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.


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


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.


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!

$5,000 Reward Offered for South Jordan Bird Shootings

Woman's hands holding a piece of white paper that says reward on it.

Contact: Guinn Shuster

Email: [email protected]

Cell: 801-638-4685


News Release

$5,000 Reward Offered for South Jordan Bird Shootings

Salt Lake City, Utah, May  20, 2023 — The Humane Society of Utah (HSU) is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the shooting of waterfowl in the Daybreak neighborhood of South Jordan, Utah. HSU hopes the reward assists the South Jordan Police Department in obtaining information required to identify and charge whoever is responsible for this allegedly intentional act of animal cruelty.

“Shooting animals and leaving them to suffer in pain is cruel,” said Guinnevere Shuster, HSU Director of Marketing and Communications. “Most birds are protected by law, and injuring them is a federal crime. If you commit a wildlife violation, you could lose the privilege of hunting and fishing in Utah. In addition, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources can suspend the license of anyone who knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly violates wildlife laws.”

Anyone with information about the Daybreak neighborhood incidents can contact the South Jordan Police at (801) 254-4708.


About the Humane Society of Utah

The Humane Society of Utah is dedicated to the elimination of pain, fear, and suffering in all animals. Since 1960, the Humane Society of Utah has been sheltering homeless animals, fighting cruelty and neglect, and creating an atmosphere of respect, responsibility, and compassion for all animals. As the largest private nonprofit animal resource center in the state, the Humane Society Society welcomes any companion animal that can legally be admitted. We work hard to ensure that every healthy and treatable pet that enters the facility will be placed into a loving home. The Humane Society of Utah is a local, independent 501(c)(3) private nonprofit organization that does not receive any state or government funding and is not a branch of any national organization. It is funded by the contributions of individuals, businesses, and foundations. Read more online at www.utahhumane.org.

4242 South 300 West Murray, UT 84107 / 801-261-2919 / UtahHumane.org / @utahhumane

Humane Society of Utah Opens Additional Room of Dog Kennels Due to Overcrowding

dog kennels

Contact: Guinn Shuster

Email: [email protected]

Cell: 801-638-4685


News Release

Humane Society of Utah Opens Additional Room of Dog Kennels Due to Overcrowding

Murray, Utah, May 12, 2023 — The Humane Society of Utah (HSU) has announced opening an extra room of dog kennels due to the high number of large and medium-sized dogs available for adoption. This room was previously reserved for dogs not yet ready for adoption and has been closed to the public for five years. The extra space will house dogs available for adoption this weekend.

According to Guinnevere Shuster, spokesperson for the Humane Society of Utah, adoptions have slowed recently, but the number of dogs being surrendered daily has not decreased. As a result, the Humane Society has been forced to find new ways to accommodate the growing number of dogs in their care.

All adoptable dogs from HSU come spayed/neutered, microchipped, vaccinated, and dewormed. Adopters also receive follow-up support. Adoption fees range from name your own price for senior dogs to $350 for puppies. HSU’s Adoption Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 4242 South 300 West in Murray. Available animals are viewable online at utahhumane.org/adopt.

Those unable to commit to adoption can still make an impact by temporarily opening their home to a foster dog. Food, supplies, and medical treatment are provided free of cost to fosters through our foster program. For more information on fostering, visit utahhumane.org/foster.

Suggested Tweet: Overflowing with adoptable dogs. @utahhumane opens an extra room of dog kennels to showcase more adoptable dogs this weekend. 

Photos/b-roll for media use are available here.


About the Humane Society of Utah

The Humane Society of Utah is dedicated to the elimination of pain, fear, and suffering in all animals. Since 1960, the Humane Humane Society of Utah has been sheltering homeless animals, fighting cruelty and neglect, and creating an atmosphere of respect, responsibility, and compassion for all animals. As the largest private nonprofit animal resource center in the state, the Humane Society Society welcomes any companion animal that can legally be admitted. We work hard to ensure that every healthy and treatable pet that enters the facility will be placed into a loving home. The Humane Society of Utah is a local, independent 501(c)(3) private nonprofit organization that does not receive any state or government funding and is not a branch of any national organization. It is funded by the contributions of individuals, businesses, and foundations. Read more online at www.utahhumane.org.

4242 South 300 West Murray, UT 84107 / 801-261-2919 / UtahHumane.org / @utahhumane

You found stray kittens? Now what?

Small white and brown stray kitten sits in grassy field meowing.

Ahhh, kitten season. It’s that magical time of year when the weather gets warmer, and suddenly, an influx of kittens are born into the world. As kitten season picks up speed, so do phone calls to local animal shelters from concerned citizens wondering what they should do with stray kittens they have found. 

What to do if you find warm, clean, stray kittens:

Our answer may surprise you, but most of the time, the answer is to leave stray kittens where you find them. We know this advice can be difficult to heed after so many years of hearing that you should bring stray kittens to the shelter. Still, data from organizations such as Ally Cat Allies  and the ASPCA shows that kittens have a much better chance of survival if left where their mother cat can care for them. Even kittens that appear to be unattended likely have a mother cat looking out for them who will be distressed should they go missing.

Tiny gray and white kitten is held in a human hand.

Here’s a trick to make sure that mom is coming back to look after her litter: take some flour and spread a circle around the kittens, then leave. If a few hours later, there are paw prints in the flour. You can rest assured that a mother cat is keeping an eye on her kittens.

What to do if you find cold, malnourished, or sickly stray kittens:

There are a few cases in which leaving stray kittens where they are may not be the best course of action. If the kittens appear malnourished, sickly, and/or overly dirty, and you have not seen a mother cat return within a few hours of finding the kittens, there are a couple of things you can do.

Tiny white and tabby stray kitten gets bottle fed milk by shelter staff.
  • Foster: If you feel equipped to care for and bottle-feed the kittens until they are old enough to be spayed or neutered, fostering the kittens may be a good option. Contact our Foster Department for information and resources.
  • Contact Your Local Animal Services: Your local animal services will be able to help you determine the next best steps for the kittens. They may have you bring them to their shelter, or they may come and pick them up.

What about Trap Neuter Return?

Another way you can help your local community cats and reduce the number of homeless cats in your area is to see if your local shelter or rescue has a TNR (trap-neuter-return) program. These programs involve humanely trapping stray cats, bringing them into a shelter to be spayed or neutered, and returning them to the area in which they were found. Kittens can participate in TNR programs as young as 8 weeks of age so long as they weigh at least 2 lbs.

Outdoor mom cat sits on rock surrounded by her litter of kittens.

Our TNR program is called CATNIP. For more information on CATNIP, humane trap rental, and more, visit the TNR Page on our website.

An Injured Cat Steals Our Veterinarian’s Heart

An injured cat, Mango, arrived at the Humane Society of Utah’s St. George Clinic with a gaping and infected face wound. A local rescue, One More Chance, had brought him to our clinic through our Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program. TNR involves fixing, vaccinating, and ear-tipping feral and stray cats, then returning them to their territory. TNR is a humane way to control the community cat population and stop the spread of fatal viruses, such as rabies and distemper.

An injured cat gets the help he needs

After assessing his injury, our veterinarian, Dr. Gray, realized the wound could not be sutured- it was too infected. So, she cleaned and debrided the injury in hopes of helping it contract down and heal together naturally. During Mango’s examination, Dr. Gray also noticed he had necrotic, or dead tissue, surrounding an old wound on his right front paw. The most likely cause was that Mango previously had something wrapped around his paw that restricted his blood flow for a considerable time.

As Dr. Gray carefully removed the dead tissue, she realized three of the toes were completely dead, and she’d only be able to save two of Mango’s five toes. Dr. Gray cleaned and debrided the injury, leaving only fresh, healthy tissue so the rest of his paw could heal. Dr. Gray shared, “As soon as we became aware of Mango’s disability, we knew he couldn’t be released to live as a feral cat. It wouldn’t be safe for him. So, we called Kris Neil, owner of One More Chance, to ensure Mango would have a safe place to live after his surgery. Kris said that Mango could live with her until she could find a good home for him, which relieved me greatly.”

Because Mango’s right front paw was now permanently in the unmistakable “hang loose” sign, the ultimate symbol of Aloha in Hawaii serving as a reminder not to worry or rush, HSU’s St. George staff lovingly nicknamed him “Shaka.”  Since Mango proved unusually chill for a feral cat, even coming off as sweet and friendly, his new nickname suited him perfectly.

Mango was so friendly that our St. George team found it hard to believe that he grew up as a feral cat. Upon further research, our team discovered that Mango most likely lived in a home with two other cats until his owner died a year ago. The other two cats were caught and rehomed, but the third cat remained missing ever since.

After Dr. Gray cared for Mango’s wounds and completed his neuter, vaccinations, ear tipping, and an umbilical hernia repair, she sent Mango home to recover with Kris. But as the weeks passed, Dr. Gray realized that she missed him. She felt a special bond with Mango and found herself considering adopting him. Dr. Gray explained, “The issue was I’d just had a baby and didn’t think it was an ideal time for me to bring home a new cat.”

Still, she worried about Mango and occasionally reached out to Kris to ensure he was happy and healthy. “Kris shared with me that Mango had taken on the role of “cat nanny” at her rescue as he was cuddling and caring for the other cats, especially the kittens. Mango is so sweet; it sounded exactly like something he’d do.”

A few weeks later, Mango visited Dr. Gray for a check-up to ensure his paw and face were healing nicely. Dr. Gray was excited to see her darling Shaka. She’d missed him fiercely. During their reunion, Dr. Gray realized she was madly in love with this hang loose disabled cat with the scarred-up face. He’d stolen her heart, and after learning that he still hadn’t found a permanent home, Dr. Gray decided to adopt him. She knew Mango would happily take on the role of ‘cat nanny’ to her newborn baby.

Months after adopting him, Dr. Gray shared, “Mango is such a sweet addition to our family. He’s healed, living a cozy life of luxury, and surrounded by so much love. Our dogs adore him, too, and they happily make room for Mango on their bed. I’m so happy he came to our clinic that day. I love knowing he’s safe now at home with us.”

A “Hoppy” Holiday: Easter Pet Safety Tips

Black and white dog lays on grass wearing bunny ears and is surrounded by colorful eggs in the grass.

Peter Cottontail hops down the bunny trail with many treats! However, while some parts of the Easter celebration are safe for our pets to partake in, others are not. Follow these Easter pet safety tips to ensure a “Hoppy” holiday!

  1. Easter Treats

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 Easter baskets in their room. 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.

  1. Easter Foliage

Easter lilies and tulips may be beautiful, but are often deadly for cats. Be sure to keep these popular flowers out of your bouquets if feline friends could come across them. Safer alternatives include roses, gerber daisies, and sunflowers.

  1. Easter Decor

Plastic Easter grass causes several vet visits every year as ingesting it can cause blockages and intestinal damage. If your pet does ingest Easter grass, refrain from pulling strings out of their backside. String can become twisted around your pet’s insides and pulling it out can cause further damage. Please visit your emergency veterinarian instead.

  1. Egg Hunts

If you’re hiding eggs, be sure to note how many eggs you’ve hidden and where they are. Both plastic and real Easter eggs can cause issues for pets if eaten or broken. Keep pets clear of the egg hunt area until everything has been thoroughly cleaned up.

  1. Easter Dinner

Sharing a plate with your pet? It’s important to know what foods are not pet-safe, such as onions, avocados, olives, garlic, grapes, cooked bones, uncooked dough, and alcohol.

Humane Society of Utah Alerts Public of a Possible Parasite Outbreak

Two women examine a black and tan dog.


News Release

Humane Society of Utah Alerts Public of a Possible Parasite Outbreak

Murray, Utah, March  29, 2023 — Humane Society of Utah officials are alerting the public of a possible parasite outbreak after several dogs were surrendered from different homes with confirmed cases of Giardia. Giardiasis is a common parasitic infection that can cause diarrhea in dogs. It is caused by an intestinal parasite called Giardia, found in feces-contaminated soil, food, and water. HSU officials believe the cases are tied to people who visit busy off-leash dog parks and hiking areas. 

“As the snow melts, much of the pet waste which was hidden by the snow can now expose dogs to Giardia,” says Dr. Timna Fischbein, DVM, medical director at Humane Society of Utah. “The cysts are trophozoites protected by an outer shell and shed in the dog’s stool. Cysts can survive in the surrounding environment for months. They are instantly infectious, and just a few ingested cysts can cause infection. A dog can easily get infected by grooming themselves and licking the cysts off their paws.”

While this parasite can be spread in several ways, water is the most common way to spread the parasite. Therefore, HSU officials advise avoiding high-traffic areas such as dog parks and foothill trails while muddy and wet.


  • Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, excess foul-smelling gas, decreased appetite, and weight loss.
  • Seek veterinary care if your pet has diarrhea that is not going away. Diarrhea has different causes and could result in dehydration or other serious problems.
  • A licensed veterinarian must make a diagnosis and treatment for Giardia infection.
  • No approved over-the-counter treatment is available for Giardia infection.
  • Clean and disinfect potentially contaminated items (for example, toys, water bowls and food bowls, pet bedding, floors, dog crates, linens, and towels) regularly for as long as your pet is sick.
  • If your pet is taking medication, clean and disinfect potentially contaminated items frequently (daily if possible) until a few days after the last dose of medication is given.
  • Bathe all household pets with pet shampoo following medical treatment to ensure no feces are in the pet’s coat.


About the Humane Society of Utah

The Humane Society of Utah is dedicated to the elimination of pain, fear, and suffering in all animals. Since 1960, the Utah Humane Society has been sheltering homeless animals, fighting cruelty and neglect, and creating an atmosphere of respect, responsibility, and compassion for all animals. As the largest open-admission private animal resource center in the state, the Utah Humane Society welcomes any companion animal that can legally be admitted. We work hard to ensure that every healthy and treatable pet that enters the facility will be placed into a loving home. The Humane Society of Utah is a local, independent 501(c)(3) private nonprofit organization that does not receive any state or government funding and is not a branch of any national organization. It is funded by the contributions of individuals, businesses, and foundations. Read more online at www.utahhumane.org.

4242 South 300 West Murray, UT 84107 / 801-261-2919 / UtahHumane.org / @utahhumane 

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.