth.

Allergies are frustrating for many reasons, but for pet owners, they can be incredibly daunting. Enter the idea of a hypoallergenic pet, and animal lovers rejoice! But do hypoallergenic pets truly exist? According to organizations such as the AKC, VCA Animal Hospitals, and The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the short answer is no.

What are Pet Allergies?

To understand why this is the case, we need to look deeper into what it is about pets we are actually allergic to. The idea of a hypoallergenic dog or cat suggests that dander and pet fur are the primary sources of pet allergies. While dander can potentially spike allergies, saliva, and even urine are often the real culprits. As there are no terrestrial mammals that don’t salivate or urinate, finding a truly hypoallergenic pet can be a challenge.

Blue cat with green eyes sits on a blue blanket looking at camera.

Further complicating matters, allergies vary from person to person and from pet to pet, so it can be hard to pinpoint a dog or cat that will be hypoallergenic in an all-encompassing sense. In addition, Genetics is a fickle science, and you can never know for sure what traits are going to pass to the offspring of any given pet. So, for example, even if a Goldendoodle you met in the past did not trigger allergies for you, that doesn’t mean all Goldendoodles will carry the exact same traits, and you could be allergic to one and not another.

Finding the Right Pet for Your Allergies

But animal lovers with pet allergies don’t despair! Just because hypoallergenic pets aren’t what common belief often suggests doesn’t mean there aren’t pets that affect certain people’s allergies less than others. People who are allergic to cats may not be allergic to bunnies. Again, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula, so our best recommendation is to spend time with the pet you are considering bringing into your home affects you before sealing the deal with adoption. You can also work with your doctor or an allergist to see if there are alternative methods of controlling your pet allergies.

We’d consider the shelter myth of hypoallergenic pets officially busted!