As Summer is almost in full swing, you might be planning on taking your dog to the dog park. A dog park is a safe place for your dog to socialize and get some exercise, and let's face it, dogs love the great outdoors!
Before you take your pup to the dog park, make sure you follow these tips to make your trips the most enjoyable–and safest—way possible.
Pick the right dog park for you and your dog
Not all dog parks are the same. The first thing you need to find out is if the dog park requires your dog to be on a leash or if they can be off-leash. There are several things to ask yourself when checking out a dog park… Is there space for my dog to play and run? Is there shade or seating? Is there a separate area for small and large dogs? Is it clean? Are the owners of other dogs being responsible? Are there dog-friendly water fountains? Are there poop bag dispensers? There are plenty more questions you can ask yourself before you go to a dog park, but most importantly both you and your dog should feel safe and comfortable3.
Vaccinate your dog
It important to make sure that your dog’s vaccines are up-to-date, so they can prevent exposure to diseases. Verify with your veterinarian that your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. If for any chance your dog bites either another dog or human, this will save yourself from a lot of trouble.
Take Age Appropriate Dogs
It is important to keep puppies four months or younger at home1. The pups need to have all their vaccines finished so they don’t get sick. The young one also need to be mature enough to hang with the big dogs and be able to follow simple commands such as come, sit, and stay. This will help control them in potentially harmful situations.
Bring Necessary Supplies with you
Make sure your dog has a collar with their tags on them with accurate information. A dog that has ID tags (and a microchip) are more likely to be returned if they run off1. Keep your leash handy for safe commutes between your car and the park. The Petmate Walkabout Retractable Leash will allow you to keep your dog closer to you if an emergency arises. If your park does not provide poop bags, make sure to bring some with you. It is your responsibility to clean up after your pet, not the other pet parents.
A dog park—while fun—is not a free for all. You need to be watching your dog at all times. If your dog appears scared, remove them from the situation. If your dog is acting threatening or aggressive, remove them from the situation. The safest option is to leave the park and return another day. Just because your dog doesn’t seem like the kind to attack or they haven’t before, it’s never okay to assume that it can’t happen.
In the hot summer days, your dog will get tired more easily, so they need to be drinking plenty of water. If there are not water-fountains available, the Chuckit! Hydro Bowl is a portable compact travel bowl you can easily fill up and then snap back onto their leash. Though drinking water will help you should be carefully watching for signs of heat exhaustion. The signs include rapid panting, a bright red tongue or gums, drooling thick saliva, dry gums, glassy eyes, disorientation or weakness. If your dog falls, cool it down and take it to the vet as soon as possible3.
When making your trip to the dog park remember these tips to make the best of your experience. The dog park should be a safe, fun, place for your pup to play so keep it that way.
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