4 Dog Park Safety Tips

If you’re unprepared, the dog park may be a dangerous place, so use our safety advice before taking your dog to an off-leash play area.

#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: Go during off-peak hours

When the day is over, and the dogs are overflowing with energy and eager to let off steam, dog parks are typically the most crowded. Dogs that are overexcited are less likely to behave politely, which can lead to bullying and fights. If you want your dog to be able to exercise without having to worry about a pack of dogs chasing after them as they chase a ball, choose an off-peak time.

#3: Use two forms of identification

Accidents can happen, even though it’s unlikely that your dog will escape through the double gates at the park’s entrance. Give your pet several forms of identification, such as collar ID tags, a collar embroidered with your phone number, and a microchip to ensure a happy reunion.

#4: Keep an eye out for danger signs

Keep a close eye out for inappropriate behaviors or indications that your dog is uneasy because dog parks are not the appropriate setting for socialization lessons. Your dog may display signs of stress, anxiety, or fear as:

  • Running away
  • Tucked tail
  • Freezing
  • 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.

Off-leash dog parks are not right for every dog. Many dogs prefer one-on-one socialization, or exploring on their own, rather than in a large pack of exuberant canines. No matter what type of socialization your pooch prefers, ensure they remain protected from infectious diseases and parasites through regular preventive care. Give our team a call to schedule your dog’s annual wellness visit to stay up to date.