Taking Fido To The Dog Park: Tips From A Pendleton, IN Veterinarian

Does your furry friend enjoy going to parks? If so, mark your calendar: Take A Walk In The Park Day is on March 30th. Many of our canine buddies enjoy visiting parks. This makes complete sense. Fido is, after all, quite active by nature. He also enjoys sniffing around new places, hanging out with his friends, and traveling with his favorite humans! However, there are a few factors to consider. Continue reading for some helpful tips from a local Pendleton, IN veterinarian on taking your dog to the park.

What Is “Take A Walk In The Park Day” For?

The holiday began as an opportunity to remind people of the benefits of spending time outside. Exercise, fresh air, and sunshine are good for our bodies, minds, and spirits. One study found that people who could see trees from their apartments were less aggressive than those who couldn’t. And while the holiday was originally intended for humans, Fido is welcome to join!

What Are the Benefits of Dog Parks?

Parks offer Fido the chance to run and play freely in a contained area. This is especially useful for people who don’t have yards of their own. A fenced park provides an excellent opportunity for your four-legged friend to get some exercise and playtime. That is critical for both your pup’s physical and mental wellness. Just like humans, our canine pals need physical activity to maintain good health. You may also find that your pet is better behaved after he’s burned off his zoomies.

Mental stimulation benefits Fido too. Dogs learn a lot about the world through odors, so simply pausing to sniff the grass (and the shrubs, trees, and flowers) can be quite educational for your furry best friend.  

Socialization is another issue. Our canine pals are naturally friendly animals, and they frequently enjoy and benefit from the opportunity to socialize with other dogs. This is especially important for puppy owners, because socializing should take place when your dog is still young. When your furry companion gets to be roughly 12 weeks old, that window begins to close. Contact your veterinarian for further information on socialization.

You may also benefit from visiting the park. Enjoying some sunshine and fresh air while watching dogs hard at play is a great way to wind down after a long day. Plus, it may help deepen your bond with your dog.

Are There Downsides Of Visiting Dog Parks?

There are certain downsides to taking Fido to the park. The most serious one is the possibility of your canine friend being attacked by another dog. These instances are rare, yet they do occur.

There is also a risk that your pooch could contract parasites or illnesses from other dogs in the park. Keeping Fido’s preventative care up to date will help safeguard him. However, if you’ve recently obtained your pet, you’ll need to wait until your veterinarian gives the go-ahead. Some immunizations must be administered in a series, so your pooch will not be protected until he has had all of his boosters.

The possibility of Fido bolting would be another risk to consider. This is mostly a worry in parks that are not securely gated, of course.

Finally, there’s a chance that your furry pal may not like the park. Some dogs just do not fare well in parks. If your canine companion is fearful or uneasy around other dogs, going to the park may be unpleasant for him. That could lead to behavioral issues, which you do not want.

How Can I Keep My Dog Safe at the Park?

When it comes to animal care, an ounce of prevention is worth a few pounds of cure. That definitely applies here!

First and foremost, make certain your pooch is current on all immunizations and parasite control. Dogs should also have up-to-date microchips and ID tags. (We recommend adding the word ‘Reward’ to your pup’s tags to encourage people to contact you if they find him.)

Choose A Good Park

Ultimately, some parks are just better than others. Look for one with positive reviews. This also provides you a fantastic opportunity to review goodies like play fountains.

Vet Your Dog’s Playmates

Many parks separate big dogs from little ones. Keeping Fido among dogs of a similar size can definitely help make things safer.

Consult Your Veterinarian

If you have a nice, healthy adult dog, Fido may benefit much from a trip to the park. However, pups, seniors, and dogs with medical difficulties may not be suitable for park visits. If your furry buddy is reactive, afraid, or violent, he may not be an ideal fit for a trip to the park.

Your veterinarian may also be aware of something you are not, such as a new virus or an outbreak.

Vet Your Puppy’s Playmates

Before allowing your furry buddy to play, take a moment to check out the other canines there. The most serious concern is aggressive dogs. While one would think that people would understand not to bring dangerous dogs to parks, this is unfortunately not uncommon.

If you see any dogs being rowdy or bullying other dogs, be safe and take your cute pet for a stroll instead. Go to the park another time. Better safe than sorry, as they say.

Bring Water (For Yourself And Fido) 

Although many parks provide fountains, it’s a good idea to have your own water. That way, if the facilities are down, you won’t be left with a thirsty dog. Overheating is very dangerous for Fido!

Many parks have seats or picnic tables where people can sit while their dogs run and play. It might be tempting to eat lunch while your furry companion is playing. Just be very discreet. It’s also best to avoid bringing foods that will give off tempting smells. Fido’s friends will undoubtedly notice any tasty snacks you have. As you may expect, this can lead to friction and even fighting. 

This is an excellent time to listen to a podcast or speak with a buddy. However, if you do listen to music or make a phone call, avoid turning up the level too much. You must be able to hear sounds like barking or shouting.  

Read The Park Rules

Before entering the park, take note of any postings or signage. These may include important information. For example, if there are hazardous plants or a large number of ticks in the region, the park may issue a warning.

Explore Your Local Area

Consider installing a pet-friendly app, like Bring Fido. These can help you discover new places. You might be amazed by how many amazing places there are within an hour or two of Pendleton!

Take Advantage Of The Time

Dogs aren’t the only ones who benefit from having the opportunity to socialize and spend time outside. This is also a terrific place to meet up with friends or family members who have their own dogs!  

Schedule An Appointment At Your Pendleton, IN Animal Hospital

Do you want to learn more about our dog park? Is it time for your furry friend to have a checkup, vaccinations, or parasite control? Contact us here at your Pendleton, IN pet clinic today!

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