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Dog Park Safety

Finally! We are seeing warmer weather, and with that comes more walking, swimming and general rambunctiousness. A lot of people like to spend time with their dogs at dog parks, which is great exercise but can pose some risks as well.

  1. Always make sure your pet is properly trained and socialized. You cannot control the level of training of another person’s dog, but you can always control the level of recall and socialization of your own pet. Also train yourself! You need to be able to read when another dog is uncomfortable in the situation and when it’s appropriate to let them approach. It’s always best to ask the other owner if their pet is comfortable with other dogs.
  2. Always clean up after your pet! If you attended our parasite seminar you would have heard a lot about disease transmission via feces. Part of controlling this is picking up your own pets feces.
  3. Watch your pet! I know it’s nice to be able to let them run free, letting the wind blow through their fur, however, there is a risk posed from wildlife. Porcupines are a very common example of this. We often see pets coming in from the dog park with quills in their face from trying to make a new friend. Watching your dog (and proper recall training) can help to prevent this from happening. We also want to make sure they are not eating wildlife feces, or preying on small rodents (though not as common with dogs can happen).
  4. Parasite prevention/protection. In Nova Scotia we are seeing an increase each year in ticks. Though the risk for dogs is substantially lower for dogs than it is for humans, we have seen cases of Lyme in Nova Scotia, and have seen terminal cases around the province. Using a product to prevent ticks is your best option – you may still see a tick, however the proper products will kill ticks quicker, not allowing the transmission of Lyme.
  5. If you let your dog swim in the ocean be aware that they will most likely ingest salt water. This can cause issues in larger amounts and we have seen diarrhea, dehydration, and vomiting. If you see any symptoms after a swim in the ocean contact your vet.

It’s important to exercise and stimulate our dogs to keep them happy, but it’s equally important to ensure we provide them with a safe environment. Enjoy the nice summer days and remember to have fun!

Written by Blair Lutes 

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