Ah, it's summertime, a chance for dog owners to enjoy the great outdoors with their dogs. Although I have always enjoyed going to dog parks with my dogs, I've recently read some cautionary tales I thought I would share with you.
According to Dr. Susan Nelson, a clinical associate professor at Kansas State University's Veterinary Health Center, you need to be aware that dog parks can be a breeding ground for germs, bacteria and parasites found not only in the soil but the air as well. She suggests making sure your dog is properly vaccinated before venturing to a dog park. Additionally, if there is a large number of dogs socializing, kennel cough can be another hazard.
Dog parks can indeed be a cesspool of disease if dog owners bring dogs with fleas, ticks or dogs that are not vaccinated.
Here's some tips from Bark Busters top keep your dog healthier:
- Always bring your own source of water - never let your dog drink out of a communal water bowl where bacteria could be present that contributes to giardia.
- Never let your dog out of your sight. Don't think of a dog park as a canine babysitter. You never know when the pack mentality can kick in, causing your dog to end up on the receiving end of a dog fight. Small dogs can be at a distinct disadvantage of there are too many big dogs around. Dog owners still need to watch and understand their dog and his body language so that they can head off any altercations that may be brewing.
- Always pick up after your dog. Bring extra plastic bags for the waste.
- Follow the dog park rules. Some parks have segregated places for small versus large dogs. Other parks may only allow spayed or neutered dogs.
- Go to the dog park off-hours when there is not so many dogs around.
Although dog parks can be great fun for your dog, there can be risks involved. Any time you have a group
of dogs together there is a risk of injury. By keeping a close watch on your dog, you can interrupt anything
you don't like before it becomes a problem. The main thing is you want your dog to have a safe experience.
Additionally, not all dogs are dog park dogs. No worries, there are plenty of other outdoor activities you and your dog can do together.