dogparks topdogger-300x225Lots of families consider dog parks when traveling. While our pooches certainly need to stretch their legs during long car rides and road trips, dog parks come with many concerns. Know the facts before you go.

Dog Parks have become more and more popular in recent years and while many vacationing families favor a place designated to take their dog to interact with other like minded canines and their owners, dog parks pose a lot of risks.

When we had little kids we used to joke that Chuck E. Cheese, as fun as it seemed, was just one big germ factory for our kids. Unfortunately dog parks are very similar and pose many of the same concerns and many more.

Anytime you are exposing your dog in a confined area to many unfamiliar dogs with undetermined temperaments and untold medical conditions, you need to know what you are doing and should weigh the risks with the rewards and benefits.

The most common injuries and ailments related to dog parks include: Parvovirus, parasites, head trauma, Kennel Cough, upper respiratory infections, bites and soft tissue injuries.

If that isn’t enough to make you reconsider, then here are some tips on increasing your odds of an incident free trip to the dog park.

  • Don’t ever bring puppies to dog parks and never until a dog has had all it’s puppy booster shots at at least four months of age.
  • Keep a careful eye on your dog at all times and obey the posted rules.
  • Make sure your dog is up to date on all vaccines, parasite prevention and has a current dog license.
  • Avoid dog parks during peak hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when they are usually more crowded.
  • Leave immediately if another dog looks sick or shows signs of agression.

Carmel L. Mooney is the editor of Roadtripsforcouples.com, an online travel magazine. Carmel co-hosts a travel radio show every Saturday afternoon on KJAY 1430 AM in Sacramento. Her family travel column can be read in California Kids Magazine at: www.valcomnews.com You can follow her on Twitter: @CarmelLeeMooneyor Facebook. Carmel is also the Executive Director of Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions, a non-profit that trains and places Autism Service Dogs. You can read her service dog blog at: www.pawsitivesolutions.org.

Photo courtesy of TopDogRetrievers.com