Dog parks provide a lot of benefits to big dogs, but they require a careful owner to make sure that the dog park is a positive experience. While they offer the opportunity to run, play and interact with other dogs there are lots of potential risks too. The California Veterinary Medical Association has 9 tips to share to keep your big dog safe and happy at the dog park.
1. Make sure your dog is current on its vaccinations. You can’t assume that all dogs at the dog park are up to date on their vaccinations, so keeping your dog vaccinated will protect him from diseases that other dogs might carry.
2. Socialize your dog. He needs to be comfortable around other dogs and people before you set foot (or paw) in a dog park. Too many fights break out because dogs are not socialized – an unsocialized dog in a high-energy environment like this has higher anxiety and a shorter fuse.
3. Watch your dog. By keeping an eye on Fido, you can see warning signs and stop fights before they happen.
4. Bring your own water and dog bowl. Many dog parks do not have water available; those that do have bowls that are shared by hundreds of dogs. This makes it a happy place for germs to grow and spread.
5. Clean your dog’s paws before leaving the park. Parasites and diseases can spread from the soil to your dog through its paws, so clean them off before you take those bugs home with you. Or use dog boots that stay on to keep the paws from getting contaminated in the first place.
6. Have your dog checked for parasites regularly. If the dog park is a regular stop for you and your big dog, let your vet know. The vet can do checks for parasites during your normal visits.
7. Ask your vet questions about the dog park. Knowing your dog’s history, your vet can give you suggestions specific to your big dog on how to keep him safe.
8. Follow the rules. Dog parks usually have rules posted for the safety of everyone, ranging from allowances of intact dogs (no females in heat, for example) to minimum age requirements for children. Read More: How Long Are Dogs In Heat?
9. Take responsibility. You are responsible and legally liable for your big dog, so make sure you’re doing all you can to make it a positive experience for everyone.
By taking the right precautions and ensuring your dog’s safety, the dog park can be fun for you and your dog.
Do you take your dog to the dog park? What tips can you share about how to make it an enjoyable experience for both owners and dogs? Tell us on the PawPosse.com Facebook page!
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Photo credit: Dru Bloomfield - At Home in Scottsdale