Many of you ask me whether or not it’s safe to go to the dog park or not. It’s a good question and the topic of my post today. Dog Parks can be a fun social experience for a dog or it can be very stressful. How do you know without just trying it out and potentially having something terrible happen?
The most important thing to remember when you go to the dog park is to stay alert and watch for each dog’s body language. If you see frenetic high energy this is a precursor for a fight, go away from this type of display. Some of the dogs playing in the video above are very well behaved. Study their play postures.
Of course if your dog is timid then take her to the timid dog area if there’s one. It all depends on where you live. Here in L.A. there are many dog parks. Within those parks we’re blessed to have small dog, big dog and timid/old dog areas that are separate.
Most fights happen at the entrances. It’s usually because of a small dog that hasn’t been disciplined by his dog parents or because of the tight area where dogs and people are coming and going. Many dogs don’t get regular exercise and so therefore are very stressed when they get to the park.
My recommendation is to exercise your dog before you go to let off some steam so that when he goes into the dog park he isn’t quite so stressed. Pay attention to the new dogs entering the park.
Leave your puppy home until age 6 months because the immune system hasn’t fully developed yet and with all the strange dogs there your puppy could easily pick up something via the air or by eating poop. Approximately 87% of poop at the L.A. dog parks have been found to be contaminated by disease according to the Veterinary Board of L.A. when tested.
If there’s grass there can be fleas and ticks. Especially if it’s the summer season. So be sure to take precautions.
Best words of advice is to be careful and avoid heated play groups which can quickly turn into aggression and a trip to the vet. I saw one small dog that was attacked and lost his leg in the bloody brawl. Use caution.