Dog Park Safety & Etiquette


If you missed our Wag ‘n Learn with Health & Harmony Animal Hospital’s Dr. Bowden who covered Dog Park Safety & Etiquette, no worries! We’ve laid out a brief summary and some of the tips we learned. Her handout of the best 10 tips is also very helpful. Take a peek and have fun at the park.

Health Safety:
  • DO appropriately vaccinate your dog(s) before you head to the park. Health risks of parks are significantly decreased if vaccinations are current!
    • Distemper, Parvovirus, and Rabies are all viral  conditions that often require 3 year immunizations.
    • Bordatella, and Leptospirosis are bacterial conditions that often require 1 year immunizations (and are especially needed if frequenting dog parks).
    • Bordatella every 6 months or 1 year depends on the type/maker of vaccine used and your vet’s preferred protocol.
  • DON’T stay at the park if you see other dogs who are visibly sick.
    • Things to look for: repeated coughing; overly watery nose; crusty eyes.
  • DO keep an eye for fleas and ticks in the environment and leave if necessary.
    • If there are fleas and ticks, it is likely that they’ll appear on your dog even if flea/tick prevention is used. With flea and tick prevention however, they won’t survive (humans are also not good hosts for them so it’s low risk for you).
Behavior Etiquette:
  • DO observe what your dog(s) behavior is communicating.
    • Dog parks are not always the best places for dog play.
  • DON’T force socialization if they appear too scared or stressed.
    • Likewise, if it’s your dog(s) who is scaring or stressing others, that is not healthy dog play to allow to continue.
  • DO communicate with other dog owners if their dog(s)’ behavior is bothering yours (e.g. “please don’t let your dog hump my dog”)
    • It is is okay to have a friendly exchange. If your dog is communicating dislike, that is good – it tells the other dog to stop.
    • If other dog(s)’ behavior persists however, leave the park. Your dog being forced to react is what you want to avoid.
  • DON’T take your own treats or toys to the park. Some dogs will resource guard quickly and that is not healthy behavior.
    • If treats or toys are already at the park (or brought by others), just be mindful of dog behavior around them and leave if necessary.