Caring for Pets in High Places

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Utah’s great outdoors and friendly residents make it a great place to have pets. However, you have to be aware that certain factors in the state make it a little more inconvenient to care for your pet.

1. Transitioning

Elevation affects everyone — including pets. If you’re bringing in your pet from outside the state or from a lower elevation, it might suffer a little bit of altitude sickness. Put puppy school on hold and let your pets rest in the house for a week or two. Signs of altitude sickness can include weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, and excessive drooling. The signs can be a bit alarming, but your pets will acclimatize pretty soon, so there’s no need to visit a vet.

2. Dehydration Worries

Pets need more water in high altitudes — as much as 50 percent more. Always have a clean water bowl at the ready or purchase a pet water fountain to encourage them to drink more. Try to train your pets to drink; they don’t exactly know how to respond to dehydration (or even know they’re dehydrated) so it’s up to you to make sure they get enough water. Mix in a bit of wet food in their diet or add a bit of water to their kibble.

3. Searching for Vets

pet check-up

Utah ranks at the bottom when it comes to being pet-friendly, and one of the biggest reasons is its lack of veterinarians. Utah has one of the lowest quotients of veterinarians with regards to population, making it essential to get to know the nearest vets because some of them might be a distance away. Pay a couple of vets a quick visit so that you’ll know the driving routes in case of an emergency.

4. Dangerous Wildlife

Unless you’re living in a pretty urban part of Utah, you should always look out for the local wildlife. Keep your pets indoors and have them on a leash when you take them outside. Free-roaming cats not only pose a danger to the local bird population; they’re also at risk from wild animals. Snakes, skunks, and coyotes aren’t the only animals that can threaten your pets, so make sure you keep them safe inside the house. Use known trails when hiking with your pets as there will be fewer surprises. There’s a growing number of bees in Utah, so keep that in mind and try to stay away from these stinging insects.

5. UV Exposure

One problem every Utah resident faces is the higher concentration of UV radiation. UV rays get more concentrated the higher your elevation — as much as 7 percent for every 1,000 feet of elevation. These UV rays can even affect your pets, giving them a bit of sunburn, especially the ones with shorter coats. Schedule your walks when the sun isn’t too intense and walk in the shade as much as possible.

With proper preparation and the right adjustments, you can make sure your pets remain safe and healthy while living the (literal) high life in Utah.

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