With weather warming up and the sun shining longer, it is natural to want to be outside with your pets. More of us want to take our dogs to a dog park to enjoy the fresh air and exercise. However, if you are unfamiliar with dog parks, there are a few things you should know so you and your pet maintain proper dog park etiquette.
Stay Up-to-Date on Vaccinations
Make sure your dogs are all up-to-date on their vaccinations. While many dog parks require proof that the dog has their current vaccinations, some are not monitored as closely. Because of this, there may be dogs visiting the dog park that aren’t as up on all their vaccinations. If your dog interacts with another dog that isn’t up-to-date, he or she may be at risk for contracting an illness.
Be Aware of Size
Even if you have a smaller dog that is comfortable around larger dogs, size still matters and should be something you are aware of. If your dog park does not have a separate area for smaller dogs, make sure to keep your dog close to you and don’t allow any wrestling among your dog and larger breeds. Although they may not mean harm, a larger breed can hurt a smaller dog during play time unintentionally.
Keep Pets Hydrated
Yes, most dog parks do offer some source of water for the dogs playing in their area. However, with these community drinking locations you can run the risk of spreading illnesses between dogs. This is why it is safest to bring your own collapsible dog bowl with you. If they have a source of water available, simply fill up your bowl. However, if no clean unused water is available I also recommend you bring your own jug of water with you.
Don’t Forget to Clean Up
OK, so none of us necessarily enjoy this step, but it is one of the biggest gripes we hear from dog park attendees. If your dog uses the restroom in the dog park, it is your responsibility to clean up any solid pieces your pet leaves behind. Many dog parks will have bags and waste bins available, but you should keep a few baggies with you in case none are available.
If you stick with us and follow these simple rules, you and your pet will have a safe and healthy time at the dog park. There are numerous dog parks in the area for you to try out including one right at our animal center at 1661 Nicholas Road in Dayton. Make it an adventure with your pet. Try out the different parks and have some fun as we all welcome in the warmer spring air!
Do you have a question for Brian? E-mail him at AskBrian@hsdayton.org. Brian Weltge is the President and CEO of the Humane Society of Greater Dayton. The Humane Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to building loving relationships between people and pets. Founded 113 years ago, it is the largest and most established no-kill animal welfare agency in the area. It focuses on pet adoptions, eliminating pet overpopulation, providing education and ensuring the humane treatment of animals. For more information about the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, call 937- 268-PETS (7387) or visit www.hsdayton.org.