Spring is just around the corner, and your playful pup is no doubt eager to get some more outdoor time. For many dogs, that means a fun trip to the dog park. Dog parks are terrific places to help your dog learn how to socialize and for you to meet other dog-owned humans, too. But there are a few rules that you should follow to ensure a safe and happy experience for everyone.
1. Leave the treats at home. Every dog loves a treat, but make sure to keep them out of sight at the park. Treats can trigger food-related aggression in other dogs, and sharing the treats with other dogs doesn’t always go over well with other owners. However, do bring along a jug of water and a bowl to keep your dog hydrated.
2. Don’t let your dog play too aggressively with others. You probably know your dog well enough to know how he gets along with other animals. Barking and growling are considered normal social interactions, but it’s your responsibility to decide when playful rough-housing starts to escalate to a fight. If that happens, remove your dog from the social setting.
3. Clean up after your dog (and yourself).Just like everywhere else, you’re responsible for cleaning up after your pet at the park. Some parks have plastic bags available near the waste cans, but you should always carry a few extras. Additionally, don’t leave your own food wrappers or other trash on the ground. This may pose a choking or poison hazard for other dogs.
4. Don’t unleash your dog unless she responds to commands. It seems obvious, but sometimes you get distracted while talking to other dog owners. Make sure you know where your dog is at all times to avoid problems like fights. As with a child, you never know what your dog might get into.
5. Don’t bring unvaccinated puppies, unneutered males, or females in heat to the park. While it may be tempting to bring your little ball of energy to the park, it’s a good idea to wait until your puppy is at least four months old and has had all the necessary vaccinations. Unneutered males have higher testosterone, meaning more aggressive behavior, and unspayed females in heat may end up presenting you with 6-8 new grandpuppies in a few months.
Anything can happen in the blink of an eye. Following these simple tips will help ensure a positive dog park experience for everyone. But if trouble does strike, PetFirst is here to help. Cover your dog with a PetFirst pet insurance plan to help cover costs associated with injuries or illnesses your dog may contract at the dog park. Stay safe and have a great Spring!