Katie Curtis, Veterinary Technician
Taking your pet to the dog park is a terrific way for your pet to socialize while expending excess energy. Here are a few tips to keep everyone safe while at the dog park!
- Always check with the dog park to see if they have any requirements and/or rules before going to the dog park. If you looking for one around Dallas, check out https://www.dallasparks.org/145/Dog-Parks for information.
- Ensure you pet is healthy and ready for socialization: For your first time, consider doing some simple steps to reduce stress. Bring your pet during an off peak time. This will allow them to get comfortable with all the smells, dogs and unfamiliar environment. Consider a doggie day care to see if they like other dogs.
- Keep an eye on your pet: As a pet parent, you are ultimately in charge of your pet. If they are playing, they could step on something and hurt themselves. While some dogs might be ok with 99% of dogs in this world, there might be one that makes them cranky. Catch the signs that something is making your pet anxious. Always remain calm, even if they start to have a dog fight, they will feed from your energy. If intervening in a dog fight, you can be bitten – even by your own pet.
- Not all dogs do well at the dog park, and that is ok! Some get too nervous, some feel too much pressure to protect their owner to enjoy themselves. If your dog would rather just go for a nice run around the lake, play fetch in the backyard or sit on the couch, then do not force them to go to the dog park. You know your pet best!
- Keep your pet up to date on vaccines and preventative medications. One of the most common problems we see from dogs who go to dog parks, is intestinal parasites. If your pet is on a consistent heartworm regimen, they will better protected. If you are worried call your veterinarian. Most are non-life threating, but they can cause some GI upset and it is better to prevent than to play catch up.
- Do not take puppies that have not had all their vaccinations!
- Bring all the necessary supplies. Your pet’s leash, Poop bags (most have these on site, but not all), cell phone with your veterinarian’s number and emergency clinic’s number in case you need it. Check the weather before you head out to the dog park. We see heat stroke cases in the summer from dog parks. Have drinking water on hand. Just a reminder, we usually start to see heat strokes once the weather is over 70 degrees. Dogs do not sweat, so wetting your dog can help to cool them.
Wishes for wagging tails and happy smiles at the dog park!