Visiting a dog park can be an enjoyable way to spend time with your dog. Watching Fido run and play with some new doggie friends can certainly put a smile on your face and give him some healthy physical, as well as mental exercise.

While It can be a real treat for both of you, it is important to note that not all dogs are suited for the dog park. Dog parks are meant for pets that are well-socialized. If your buddy is aggressive or has issues that could make him hostile toward another dog playing with a ball or Frisbee, the dog park is not the place to teach him to make friends or share his toys. Work with a trainer first to correct his behavior. Shy or nervous dogs can be traumatized by other dogs galloping about and could even bite out of fear.

It is wise is to steer clear of the dog park if your female pet is in heat. Along with the risk of an unplanned litter, nothing starts a dog fight faster than a group of male dogs vying for the attention of a ready-to-breed female.

The risk of illness is one of the biggest reasons to keep puppies out of the dog park. Pups younger than 12 weeks old are not fully immunized, and their young immune systems will struggle to fight common infections.

It’s advisable to check out the park solo before bringing your dog to a new park for the first time. Check thoroughly to be sure that all fencing is secure and safe. Look for jagged wires or broken boards that could cause injury. It is also advisable to choose a park that has separate sections for large and small dogs. The sheer size difference between a German Shepherd and a Dachshund could cause injury to the smaller dog and some dogs could consider small dogs as prey.

While at the park keep an eye on your dog for signs of trouble among him and his playmates. Growling, biting, mounting or other signs of aggression are all signs a scuffle could ensue. If any of these behaviors should arise call your dog over for a break. If the behavior continues, leave the park.

In the event of a dogfight, be careful. Never get between dogs that are fighting, instead, throw water on the fighting dogs or use a stick (not your hands) to separate them. In case of an emergency, know the location of the nearest veterinary hospital.

Bring your own water bowl and prevent your pup from using the communal one. Parasites and illness can be spread when using the communal water bowl.

Be sure your dog’s vaccines and flea and tick treatments are up to date. Your dog can encounter viruses and parasites at the park. Confirm he is current on vaccines like rabies and distemper/parvo. Your vet might also recommend vaccinating against kennel cough, canine influenza, and leptospirosis.

Is life too busy for a trip to the park? Kelly’s Kritters provides service to and from the dog park or nearby hiking trails. We pick up your baby, take them on the adventure and return them safely back home afterward. This is a private service for just your pet, this is not a group outing. Give us a call to discuss availability and pricing.