Two dogs playing at the park

Dog Park Safety Smarts

Updated October 14, 2016 . AmFam Team

Before you and your pup head to the dog park, brush up on these safety smarts so you and your furry friend are all set for a fun (and safe!) trip.

For many pups, the dog park is a place for friendship, adventure and some off-the-leash freedom. And we want to keep it that way! Use these tips to make sure you and your furry friend can enjoy the dog park together both safely and happily.

Scope it out. Before you bring your pup to the park, take a solo trip and see what the atmosphere is like. If you notice aggressive dogs, inattentive owners or a combination of the two, it’s probably best to look for a different park.

Check the borders. Next, check the fencing. Make sure it’s high enough that your dog can’t jump over it, and that there’s no way for your dog to climb under it. At the same time, be on the lookout for loose boards or wires.

Train your pooch. Dog parks are fun for many dogs, but for some that are less social, they can be stressful. If your dog isn’t fond of interacting with other dogs or humans, the dog park may not be the best place for them.

Drink smart. Picking up waste isn’t the only way to keep your dog healthy in the park. Using the communal water dish can be a source for diseases and parasites — so travel with an extra water bowl.

Stay out of fights. It’s common sense — if your dog does happen to get into a tussle with another dog, do not get in the middle of it. Instead, try throwing water on the dogs or using a stick to separate them.

Thwart illness. Be sure to keep your pup up to date on any vaccines or medication they might need before you take them to the dog park. Also, apply flea and tick control, should your location call for it.

Locate a vet. Lastly, find the park’s nearest veterinarian office, and make sure you know the quickest route to get there. That way, you’ve got peace of mind in case of an emergency.

Now that you’ve got the safety smarts, you and your pup can get out, explore and make new friends at the dog park. We hope it’s a barking good time!

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