Top 4 Dog Park Safety Advice for Pet Parents Who Want to Enjoy the Outdoors

If you’re unprepared, the dog park can be a dangerous place, so use our safety advice when taking your dog to an off-leash play area.

#1: Protect your dog against infectious diseases

Your dog must, at the very least, be current on their rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and bordetella vaccinations because reputable dog parks demand proof of vaccination before granting access. Leptospirosis, canine influenza, and parainfluenza vaccinations may also be required or advised, so make sure your dog is up to date before taking them to the park.

#2: Visit during off-times

When the day is over and the dogs are overflowing with energy and eager to let off steam, dog parks are typically the most crowded. Dogs that are overexcited are less likely to behave politely, which can lead to bullying and fights. If you want your dog to be able to exercise without having to worry about a pack of dogs chasing after them as they chase a ball, choose an off-peak time.

#3: Double up on identification

Although it’s unlikely your dog will slip out of the double gate at the entrance to the park, accidents can happen. Ensure a happy reunion with your furry friend by outfitting them with several identification forms, including collar ID tags, a collar embroidered with your phone number, and a microchip.

#4: Watch for warning signals

Keep a close eye out for inappropriate behaviors or indications that your dog is uneasy because dog parks are not the appropriate setting for socialization lessons. Your dog may display signs of stress, anxiety, or fear 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)

At the first hint of unease from your dog, leave the dog park before things escalate.

Not all dogs are appropriate for off-leash dog parks. Many dogs would rather interact with people one-on-one or go exploring on their own than in a big pack of boisterous dogs. Regardless of the socialization style your dog prefers, make sure they receive routine preventive care to keep them free from parasites and infectious diseases. Call our staff to make an appointment for your dog’s yearly wellness examination.