The concept behind public dog parks is an exciting one for dogs and owners alike, where fresh air and playfulness are plentiful. Because public dog parks are accessible by anyone, each trip proves to be a different experience, hosting a range of different interactions for a pet.
Visiting a park is a social activity, and unlike their owners, dogs do not always know how to behave accordingly. While this should be a fun and exciting experience for the dog, owners should try to enforce proper behavior skills in their furry friend, while maintaining proper park etiquette themselves.
Always remember to pick up after your dog when they use the restroom; most parks supply dog waste bags and designate trash cans for this purpose. One health risk that comes along with visiting a dog park, is the amount of waste from different dogs that your pet is exposed to.
“One disease that animals can catch from drinking standing water that has been exposed to animal waste is leptospirosis,” said Dr. Mark Stickney, clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
Stickney explains that dogs can be vaccinated for this disease, and recommends that any dogs visiting a dog park on a regular basis to stay current with this vaccination. Gastrointestinal parasites such as hook worms, round worms, and whip worms also pose a threat to any dog that is exposed to another dog’s feces.
“Dogs like to sniff each others’ noses and rear-ends, so if a dog has any type of respiratory disease, signs of coughing, eye discharge, or nasal discharge then that is not the time to bring them to the park,” said Stickney.
Another common problem that is transmitted from dog-to-dog is fleas, which here in Texas is prevalent year-round. So having a dog on a flea and heart worm preventative is another good step to take.