Living Elevated with Man’s Best Friend

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woman and her dog playing on the grass

Certain conditions in Utah can pose slight problems for your trusted companion. The elevation, air quality, and constant earthquakes are some of the things that your dog needs to get used to, and you need to do your part to make sure that he does.

A Whole Lot of Shaking Going on

Earthquakes are a normal part of living in Utah. Between February 13 and 25, University of Utah Seismographic Stations recorded 139 earthquakes. Dogs are quite sensitive to quakes and might require some professional training to ensure their safety during such occurrences.

Professional dog training enables your pet to respond to basic commands and instills discipline. You will be in a better position to control your dog, keep him calm, and respond to whatever situation you might encounter. Make sure to leave your contact details on your dog’s collar or consider installing a microchip; this allows clinics or animal shelters to scan or read your information if ever you lose contact with your dog.

When preparing for emergencies, include your dog in your planning. Most shelters will not have room for your pets, so make a list of pet-friendly locations that you can use in times of emergency.

Problems at the Top

sleeping dogBecause of the high altitude, your dog will need to relieve himself more often. Training your dog to pee only at certain areas or preferably down a drain somewhere can be quite convenient. Make sure to provide your dog with plenty of fluids as the frequent urination can lead to dehydration.

Most dogs will not consciously drink water, so try to feed yours with moist food to ensure that he’s getting enough fluids. Dog litter boxes are growing in popularity, so you can give them a go if you want your dog to be a little more sanitary.

Another problem with living elevated is the higher concentration of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV concentration increases by as much as 7 percent for every 1,000 feet. Salt Lake City is exposed to 28 percent more UV, and Park City gets 49 percent greater concentrations.

While there is little chance for your dogs to develop skin cancer, chronic exposure to UV radiation can still damage their eyes. Cataracts can develop earlier and your dog can have trouble seeing clearly. You can limit your dog’s time outside, or you can have him wear doggy shades when you take him out for a walk.

Adjusting to Elevated Living

Your dog might develop problems if he’s not used to high altitudes. Dogs can develop altitude sickness and might need a short period of adjustment to get used to living high up in Utah. Your dog will tire easily and lose his appetite for a few weeks or so before he can adjust. When choosing a dog for your home, breeds prone to heart disease and breathing issues might not be the best choice as these breeds can have problems adjusting to high altitudes.

Utah is a great place to have a dog. There are plenty of places to explore, nature is everywhere, and fleas are nowhere to be seen.