Dog parks can be great fun for pups who don’t get to run and play at home or interact with other pets on a regular basis.
Still, it’s important to know the safety protocol when bringing your dog to the dog park. Certain, unsafe practices can easily put your dog at risk.
Top Mistakes Owners Make at the Dog Park
Mistake #1 – Not scoping out the park before allowing your dog to enter
You never know what type of dogs and owners will be at a dog park, so it’s best to take a few minutes before heading in to assess the other visitors and make your best decision on whether to proceed inside.
If you see a dog acting especially aggressive or an owner who’s not paying attention to their unruly pet, it may be a good idea to wait until they leave or skip the park altogether that day. If you’re determined to head in, however, consider keeping your dog leashed until you feel it’s safe to let them go.
Mistake #2 – Bringing food or treats
Food and treats are prohibited at most dog parks — and for good reason: As a possessor of tasty morsels, you’ll inevitably be surrounded by every dog in the vicinity. Therefore, remember that it’s best to leave the goodies at home.
Mistake #3 – Bringing a dog who’s not vaccinated
Most dog parks require proof of up-to-date vaccinations prior to entry. However, this may not be the case at your dog park, or the rule may not be strictly enforced.
Be aware that if your dog is not up-to-date on vaccinations (as well as monthly heartworm and flea/tick preventives), it’s possible another dog with an infectious disease could infect your dog. This can happen simply from coming into contact with a dog who has canine distemper or kennel cough, for example.
Mistake #4 – Not teaching your dog how to “come” beforehand
Although most dog parks aim to provide a fun and safe atmosphere for pups and their parents, it’s not uncommon for fights to break out. Therefore, not only do you need to be able to successfully call for your dog when you’re ready to leave, but you need to have enough authority to call them when they’re in the midst of an interdog tiff or a full-blown brawl as well.
Even with a watchful eye and proper command training, dogs can easily be injured by other dogs at the dog park.
If your dog was recently injured at a dog park, you should arrange to bring him or her into Sunset Veterinary Clinic right away for an examination. Simply give us a call at (405) 844-2888 to see one of our highly-skilled and trained veterinarians as soon as possible.