MPH Blog

Posts for tag: dog park

By Heather Beeson of Morena Pet Hospital
July 19, 2013
Category: Pet Safety
Tags: pet safety   dog park  


We have all heard the saying before: “It’s all fun and games until somebody (or somebody's dog) gets hurt".  But what options does a dog owner have when they want to reward their dog with some physical exercise or address their dog’s need for social interaction at the local dog park?  Working in the veterinary field, we are not estranged from the occasional canine patient presenting to us with multiple lacerations inflicted from an earlier dogfight.  So how can pet owners ward off these dangers that exist and ensure that their visit to the dog park is a happy and safe time for their pets? 

Here are a few suggested dos and don’ts on how to handle trouble at the dog park.


Do educate yourself on the signs of healthy play and how to read dog body language. If you can observe and respond effectively to gradually increasing signs of arousal, you will find yourself being well equipped to intervene before “play-time” turns into a trip to the veterinarian.

Do remember to have a leash handy at all times.

Do keep your eye on your dog, just as you would a child.  Remember, this is reward time for your dog, so you should be focused on your dog for the entire time you are at the park.

Do clean up after your pet.  Taking initiative to keep the park clean will increase the likelihood that the park stays open and protect both your dog and all other attending dogs from communicable illnesses.

Do remember to bring a water bowl and some water for your pet even on cooler days.

Do know the number and location to the closest veterinary hospital in case of emergency.


Don’t allow your dog to get so far away that you cannot intervene and control a situation.

Don't expect the dogs to work it out. Remember, it is ultimately the dog owner’s responsibility for maintaining peace & order at the dog park.

Don’t expect the other dog owner to take action if a troubling situation arises. Some pet owners do not consider their dog’s behavior to be a problem or do not handle emergency situations as well as others.

Don't think of the dog park as a great place to socialize a dog with behavioral issues (reactivity, aggression, fear, etc.) toward other dogs or people.  In doing so, your pet will be left relating the dog park to a place of scary, overwhelming, and stressful happenings instead of the fun and joyful place it should be.

Don't bring your dog to the park if he/she is suffering from any sort of transmissible illness. Find other ways to provide your dog with exercise until he/she is no longer contagious.

Readers, what are your best tips for keeping the peace at the dog park? Which San Diego dog parks are your favorite? We’d love to hear about your (and your pet’s) experiences so please feel free to leave a comment!