Every dog loves a trip to the dog park, and it’s a fun way for pet parents to meet up with friends, too. It’s a great way to burn off your dog’s extra energy and let him socialize with other dogs. But, before you load up for an hour at your nearest dog park, be sure to read these dog park safety tips.
Be Cautious with Balls and Other Toys
Dogs can get possessive about toys, especially when there are a lot of other strange dogs around. Be cautious about bringing toys with you to the park, and when in doubt, leave them at home.
Your local dog park is just like a child’s daycare center. What one dog has, everyone else will want. If your dog is going to get upset when another dog runs off with his favorite squeaky toy, save it for at-home play.
Toy sharing can also lead to the spread of germs, like Bordetella, or worse yet fights when one dog decides he wants another’s toy. It may be best to leave the toys at home to avoid any problems.
Pay Attention to Size Differences
Most dogs will have separate play areas for little dogs, and there’s a good reason for it, so take advantage of it. Small dogs can easily get pummeled by a bigger, stronger dog. It doesn’t matter who starts it, the small dog is probably the one who’s going to get hurt.
If there isn’t a separate play area for your little dog, observe the bigger dogs to see if they’re playing rough. If they are, consider waiting until they leave before entering the park. Your little dog could easily get trampled by roughhousing bigger dogs, so be vigilant about watching out for your little buddy.
If you’re expecting an important phone call or you need to answer some emails for work, do it before or after the dog park. You should always be present and paying attention when your dog is interacting with other dogs.
Keep an eye out for signs something’s about to get out of hand, like ears back or growling. Observe your dog, and the other dogs closely so that you can remove your dog from a bad situation before an issue becomes serious.
Be Current on Vaccinations
If your dog isn’t current on his vaccines, going to the dog park is a bad idea. When there are lots of dogs in the same place, the risk of illnesses like kennel cough and dog flu go up tremendously. Your dog should also be on a monthly flea and tick preventative, as well.
Watch Out for Other Hazards
Other dogs aren’t the only dangers at a dog park. Be on the lookout for things like foxtails and burs that can get stuck in your dog’s fur or skin. Watch out for snakes or other critters your dog might try to chase after. Be careful about treats that have been left behind by other dogs, too. And sadly, be aware of people who seem out of place. There are unscrupulous people out there who steal dogs for monetary gain, or worse.
Most importantly, be aware of your surroundings and your dog’s interactions while you’re at the park. What’s the fun of going if you spend the entire time looking at your phone anyway? Enjoy the time with your pup!