Summer is in full swing, and it's the perfect opportunity for pet parents to get outside and bond with their four-legged pals. One of the most popular destinations for people with dogs is the dog park. Dog parks have popped up in many communities across the country, and they offer pets as well as their human counterparts the opportunity to stay active and socialize.
While the dog park may seem like it's all fun and games, it's important to remember that you still need to take extra measures to keep your pet safe when you visit.
These are a few dog park safety tips that you should know:
Protect Your Pet Before You Go
One of the most important steps to take before you head to the dog park is to vaccinate your pet. This is especially important for new pet parents who have a young puppy that they want to socialize. Socialization is important, but young puppies can be prone to deadly diseases if they are not properly vaccinated. Work with your veterinarian in order to make sure that your dog is up-to-date on all of its shots. Your veterinarian also can provide you with more information about whether or not your dog is ready to go to the dog park yet.
Master Basic Obedience Commands Prior to Visiting
No matter how old your dog is, it is important to make sure that you have mastered the basic obedience training commands before you head to the dog park. Obedience commands that your dog should abide by include sit, stay, come and down. By making obedience training a priority, you are protecting your own dog as well as the pets of others who are visiting the dog park.
If you are still working on obedience training, remember that rewarding your pet frequently and consistently is one of the most effective ways to train your pet. Make sure that you practice these commands in private at home as well as in public settings with more distractions. This will give you the confidence you need to know that your pet is ready for a trip to the dog park.
Choose a Dog Park That Will be Right for Your Pet
Whether you are new to town or you are hoping to visit the local dog park for the first time, it is important that you take time to visit the dog park by yourself. By visiting on your own and without your dog in tow, you will have an opportunity to survey the landscape and get a feel for the dog park.
If you bring your pet with you for the first time, they will get excited about the new destination and you won't have a chance to properly assess the location. When you take your first visit to inspect the dog park, take note of how clean it is and how it is maintained. Monitor the other pet parents and see how they are taking care of their dogs. If you don't get a good feeling about the dog park, avoid bringing your dog and look for another option..
Overall, trust your gut instinct and only visit dog parks that you feel will be a good fit for your pet's size and personality. As you well know, every dog has his own personality. Personality traits can vary based on the size, breed and upbringing of your dog, and it's important that you find a dog park that will be right for your pet. For instance, if you have a small breed dog, you will want to find a dog park that has a specific area for smaller dogs.
Try to Avoid Bringing Your Dog During Peak Times
Dog parks are pretty popular destinations, but when they are crowded it can be difficult for you and your dog to make the most out of the experience. Heading to the dog park in the early morning hours may be best, as there will be a limited number of dogs there and it will not be too overwhelming for you and your pet. It's particularly important to avoid peak times during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it will be easier to maintain a safe social distance when there are less crowds.
Consider the Weather Before You Go
The dog park will be a more enjoyable outing for your pet if you choose a day with the right weather conditions. While a day that is 88 degrees and sunny may seem like the perfect type of day to be outside with your pet, that actually may be too warm for your dog. Warm and comfortable days with low humidity and plenty of sunshine are perfect for the dog park. Rainy days may not be much fun for you or your pet, but you could certainly give it a try. Definitely avoid the dog park on days with severe weather or extreme heat.
Spend About an Hour at the Dog Park
Most dog parents find that anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes is the perfect amount of time to spend at the dog park. This gives your dog a chance to get some exercise and play without becoming overstimulated or overwhelmed by the circumstances.
The dog park is one of the best places that you can bring your pet, as it allows your dog to stay active, exercise and have fun playing with other friendly pups. When you prioritize safety, both you and your dog are sure to have a pleasant day at the dog park.