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Considering Visiting a Dog Park?

Pet socialization is vital to the overall health of you pup!  They are after all pack animals and do enjoy playing and interacting with friends and family. With summer just around the corner, who doesn’t want to bring Fido or Fluffy out for a playdate?  One of the ways to give our furry friends more social interaction is by visiting a local dog park. Not only is it a fun and interesting way to get your dog out for a romp in the sun, you get to meet other dog lovers.  Dog parks are fenced in areas that are typically supported by local park districts. They provide an off leash environment, and a place for dogs to be dogs, to sniff, run and play.

There are a few things that should be noted before jumping in the car and taking your dog for a dog park adventure. First and foremost, your pet needs to be completely up to date with all healthcare needs, such as vaccinations and fecal testing.  In addition, most puppies should be up to date by 16 weeks with necessary vaccinations, dewormings, fecal checks and will have begun heartworm and flea and tick medications. Also, making sure you tell your Veterinarian that you plan on visiting a dog park is recommended.  There are additional vaccines to help protect your pet in these environments. The thing to remember about the dog park is that not everyone’s pet is up to date with their healthcare.

Besides ensuring your pet has been deemed healthy from your veterinarian, there are a few items to consider bringing along.  Pack some water, a bowl, a blanket or towel, an extra leash, and waste bags. Keep in mind that it is best to leave toys at home. They might get lost, broken, or even create a sharing issue.

On that note, always be aware of how your dog might interact with others. Some dogs don’t necessarily enjoy interacting with unknown dogs or people. Others may not enjoy rough play or with being in close proximity to other dogs.  

Always pay attention to your pets body language. Is their hair standing on end?  Is their tail tucked? Are they stiff or relaxed? These indicators can help you decide if a dog park is a good activity for your pet. In the event that an altercation happens, grab an object that can make a loud noise or try to spray them with water.

It is best to observe the dog park ahead of time and get a feel of what it is like. Be your pets advocate. Make sure to pay close attention to how your pet will react in social situations and always be aware of where they are and what they are doing.

If the dog park ends up not being a good fit there are other alternatives.  Many areas have dog friendly forest preserves, where you can walk your leashed pet along paths.  You can also try pet daycares, training, or dog sport or agility classes to get more exercise and socialization.

All in all, the dog park is a great way to get outside with your pup.  It is important to remember that in order to enjoy these areas you must be alert and prepared.  Make sure that your pet is healthy to play, can happily engage in the environment, and that you know the layout of the land.  With these vital things in mind the dog park will be an enjoyable place for both you and Fido alike!

Listed below are a few of the local dog parks in our area to check out. Make sure you review the rules and regulations prior to your visit. For any questions on dog parks or pet socialization don’t hesitate to contact our staff at South Town Animal Hospital. We are always happy to talk at 847-695-7387 or reception@southtownanimalhospital.com.  Wishing a ‘Happy Summer’ to all our furry friends!  

Kane County Dog Parks :

Schweitzer Woods Forest Preserve

16N690 Sleepy Hollow Rd, West Dundee, IL 60118

Fox River Bluff West

5N753 State Rte 31, St. Charles, IL 60175

Freedom Run Dog Park

6150 Russell Dr, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192

James O. Breen Community Park

Peck Road, St Charles, IL 60175