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Dog Park Safety Tips

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dog park safety

The past few months, we’ve been visiting dog parks everywhere as we research our next guidebook. While we love dog parks for the fun that they can offer dogs and especially for the great off-leash opportunity for traveling dogs that are tired of riding in the car, we’ve seen some bad practices at many parks. People on the cell phones, oblivious to what’s going on around them. Children in the dog parks. People with food and drink in the dog parks. All dog park safety no-nos.

Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI) recently released a list of the most common claims they see related to dog park injuries including:

  • Sprains and Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Lacerations and Bite Wounds
  • Kennel Cough/Upper Respiratory Infection
  • Insect Bites
  • Head Trauma
  • Hyperthermia or Heat Stroke

Of course, no visit anywhere (even your own backyard!) is 100 percent safe but there are definitely some steps you can take to make your next dog park visit safer. VPI recommends that everyone at the dog park:

  • Obey all posted rules and regulations
  • Pay attention to your dog at all times
  • Don’t bring a puppy younger than four months old
  • Make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations (such as rabies and parvovirus vaccine) and has a valid license
  • Preventive medication will keep your pet from picking up fleas
  • Keep a collar with identification on your dog at all times
  • On very warm days, avoid the dog park during peak temperature hours, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Look for signs of overheating; including profuse and rapid panting, a bright red tongue, thick drooling saliva and lack of coordination. If this occurs, take your dog to a veterinarian immediately

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