Dog parks are one of the most entertaining and fun places to take your dog to (1). All of them are quite unique and have different things to offer, but are dog parks safe for your dog?
In this article, we will try to explain why they are and aren’t since it is a sensitive subject. Here are some of the things you should consider before taking your pet there.
Expect the unexpected
Consider it this way, you may be a good driver, but that doesn’t mean everyone is a good driver. You follow the rules, those written and unwritten, and you are careful and polite.
But accidents still happen, because we can’t expect everyone to be so careful, we just assume they are and then something bad happens. There is also the age factor that plays a role in the unexpected.
This comparison sums up the same case with dog parks. However, if you are aware of this, just like in driving, you have better chances of avoiding accidents. Expect the unexpected and be prepared for it.
Are dog parks safe for your dog?
To clarify the age factor, people of almost every age go with their dogs to the dog park. Some are very young and they may not fully grasp their pet’s animalistic nature and if the pet is not well trained, well something can go wrong.
The same can be applied to elderly people, in the sense that they might not be in any shape or form, able to keep their pet in check and thus accidents can happen and it may be up to you, for example, to break off a fight between two dogs.
The young or old person may not be able to help you very much, but there are always other people nearby who might be able to assist you. These parks usually rely only on the owner’s supervision, the dogs play amongst themselves while they are off-leash.
As such, it all comes down to one or more people’s sense of responsibility to make the controlled environment safe for their pets. There are also people who take multiple dogs to these parks and it is simply a hard task to keep track of all of them, and trying to control them.
Thus fights can occur when one owner isn’t careful/watching their pet. There is also an invisible threat to dog parks. You can’t have any guarantee that the other pets are healthy or don’t have parasites on them that might contaminate your own dog.
Dog park’s safety
But this, again, is all attributed to an owner’s responsibility and not the park itself. The invisible threat may be present anywhere and it shouldn’t scare you. A dog park’s safety all comes down to how well the owner knows its pet, how trained it is, healthy, and how responsible the pet’s owner is.
How well do you know your dog?
Now that we’ve cleared some factors which can lead to accidents, you should also consider how your own dog behaves. How well do you know your dog? It is aggressive, is it used to being around other dogs?
Based on previous interactions you should already know the answer to these questions. You shouldn’t take your dog to the dog park to train it, there are high chances of things going wrong, and it’s not fair for the other people.
If your dog is timid/shy it can become aggressive or provoke other dogs. At the same time, if it shows clear signs that it doesn’t want to be there, like cowering behind you, you shouldn’t insist (2). If your dog is small and the dog park doesn’t have an area for such type of dogs, you should try and find another park that does.
Did you know?
– Small dogs are the most prone to injury in dog parks. If such parks don’t have special areas for them, you should never risk letting your dog play with bigger, stranger dogs.
-Accidents are quite common in dog parks. You should ask friends or people who go there with their dogs, how it is, and try to get a clear image beforehand.
– Knowing a bit about dog psychology and behaviorism might be a great asset if you decide to take your dog to the dog park. These parks are awesome, but they aren’t the safest of places, so prepare in order to avoid bad situations.