Dog Parks or Not When Traveling?

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This post comes from Carmel L. Mooney who is the editor of Road Trips for Couples and also the Executive Director of Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions, a non-profit that trains and places service dog with children challenged by Autism. You can read Carmel’s dog blog HERE

Lots of road-tripping couples consider dog parks when traveling with their dogs. 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 couples 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 aggression.

So many couples road trip with their furry friends these days. That’s wonderful, but you wouldn’t want to ruin a thoroughly romantic road trip with an illness, injury or trip to a faraway vet. Keep these things in mind and your wet nosed chaperone will have smooth travels too.