The dog park seems like a wonderful place to let your dog practice their social skills and let their wiggles out in an enclosed environment, but it is actually the breeding ground for a load of dangers that pet owners need to be aware of. We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we’re here to bring you the realities of having pets to take care of. You have to know the good, the bad, and the ugly to keep your pets safe!
With a 40% increase in dog parks since 2009, you may be wondering how such a popular thing can be so bad. Too much of anything is bad. Too many bad pet owners and you have a recipe for disaster, so head our warning.
Dangers of Standing Water
You know all of the cute features that your dog park has like ponds for the pups to play in? Avoid them at all costs.. Especially if they don’t have an active fountain to keep the water moving. You should also rinse out and refill the water bowls that are in the park before letting your dog drink. Scratch that, take your own bowl altogether! Standing water is a breeding ground for bacterial infections. Side effects can range from an upset stomach to extreme sickness. Unfortunately, nasty water isn’t the only risk you’re taking when you visit the dog park.
Canine Recall Training
The New York Times said it best when they noted that there is nothing natural, however, about dogs that aren’t familiar with one another being put in large groups and expected to play together. Many dog owners use the dog park as a socialization opportunity for themselves and don’t watch their furry friends closely. Canine recall training is an exceptionally important skill to teach your dog from a young age if you plan on attending off-leash events. The heightened number of distractions available for humans and their four-legged counterparts makes dog parks an extremely risky place for dog fights. If your pet is not trained to come when you call, even in the face of distractions, your dog could end up choosing their pack mentality and getting drawn into an altercation at the park. No one wants to see their dog get hurt.
Safe Socialization for Dogs
In a sense, dog parks may be a good place to meet up with a few friends, but they are not the place to socialize on a regular basis. Socialization is safer in smaller areas like flea markets and typically with on-leash settings. For puppies under 6 months of age, the dog park should be avoided altogether. You should never take your dogs around others before they have been given all of their puppy shots. Young puppies need positive social interactions in safe areas, and dog parks just can’t promise to always be a safe zone for your puppy to explore.
Next time you plan on heading out to the dog park, you might want to think twice. Can you really put the safety of your dog into a stranger's hands? If there is a small group of dogs playing in the park, then the situation is likely going to go in your favor, but a walk might be the better choice if the dog park is exceptionally popular when you drive by! Skip the dangers of the dog park and take Fido on a long stroll before ending the walk with a delicious James Naturals treat… Nothing can go wrong there!