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Dig the Dog Park? 5 Tips to Play it Safe

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Dog Park Safety Tips

As most dog owners can attest — sometimes a walk around the block just won’t cut it. That’s why it’s important to find new ways for your pup to get the exercise he craves. For example, dog parks are not only enjoyable for you and your dog, but the activity supports your dog’s health and well-being. What’s more, it’s a way to exert excess energy, which if left unchecked can lead to behaviors like hyperactivity, barking, digging and chasing.

However, while the dog park is a great place for dogs to let loose and have a wagging good time, there are some cautions and dangers you should be aware of.

1. Heatstroke

Dogs have so much fun romping with other playful pups that sometimes they don’t know when to call it quits. Your furry friend doesn’t have many sweat glands and can’t cool off as quickly as a human might, so it’s important to monitor your pet for excessive panting, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate and other startling symptoms. Take measures to prevent overheating, for example:

  • Have plenty of water available.

  • Provide access to shade.

  • After playtime give your pup a bath to refresh, relax and cool off.

2. Fleas and Ticks

The last thing you want is to bring home unwanted critters from the dog park. These pesky insects can be transferred from wild animals to the area in which your pet is playing. These microscopic buggers can cause itching, allergies, or skin disease. Try these tips to proactively protect your pet:

  • Use a natural plant-based cleansing shampoo.

  • Examine your pet thoroughly after leaving the dog park using a comb and brush.

  • Talk to your vet about preventative topical or oral treatments.

  • Keep your dog away from heavily wooded areas or tall grass.

3. Bad Behavior

Dogs are silly when they play, but when it looks like more than fun and games, it probably is. Common sense will lead you on what’s appropriate behavior, but you should be worried when a dog raises its hair on its back, growls or curls its lips, pins back its ears, or begins to fight with others. Follow these tips for harmless playtime:

  • Pay close attention to your dog’s behaviors and the behavior of those around him.

  • If a fight breaks out, do not physically intervene because you may get bit. Instead, keep an air horn or loud device with you to distract the dogs.

  • Keep food and toys out of the picture.

4. Things Can Get Messy

Grass stains, flying dirt, airborne saliva… things can get messy when dogs are having a ball at the park, so cleaning your pet before letting him back in your car or home is always a good idea. It’s easy with these tips:

  • A large pin brush can swiftly remove any leaves, grass, or even nasty burrs.

  • When things can get muddy, refresh wipes make it easy to clean paws and more.

  • If you can smell your pup from a few feet away, try a no-rinse shampoo or an odor neutralizer and say goodbye to the smell.

5. Spread of Infections or Disease

Dog parks are a breeding ground for bacteria that can lead to some serious conditions. Try these tips to minimize your dog’s risk of getting sick:

  • Don’t share toys or a water bowl with other dogs.

  • Use refresh wipes on your dog’s feet after play to reduce the risk of intestinal parasites.

  • Prevent contact between your dog and wild animals.

  • Most importantly, take your dog to regular vet visits and get up-to-date vaccinations.

  • Exercise, playtime and social interaction are all benefits of taking your pup to the dog park. Being knowing of the dangers and exercising caution will make yours and your dog’s experience a great one.

For more tips on how to be a great dog parent, visit the Expert Advice section of our website.

Visit our Pet Grooming resources for additional information and products for grooming, clipping, trimming, and bathing your pet.

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