Top 4 Dog Park Safety Advice for Pet Parents to Enjoy the Outdoors with Confidence
When visiting an off-leash play area with your dog, use our advice to keep them safe because the dog park can be dangerous for those who are unprepared.
#1: Protect your dog against infectious diseases
Reputable dog parks require proof of vaccination before granting access, so your dog will need—at a minimum—to be current on their rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and bordetella vaccinations. Canine influenza, parainfluenza, and leptospirosis vaccinations also may be required or recommended, so ensure your pup is up to date before heading to the park.
#2: Visit during off-times
After work, when dogs are bursting with energy and anxious to let go of their day’s tension, dog parks are often the most busy. Overexcited dogs are less likely to adhere to canine manners, which can lead to bullying and fights. To avoid having to worry about a group of dogs chasing after them while they chase a ball, choose an off-peak period to let your dog exercise.
#3: Double up on identification
Although it’s unlikely your dog will slip out of the double gate at the entrance to the park, accidents can happen. Ensure a happy reunion with your furry friend by outfitting them with several identification forms, including collar ID tags, a collar embroidered with your phone number, and a microchip.
#4: Watch for warning signals
Keep a close eye out for inappropriate actions or indications that your dog is uneasy since dog parks are not the appropriate setting for socialization lessons. Your dog may display signs of stress, worry, or fear as:
- Running away
- Tucked tail
- Excessive drooling
- Panting disproportionate to activity
- Trembling or shaking
- Cowering or exposing their abdomen
- Clingy behavior
- Lip licking
- Whale eye
- Raised hair
- Reactivity or aggression (e.g., barking, growling, nipping)
At the first hint of unease from your dog, leave the dog park before things escalate.
Not all dogs are appropriate for off-leash dog parks. Many dogs would to interact with people one-on-one or go exploring on their own than in a big pack of boisterous dogs. Regardless of the socializing style your dog chooses, make sure they receive routine preventive care to keep them free from parasites and infectious diseases. Call our staff to make an appointment for your dog’s yearly wellness examination.