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Dog Park Pros and Cons

A dog park might seem like a great idea, and it often can be—dogs are allowed to run free, socializing with other pets and people. Keep in mind, though, that dog parks aren’t for everyone. Here, a Greenfield veterinarian lists some pros and cons to help you decide if a trip to your local dog park is in order.

Pros

The first major benefit of dog parks is that they’re just plain fun. Many dogs will love running around off-leash, taking in all the new sights, sounds, and smells of the park. They might love seeing other dogs and interacting with them, especially if they rarely see other pets. Dogs that have to stay cooped up indoors most of the day or have limited space to run will love the opportunity to get out there.

Dog parks provide a great outlet for physical exercise as well. There’s plenty of room for a classic game of tug-of-war or fetch, and there may even be fun obstacles for your pet to exercise around.

Dog parks also can allow a dog to sharpen his social skills, which is especially helpful for puppies. Your pup can get used to the sensation of interacting with human and canine strangers, which will be quite useful later in life!

Cons

Of course, not everything about the dog park might suit you and your dog. Dogs that aren’t very social may be terrified of the park. Shy dogs or dogs that have a history of aggression with other dogs may not be too fond of the park scene. There’s even a chance that an anti-social or aggressive dog could hurt another animal or get hurt by an aggressive pet.

Since there are a lot of dogs running around a park, there may be an increased health risk. Dogs that have weakened immune systems or are recovering from surgery or illness should probably stay home from the park. Elderly dogs might be at a higher risk as well. If your dog isn’t on a preventative medication for fleas, ticks, and heartworm, a dog park could be the place she catches them.

If you’re still unsure whether or not a dog park is a good place to take your pooch, don’t hesitate to ask your Greenfield veterinarian. He or she can weigh the factors along with you and decide if a park is the right place for your dog!

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