Five Reasons to Avoid the Dog Park

Five Reasons to Avoid the Dog Park

For many people, taking your dog to the dog park is the safest and best way to play. With a fenced in area, equipment to interact with and other dogs to socialise, the dog park seems like the ideal way to exercise your pet. While it is true that the dog park is an effective way to meet your dog's exercise quota, meet friends, and get the humans out of the house, there are some risks associated with going to the dog park. If the dog park works for you, it works, but it is important to understand the risks and have a plan in place to mitigate. Find out five reasons to avoid the dog park and our best suggestions for making the dog park safe for everyone. 

One. Sticks and Stones. 
The unfortunate reality is that council staff are often stretched thin, and maintenance at dog parks is not a high priority. Though we all love our furry friends, the people who create and maintain dog parks have other issues in mind, meaning that dangerous, natural objects and equipment can pile up before it gets seen to. Whether it is branches and sticks from a bad storm, equipment which has rusted or chipped, or trash and human junk which has been picked up by the wind, the safe confounds of the dog can be compromised. To prevent injury from sharp, dangerous or hidden objects, give the area a sweep before you let your dog loose, especially after a storm or windy day. Notify the council about broken equipment at the dog park and watch your dog if they play in that area. You can also reach out to your local council to let them know how important dog park upkeep is to you. 

Two. Unsocialised animals. 
There are a lot of good boys and girls out there, but even the best girls and boys get overwhelmed sometimes, get nervous or aren't comfortable in new environments. If they haven't been taught how to behave around other animals, how to regulate their feelings, or if they are predisposed to violent reactions. While we would love for everyone to get along, the higher number of dogs and contrasting personalities confined to a small space can increase the risk of an accident happening. To prevent accidents which could hurt someone, it is important to understand your dog. If they get nervous, avoid being at the park during peak times, increase training to improve obedience and recall, and keep an eye on your dog to de-escalate any situations that might arise. 

Three. Even the very good boys. 
Unfortunately, even the very best girls and boys can cause problems. Have you heard of it, what they're calling dog covid? While we're not too concerned about it here in Australia, dogs do transfer diseases from one another. For some animals, some diseases go unnoticed because they don't present in common ways. If a scratch, nip or particularly enthusiastic slobber occurs, it can spread disease. Keep up with your pet's vaccinations, avoid large doggy crowds where you can't clearly see what happens, and keep an emergency kit for your pet in your car. 

Four. A Bad Influence. 
This one has less immediate impact, but over time it can cause issues. Some dogs don't take well to training, and some pawrents struggle to find the time to keep up with important training steps. Just like children, dogs learn behaviours and are influenced by their peers, meaning your usually well-behaved pup might forget what they've been taught and act out. The only thing you can do if this situation occurs is to keep up with training, using positive reinforcement to remind them how good it feels to be good. 

Five. The Unthinkable.
You've seen the signs stuck on with zip ties, the news articles and the angry facebook posts — dog baiting. Inconceivably, there are some humans out there who want to cause harm to your furbaby. They leave poisoned bits of meat out in places dogs will find them. It's a disturbing and disgusting human practice that has unfortunately killed innocent dogs and other native creatures. The best thing you can do to protect your dog is keep your eye on them at the park, visit at off peak times and keep an eye out for sightings or warnings on your community page. 

The only other thing you can do to protect your dog if they eat something bad, whether it be bait purposefully laid or something accidental, is to keep their immune system sharp and their bellies full. A full belly (such as one full with Pawganic pet meals) and a strong immune system (such as one bolstered by Pawganic pet meals' specially formulated ingredients) can help reduce the damage of poisons or discomfort. Of course, if your pet does eat something unsafe, you should take them to the emergency vet. 

So, there are many concerns, ranging from increased risk of injury, to horrible humans causing potential harm, to unsafe pets in highly volatile situations, and to long-term behavioural issues. Following the tips we've mentioned today will help decrease the risk of problems at the dog park, so your pet can be well-exercised and well-loved.