Utah is a beautiful place to live in: we don’t usually have to deal with heavy snow or too many weather extremes, and we have absolutely breathtaking scenery. However, there are definitely some dangers lurking in those pretty landscapes for pet owners to be aware of. A Springville, UT veterinarian lists some key ones below.
Here in Utah, we have several venomous rattlesnakes, including the Sidewinder, Speckled, Mojave, Western, Hopi, Midget, and Great Basin rattlesnakes. (The Wasatch Front is a definite hot zone for slithering critters.) Fido’s natural curiosity doesn’t exactly help things: dogs often want to investigate nooks and crannies, which are exactly the kinds of places snakes like. Be very careful when taking your canine pal hiking. Keep your pup leashed, and don’t let him nose around potential snake hideouts. If you hike often, ask your vet about vaccinating Fido.
Unfortunately, ticks have spread throughout the continental US. These nasty parasites can spread dangerous diseases to both people and pets. They don’t care for hot, dry weather, so in these parts they tend to be the most active between March and July. Keep up with Fido’s parasite control, and check him over daily.
The Black Widow may be the most dangerous spider in Utah, but she isn’t the only one: we also have the Brown Recluse, Hobo Spider, and Desert Recluse. We also have bark scorpions. Keep your yard free of the kinds of debris that could attract these critters, such as wood piles and fallen branches. We also recommend teaching Fido the Leave It command. Ask your vet for more information.
We have quite a few dangerous plants here, including philodendrons, jimson weed, poison oak and ivy, and stinging nettle. Foxgloves are a particular concern: the issue here isn’t toxicity, but seed awls. These can puncture pets’ skin and work their way inward, causing severe—and potentially life-threatening—infections and damage. The ASPCA has a great reference list for toxic plants here.
You may have seen the recent story about the Odgen family whose beloved husky died protecting them from a cougar. Don’t leave Fido outside unsupervised, and use extra caution when walking him, particularly in areas with trees. You’ll also definitely want to pay attention if your canine companion notices something you can’t see!
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