Dog Park Dangers: What Your Veterinarian Want You To Know

When spring and summer come around, many people are ready to get out into the outdoors to enjoy the nice weather and their extra hours of daylight that they can enjoy whether they are on vacation or working. As such, the majority of dog owners like to take their dogs out to the dog park to enjoy that pleasant weather with them. However, most veterinarians will tell you to be cautious when you take your dogs to the dog park. Get to know some of the potential dog park dangers that you will want to consider before you head out to the dog park this year. 

Parvovirus

Parvovirus (also known as parvo) is a highly contagious and dangerous canine virus. This virus becomes very serious very quickly as it attacks the white blood cells in the body and does severe damage to the intestinal tract.

Commonly, a dog that has been exposed to and contracted parvovirus will show symptoms like severe diarrhea that smells horrible and often contains blood, excessive vomiting, no appetite, and a lack of energy. With all of the diarrhea and vomiting, the dog will likely get extremely dehydrated which may be life-threatening if not addressed quickly. 

Parvovirus is transmitted through the feces of infected dogs. Anything, including a person, that comes into contact with those infected feces can be a carrier, sometimes for months. So, if an infected dog goes to the dog park and defecates, any dog that comes into contact with even the grass they defecated on, may contract the virus.

Be sure to check that your dog is up-to-date on their parvo vaccine before you even consider taking them to a dog park. And if you have a puppy under the age of between six and eight weeks, do not take them around other dogs or to the dog park as they are too young to be vaccinated.

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas affect many different animals, not just domestic pets. Rabbits, squirrels, and other animals that may enter a dog park (as well as other dogs) may carry fleas which can infest your dog at the dog park. Additionally, anytime you go outdoors in the summer, there is a chance that you and your dog will encounter ticks. In a dog park where there are tall plants, trees, and wild grasses, their presence is even more likely. 

While fleas and ticks are annoying and may cause serious discomfort (especially fleas), they can also carry serious diseases. Dogs, as well as humans, can get Lyme disease from ticks. Fleas carry diseases such as the plague, tapeworms, and a red blood cell disease known as haemobartonellosis. 

Before you head to the dog park, make sure your dog is protected against fleas and ticks. Additionally, check your dog thoroughly for ticks after a trip to the dog park to prevent them from contracting Lyme disease or other issues.

Now that you know a few of the potential dangers of going to a dog park, you can make the right decision for you and your dog. And if you do decide to go to the dog park, you know how to protect your dog from these dangers.