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Ensuring Safety and Fun: 4 Crucial Tips for Pet Owners at the Dog Park

When entering an off-leash play area with your beloved canine, it’s important to be prepared and prioritize their safety. Follow our expert tips to keep your dog safe in the dog park.

#1: Safeguard your dog against infectious diseases

Reputable dog parks require proof of vaccination before granting access. At the very least, your dog should be up to date on their rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and bordetella vaccinations. Additional vaccinations, such as canine influenza, parainfluenza, and leptospirosis, may also be recommended or required. Ensure your furry companion is fully protected before visiting the park.

#2: Choose the right time for your park visit

Dog parks tend to be busiest after the workday ends, with enthusiastic dogs eager to release their pent-up energy. However, crowded parks can lead to a lack of proper canine etiquette, potentially resulting in bullying or fights. Opt for off-peak times to allow your dog to exercise without the worry of being pursued by a pack of other dogs while chasing a ball.

#3: Double up on identification for your dog

While it’s unlikely for your dog to slip out of the double gate at the park entrance, accidents can happen. Ensure a swift reunion by equipping your furry friend with multiple forms of identification, including collar ID tags, a collar embroidered with your phone number, and a microchip.

#4: Stay alert for warning signs

Dog parks are not ideal places for teaching socialization skills, so it’s crucial to closely observe your dog for any inappropriate behaviors or signs of discomfort. Stress, anxiety, and fear may manifest in various ways, such as running away, a tucked tail, freezing, excessive drooling, disproportionate panting, trembling or shaking, cowering or exposing their abdomen, clingy behavior, lip licking, whale eye, raised hair, or reactivity/aggression (e.g., barking, growling, nipping). If you notice any signs of unease from your dog, it’s best to leave the dog park before the situation escalates.

Off-leash dog parks may not suit every dog. Some dogs prefer one-on-one socialization or exploring independently rather than being part of a large group of energetic canines. Regardless of your dog’s socialization preferences, ensure they receive regular preventive care to protect them from infectious diseases and parasites. Contact our team to schedule your dog’s annual wellness visit and stay up to date on their health.