Some of you have recently shared concerns about the state of the dog parks in our area, and we hear your concerns. We often see patients at our practice with vomiting and diarrhea symptoms that may be related to recent exposure to one of the local dog parks.
We encourage all park officials to continue to enforce, promote, and understand rules at our local dog parks so that these parks will continue to be wonderful outdoor environments for our communities.
There is a great website, www.dogpark.com, that highlights specific guidelines to follow to make dog parks a safe and healthy environment for our communities. Here are a few of the recommendations that are important to consider:
- Provide fresh water drinking fountains. Pet owners should bring their own containers and use these water fountains to give their pets fresh water. Water should not be shared between pets.
- Provide plenty of waste receptacles and plastic pick up bags for the pet owners to use and collect their pet’s feces.
- Post no littering and no smoking signs in the park.
- Post signs of common etiquette between dog owners at the park.
- Provide plenty of adequate drainage for water and urine.
Sometimes the trash that is left at dog parks by people can be just as harmful as the fecal and urine waste left by the dogs at the park. Cigarette butts, soda cans, bottle tops, food wrappers, and spoiled food can all cause vomiting and diarrhea, and may even lead to intestinal obstruction. Pet waste is very dangerous from not only a concern for spreading disease to other pets, but also for contraction of disease by people. Intestinal parasites that dogs may carry can also infect people. Inadequate drainage of the park land can lead to serious contaminated water pooling containing harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses.
We know our pet friendly communities love having these dog parks for their pet’s recreation. Together, with proper patrolling and enforcement, we can make this a win-win for our 2 and 4 legged friends.