Pet Friendly

Dog Park Dangers & How to Avoid Them

dogparkAt first glance, you would think that dog parks are one of the best places for you and your pooch to be. They encourage you and your dog to get fresh air, explore, exercise, and bond with each other. With the blissful image of our four-legged companions playing and horsing around with their tails wagging, it’s hard to think of a flaw when it comes to visiting dog parks.  While it may be true that dog parks are a wonderful place to go to, aren’t always the best place for both you and your dog to stay safe. If you look closely, there are a number of dog park hazards that you need to watch out for to ensure that you both make it home in one piece .

Dog Park Perils to Steer Clear Of

· Ill pooches. Bringing your pooch to the park can expose him to other pets which may not be in great health. Further, plenty of visitors neglect to pick-up after their pets, leaving little piles of germs strewn about. Because there’s no easy way for you to know which other animals are good for your dog to mingle with, protect your dog from possible health risks by updating all of his vaccinations. Deworm your dog on a regular basis and ensure that he receives shots that prevent kennel cough and canine flu. Spaying and neutering your pooch is recommended (sometimes required) before visiting an off-leash park.

· Potential injuries. Some of the typical activities at dog parks are playing fetch and running. Letting your dog run at maximum speed may be great as a form of exercise. However, it can result in mild to severe injuries if he accidentally steps into a hole or on anything sharp. To avoid this, always see to it that you know very well the condition of the area where your pooch is playing. Inspect for holes that other dogs have dug, and check the area for sharp objects that he could hurt himself on.

· Dehydration. In the excitement of all the sights and scents, wide open space to run, and playtime with other dogs, many dogs are simply too preoccupied to stop and take a drink. Make sure your dog always has access to fresh, clean water and that he knows where to find it. Be mindful of his activity level and make sure he takes short water breaks frequently. Watch closely for excessive panting, signs of slowing down or suddenly becoming less animated than usual. It doesn’t need to be hot outside for a dog to become dehydrated.

· Aggressive dogs. Not every dog owner is as thoughtful and responsible as you are. Many people bring their dogs to the park with the attitude that “the dogs will work it out.” If you suspect another dog at the park is aggressive, it may be in your best interest to leave and try again later, after they’re gone. Likewise, if your own dog doesn’t always play well with others, it’s best to bring him when the park is empty. It’s also important to note that many perfectly gentle, friendly dogs can become toy or leash aggressive. It’s best to leave the toys at home, and unleash your dog once inside the park to avoid any unnecessary conflict.

· Small playful children. Although dogs and small kids are commonly a good combination, there are times when children are a hazard at dog parks. A child who runs up to an unfamiliar pooch to play with him can cause the dog to feel rather threatened which often never ends well. Also, a small child’s size can put them at the dog’s muzzle level; making them more vulnerable to injury. To prevent this from happening, always be alert about everything that’s going on around you.

For many of us, and our pets, a trip to the dog park is fun and rewarding. As long as you’re aware of your dog and his surroundings at all times, it can be a great place to wear off some energy and make new friends.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Terri

    Apr 27, 2015 at 4:03 am

    In Seattle there was a man that had two Dobermans trained to attack on command. . He targeted women with medium to small sized dogs. He is in his 30’s, dark ponytail with two Gladiator Dobermans, black and tan. There is an all points bulletin out to pick him up, he is going to jail.

  2. Mark Whelan

    Oct 26, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Melvin Clayton via Facebook: The West Bloomfield,. Michigan dog park has very strict guidelines regarding the issued raised in this article, especially assuring that dogs are up to date on their shots. Dog owners, for the most part watch their dogs in play and pick up their poop. Yes, some owners do not. The West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Dept. does an excellent job in maintaining the park. They are very responsive to calls regarding ground repairs. Regarding dog play, safety and security, it is ultimately the responsibility of each dog owner to monitor their own dog(s). I know I do and when necessary, step in and handle any necessary need. I hope others read this article as well as my comments to assure a safe, healthy experience for all dogs and their owners.

  3. Margaret Mc

    Sep 26, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Dog parks are wonderful and terrible at the same time. All dog parks have their dynamics. They can be a Peyton Place. There are responsible dog owners and then their are owners who just don’t have a clue. For example. There’s a couple who have a huge lab, intact male, and they just don’t understand why their dog who’s “super friendly” keeps getting in fights with other dogs at the park, then there’s the people who walk around on their phones and never pickup their dogs poop, then there are people who insist on bringing “treats” to the park and want to feed all the dogs! The characters are endless! Oh my God it takes all kinds to make the world go round. I go to the park a couple times a week not only for exercise but to see friends and walk and talk and socialize with others and in the meantime, my dog learns to socialize and run about too. It beats walking around the block with my dog on leash!!!

  4. montre guess leopard

    Sep 26, 2014 at 2:04 am

    mais on est toujours “en capital”. et à chaque fois,| | au contraire, mais aussi en ce qui concerne l’octroi montre guess à des montre guess marques de coups.”Oh,En outre, avec son mari à Urumqi, la danse du vent chinois souvent de gagner montre guess des clients de compliments. de la voix.

  5. Karol Elwood

    Jan 21, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    At our local dog park we have several people who bring their dogs and their kids and watch neither. Recently one of the giant breed dogs accidentally knocked over the child while he was playing with another dog. The mother called animal control and the dog owner was threatened with a “dangerous dog” label for her dog. Now Leo is the least aggressive dog I know, just wants to play and very friendly. But that makes little difference when it comes to the law. My recommendation would be for people to be aware of what their local laws are regarding a “dangerous dog” label. Sometimes the risk isn’t worth the benefits. My dane plays very rough and is vocal. Unfortunately this is seen by many as aggressive….guess what….we don’t go to dog parks. Way to much risk to her life, and way to much liability to me. Instead we have hooked up with a group who gets together 5-6 days a week and goes to various places to walk together. This gives her the “pack” activity and mental stimulation, that she needs, all without the risk. I know the people that I walk with, and I know their dogs=low risk to us both!!

  6. ea

    Jan 21, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    at our park which is a city park in the hills there are mountain lions coyotes and rattlesnakes.

  7. Kelly

    Jan 21, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Agree other owners – I take our furbaby an my 12yo to the dog park and many have commented on how awesome it is how she asks if it ok to say hello but the other week a guy came in with a massive dog she goes over and asks is it ok to say hi? His response – if your game! Ahh what the….. Seriously As a parent I am fully aware of the risks associated with child/dog interactions and the tragic consequences that occur and I feel caught in the middle as I am also very aware 9 times outta 10 it usually isn’t the dogs fault it is how it has been brought up, or how it has been treated as much as I am aware and yes I get crucified as a parent for saying this alot of child attacks have been pre empted by the child. So in trying to teach her the right way and have an owner say that well could just imagine the *^%# fight if something went wrong! No wonder I so tired after time at the dog park – constantly watching, supervising, guiding a 12yo with a love of all creatures great an small with no fear and a outgoing 2yo koolie x kelpie that believes every dog is his mate ahhh least I wont get alzehimers or dementia anytime soon with all that brain drain lol

  8. Judy C.

    Apr 2, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    This is a good article. At our dog park, for almost a year, we had a group that came at the same time. Our small dogs got along well and we keep track of clean up. Some got busy, and we aren’t as regular, but many happy times were had by owners and the dogs.
    There have been incidents but thankfully not too often. They usually happened when people were too interested in other things besides
    their own dog’s actions.

  9. Angela

    Apr 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    I’m with Deborah. The biggest problem I have at dog parks is other owners. For me it’s especially owners who are first time owners and know nothing about dog behavior besides their own pup. I’ve run across people who bring in babies in strollers, picnics, and 5lb dogs that they don’t watch carefully enough around the 100lb dogs. All bad ideas if you’ll be interacting with other owners and their pups. Dog parks are such a great place if you can find the right park with the right patrons.

  10. Carolyn

    Apr 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    A dog park is NOT the place for children under 9; a place to begin socialization of your dog; cell phones are for emergencies; you are there to supervise your dog, not to play with your phone, or read.

    You are responsible to pick up after your dog; it is not another person’s responsibility.

    • Pam Bradley

      Jan 21, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      solely agree with Carolyn I always carry dogie poo bags and always pick up after my dog , but there are tens of thousands of humans that don’t bother to pick up after their dogs.I think there should be a hefty fine for humans who don’t clean up after their dogs ,as children could slip and fall in dogie poo it makes me so mad when the owners of dogs look the other way when their dogs do a number 2 .

    • elaine

      Jan 28, 2015 at 12:34 am

      so many not responsible owners in the dog park! Last week there was a lady actually jogging in the dog park/ She has no dog! Then there is the on who brought his 3 year old with his bike. He could not understand why my cattle dog wanted to herd them . And of course no parent was watching them. He told me my dog was too aggressive. Then he covered the dogs head (which was a boxer) so he would not see her. Also the amount of un neutered males is amazing. And every one wants to hump my dog. The response I always get when I ask why it hasn’t been done is “oh it hurts” yeah right.

  11. Deborah Moore

    Dec 17, 2012 at 11:19 am

    All good points. The biggest problem I’ve seen at dog parks is dog owners who come to socialize, read or mess with their smartphone. If you’re not going to watch your dog, make sure he behaves in a mannerly way or if you’re going to bring his favorite toy or treat to the park and try playing with him with those thing while other dogs are around, you are setting yourself and your dog up for trouble.
    And I agree totally, do NOT bring little kids to a dog park. Many children are not taught any respect for dogs and their behavior. So when a small child tries to grab something out of a dog’s mouth, grabs them around the neck for a “hug,” pulls an ear or tail and the dog growls, he’s warning the child to back off. If the child doesn’t respect the growl, the dog can end up biting. This is not a bad dog, it’s the responsibility of the parent for not teaching the child better behavior around animals.

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