Top 10 Ways to be Safer at the Dog Park

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Many of you already know my stance on public dog parks – I don’t use them, and I would encourage you to really research the subject and determine if they are a risk you are willing to take.

Some great links to aid in your research:

     Since I know my dreams of a dog-park free world are fought with both tooth and nail, I’ve decided to provide you with some ways that dog parks can be made a little more safe for you and your pet: 

Top 10 ways to be safer at the Dog Park 

By: Pawsitive Attention Pet Services 

1.     Be prepared to leave – this cannot be stressed enough. If you see an unruly dog or an obviously irresponsible owner, it’s time to call it a day. While your first instinct may be to stand your ground, it is not worth the risk to stick around a place that may get very dangerous very quickly. It should go without saying, but you should also never let your dog out of your sight at the dog park – be vigilant and supervise, supervise, supervise – it is the only way you will know if you need to make a quick getaway!

 2.      Spay or neuter your pet – unaltered animals really do not have a place at the dog park. With all the hormones coursing through them, telling them that they must be alpha in order to get a mate, unaltered animals are very likely to start fights at the dog park. Please leave your intact animals home, and if you see intact pets at the park, refer to rule #1.

 3.     Do not bring toys to the park – toys can often be a source of fighting in multiple pet homes. The same situation rears it’s head at the dog park. If another dog wants to play with your dog’s toy, a fight could break out, resulting in serious injury and costly vet bills.

 4.     Know how to safely break up a dog fight – The worst time to learn how to break up a fight is during one. A great article on how to break up dog fights can be found here:…

 5.     Make sure your pet is up to date with all vaccines – The more dogs that your dog comes in contact with, the greater the chance of disease exposure. Limit your pet’s chances of contracting potentially fatal diseases by making sure his/her vaccines are up to date. We love the mobile vaccine clinic offered by VIP Pet Care:

 6.     Visit the park on a schedule – get to know the dogs and their owners that frequent the park. If your dog gets along with dogs that are there at a particular time, then chat up the owner and arrange to visit at that same time on your next visit. This helps foster a sense of community, which increases safety. Community also fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility to the park, which will help you to spot and avoid irresponsible owners and problem dogs.

 7.     Have your pet regularly screened for parasites – vaccines are not enough. You pet can also pick up worms, fleas, and ticks from playing with other dogs. This blog post was recently featured on sacpaws:

 8.     Do not bring young children to the park – while most dogs at the park are people friendly, even people friendly dogs can hurt humans. Excitable or big dogs can easily knock over a small child or frighten a baby. Also consider that not all dogs are accustomed to being around children and may not be so friendly. There are many more kid-friendly parks than there are dog parks, so consider letting the dogs enjoy what has been set aside just for them and leave the children at home.

 9.     Do not bring dog aggressive dogs to the park – it is erroneous to think that the way to make a dog aggressive dog be dog friendly is to let him run loose with other dogs. Doing so will produce the exact opposite effect. It is possible to manage a dog that is aggressive to other dogs, and one of those management techniques is to not take him or her to the dog park.

 10. Keep small dogs with small dogs and big dogs with big dogs – many dog parks offer designated “small dog” areas. Even though your Chihuahua may act like it’s a Great Dane, she may not survive playing with one for very long. Use the small dog park for your small breed dog and she’ll be around to impress you with her courage for many more years to come. 

  “Pets thrive with Pawsitive Attention” 

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