Going To The Dog Park: Dangers You Should Be Aware Of

Posted on: 10 April 2015

When you adopt a dog, they quickly become an important and beloved member of your family. As such, you want to take care of their health and safety as much as any other member of your family. You also want to ensure that they get plenty of exercise, have fun, and socialize with other animals. Because of this desire, you consider taking them to run around and play at your local dog park. While dog parks can be great fun for you and your pet, you should also get to know some of the important facts about potential hidden dangers at your local dog park. This way you can know what to look out for and when it is time to take your beloved dog to the local animal hospital. 

Viruses And Other Illnesses

One of the most common problems that dog owners have after taking their dogs to the dog park is illness. Viruses are easily spread in dog park environments for a few reasons. 

First and foremost, dogs use their noses to track, greet, and identify other dogs. Because of this, your dog will often smell urine or feces on the ground or on plants at the dog park because it is in their nature. Unfortunately, this is an easy way for viruses to spread (through inhalation and direct contact). 

So, if your dog begins to act lethargic, disoriented, or suffers from stomach upset for more than a 24-hour period following a trip to the dog park, you should head to your vet or an animal hospital right away. While a virus may not necessarily be serious, your dog can easily get dehydrated when ill and may need IV fluids to get healthy again. 

On the other hand, illnesses contracted at the dog park can also be serious or life-threatening. Canine leptospirosis is a serious bacterial infection spread by urine. Most leptospirosis cases are mild, but severe cases can be life-threatening due to the liver and kidney damage they cause.

Loss of appetite, vomiting, and jaundice are all signs of leptospirosis. So, if your dog has these symptoms, a trip to the animal hospital is in order. To avoid most illnesses at the dog park, you will also want to be sure your dog is up to date on all vaccines before heading out. 


Because most dog parks allow your dog to run around off-leash, the chance of injury can increase. This is particularly true of a dog park with hills, varied terrain, and any bodies of water. Dogs tend to get enthusiastic when allowed to run free in such a large space, and may not be fully aware of their surroundings or what they are doing. 

Be cautious especially if there is a large drop off on the bank of streams or ponds in the dog park. If your dog tries to jump from those heights, they can easily injure their legs or even their spine.

In the winter, you also need to be careful regarding ice cover on bodies of water. If your dog runs out on the ice and it gives way, they can suffer injuries, hypothermia, or could even drown if they slip under the remaining ice. 

If your dog does go a little overboard at the dog park and pulls up lame or limping, take them home and keep an eye on them for several hours. If their mobility and demeanor do not improve or worsen, they will need to be examined by a veterinarian and have x-rays or other tests run to rule out serious injuries. 

Knowing the possible dangers to your dog at the dog park will help you to be better aware of your dog's health and safety. As such, you will know when a trip to the animal hospital or emergency vet is in order and can get your dog the treatment it needs as quickly as possible. 

Talk to experts like Highland Animal Hospital for more information.


caring for a variety of pets

How many animals do you have in your household? Do you have a variety of pets that your family adores? If you have a multi-animal household, it is important that you find a vet that can care for each of them. Having troubles finding a vet that cares for all types of pets? Visit my website to learn how my family has managed to keep all of our eleven pets healthy over the years. There are preventative measures you can take to ensure that your pets are healthy and signs that your pets need vet care immediately. Hopefully, our experiences can help you maintain a house full of healthy pets.