Safe and Sound: Four Essential Tips for Dog Park Safety

The dog park can be hazardous for the unprepared; therefore, when entering an off-leash play area with your canine companion, follow our safety tips.

#1: Protect your pet from infectious diseases.

Reputable dog parks require evidence of vaccination before granting access, so your dog must be up-to-date on rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and Bordetella vaccinations at minimum. 
Vaccinations against canine influenza, parainfluenza, and leptospirosis may also be required or recommended; therefore, ensure your dog is up-to-date before taking him to the park.

#2: Visit during off-peak hours.

Dog parks are typically at their most crowded at the end of the workday, when they are packed with dogs anxious to release pent-up energy. Overly excited dogs are less likely to observe proper canine etiquette, which can lead to bullying and fights. Choose an off-peak time to exercise your dog so they don’t have to worry about being pursued by a pack of canines as they chase a ball.

#3: Increase identification.

Although it is unlikely that your dog will escape through the double gate at the park’s entrance, accidents can occur. Provide your furry companion with multiple forms of identification, including collar ID badges, a collar embroidered with your phone number, and a microchip, to increase the likelihood of a successful reunion.

#4: Observe for warning signs

Dog parks are not the place to teach socialization skills, so keep a close watch for any signs of discomfort or inappropriate behavior. Anxiety, stress, and dread can manifest in your dog 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)

Leave the dog park at your companion’s first sign of unease before the situation escalates.

Off-leash dog facilities are not appropriate for all canines. Many dogs prefer one-on-one socialization or solo exploration to be in a large herd of excitable dogs. Ensure your dog’s protection from infectious diseases and parasites by administering preventive care regularly, regardless of the method of socialization it prefers. Call our staff to schedule your dog’s annual wellness exam to remain current.