Dog parks are a great way to socialize your dog and to burn off some of that doggie energy, helping to avoid behavioral problems like chewing, digging, and barking. But, as much fun as your local dog park might be for you and your dog, you need to be sure to take some precautions according to the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA).
The CVMA has these tips for keeping your pet safe when visiting dog parks:
- Keep your dog’s vaccinations current. Other dogs may not be up-to-date on vaccinations, and your dog could be exposed to diseases.
- Socialize your dog − to other dogs and people − before going to dog parks.
- Keep an eye on your dog to prevent it from getting into fights.
- Small dogs should go to dog parks that have separate areas for smaller breeds. Untrained larger dogs may perceive them as prey or engage in rough play.
- Bring water for your dog to drink. Water stations at the park have been used by other dogs and wildlife and may be a source of disease.
- Clean your dog’s paws when you leave the park to minimize the risk of parasites or diseases from the soil.
- Have your veterinarian check your dog regularly for parasites.
- Talk to your veterinarian about any precautions you should take with your dog.
- Follow the dog park rules. They generally include licensing requirements, leash laws and a minimum-age requirement for children.
- Remember, you are personally and legally responsible for your dog.