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Ensuring Dog Park Safety – 4 Essential Tips for Keeping Your Canine Companion Safe and Sound

When it comes to visiting the dog park, safety should be a top priority for you and your furry friend. To help you navigate the off-leash play area without any worries, we have compiled four essential tips from Brandon Lakes Animal Hospital to keep your dog safe.

#1: Protect your dog against infectious diseases

At Brandon Lakes Animal Hospital, we understand the importance of protecting your dog from infectious diseases. Reputable dog parks, including ours, require proof of vaccination before granting access. It is essential to ensure that your dog is up to date on their rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and bordetella vaccinations. Additionally, vaccinations for canine influenza, parainfluenza, and leptospirosis may also be required or recommended. Make sure your pup is fully protected before heading to the park.

#2: Visit during off-times

To avoid overcrowding and potential conflicts, it is wise to visit the dog park during off-peak hours. Typically, right after the working day is over, dog parks tend to be overflowing with energetic dogs eager to burn off their pent-up energy. However, in such a high-energy environment, dogs may not always follow proper etiquette, leading to bullying or fights. By choosing less crowded times, you can allow your dog to exercise and play without the stress of a large pack of dogs.

#3: Double up on identification

Accidents can happen even in the most secure environments, and the dog park is no exception. While it’s unlikely that your dog will slip out of the double gate at the park’s entrance, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make sure your furry friend is outfitted with multiple forms of identification, such as collar ID tags and a collar embroidered with your phone number. Additionally, consider microchipping your dog for added protection. By doubling up on identification, you increase the chances of a happy reunion in case your dog gets separated from you.

#4: Watch for warning signals

Dog parks are not the ideal place to teach socialization skills, and it’s crucial to be attentive to your dog’s behavior. Pay close attention to any signs that your dog may be uncomfortable or displaying inappropriate behavior. Stress, anxiety, and fear can manifest in various ways, including running away, a tucked tail, freezing, excessive drooling, disproportionate panting, trembling, shaking, cowering, clingy behavior, lip licking, whale eye, raised hair, reactivity, or aggression (such as barking, growling, or nipping). If you notice any of these signs or if your dog seems uneasy, it’s best to leave the park before the situation escalates.

Remember, off-leash dog parks are not suitable for every dog. Some dogs prefer one-on-one socialization or exploring on their own rather than being in a large pack of energetic canines. Regardless of your dog’s preferences, it is crucial to ensure they remain protected from infectious diseases and parasites through regular preventive care. Give our team at Brandon Lakes Animal Hospital a call to schedule your dog’s annual wellness visit and keep them up to date on vaccinations and overall health.

Stay safe and enjoy your time at the dog park with your furry companion!