Dog Problems in High Places

Living in elevated states like Utah and Colorado can bring about certain problems that could affect your dog. While these problems can range from mildly bothersome to dangerous if left untreated, they can be addressed with minimal effort.

More Bathroom Breaks
Elevation will hasten certain bodily functions. Your dog will need to pee twice as often, so you better get ready to take him out more often. Professional dog training in Utah can be helpful, but don't expect your dog to use the toilet. Dogs can be trained to alert you when they need to go out or even to use mats or pads that act similar to a cat's litter box. Get your dog to drink on command. Too much peeing can leave your dog dehydrated and dogs can't usually tell if they need more water. Always leave a clean bowl of water out and replace it once during breakfast and once again during dinner. If you notice that your dog has a dry nose and pale gums, your dog can be suffering from dehydration. Get him to drink water and take him to the vet if you deem the situation calls for it.

The Unfriendly Sun
Dogs can get sunburned, especially in high places. The concentrations of ultraviolet (UV) radiation get higher for every 1,000 feet of elevation by as much as 7 percent. Salt Lake City's 4,000 feet of elevation amounts to an additional 28 percent more UV, and Denver's 5,000 feet of elevation amounts to an extra 35 percent. Although dogs have fur to protect them from direct radiation, certain parts of their body (nose, ears, and belly) are still unprotected. Sunburns in dogs can be exceptionally painful and can lead to fevers in extreme cases. Dry, cracked skin and curling around the ears accompanied by constant scratching and whimpering are sure signs of sunburn. Stick to the shade and build a roof over your patio, not only are you protecting your dog and making him more comfortable; you're also protecting yourself from harmful UV rays. Try not to shave your dog's fur during the summer (or anytime) and apply specially-formulated sunscreen on your dog if you're taking him outside for an extended period.

Thinner Air
Certain dog breeds can have trouble adjusting to the thinner air at higher elevations. Flat-faced dog breeds like Pugs, Bulldogs, Boxers, Shih Tzus, and Boston Terriers can experience breathing problems in high places. Pulmonary edema - which has seen a spike because of high-sodium diets - can also make it difficult for your dog to adjust. Dogs that are susceptible to heart disease like Dobermans, Poodles, and Great Danes also have a higher risk of developing heart problems earlier due to the thinner air. Older dogs that have lived in high elevation all their lives might not show significant problems. However, adopting an older dog from a lower elevation might not be a good idea.

Dogs in high places have their problems. You need to make the necessary adjustments to keep your loyal companions safe and healthy.

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