July 08, 2020 Dogs Pet Safety

Dog Park Safety During COVID-19

Dogs play at a dog park in New York City

Dog Park Safety During COVID-19

As cities and states relax stay at home orders, playgrounds and public spaces are once again open for enjoyment. In New York City, dogs are rejoicing because the dog parks, closed since April 6th, opened on July 7th. Keeping your dog safe in the dog park has always been important, but amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there are new and different concerns for dogs and dog owners who frequent dog parks.

Lapsed Vaccines

In many healthy adult dogs, routine vaccinations were delayed because of the pandemic. If you have not had a chance to update lapsed vaccinations, I suggest you delay a trip to the dog park. Kennel cough, distemper and parvovirus spread from dog to dog. Since dog parks amplify dog contact, disease can spread rapidly in unprotected dogs. Leptospirosis and Lyme disease are transmitted by infected urine and ticks, respectively. Depending on the flora in your local dog run, your dog might pick up ticks there. For sure, dog runs can be contaminated by urine with Leptospires. Don’t take a chance in the dog run if your dog’s vaccinations are not up to date.

Weekend Warrior

I suspect your dog is a lot like many of us and hasn’t been getting enough exercise during lockdown. You might not want to spend a full hour throwing tennis balls or playing frisbee the first day out. Consider gradually working back up to your dog’s usual level of activity. To help get your dog back in condition, watch the video from a recent Usdan Institute for Animal Health Education presentation on conditioning exercises you can do with your dog.

Happy to See Friends

Dogs have dog friends, and after the prolonged hiatus from the dog park, your dog may be thrilled to see his bestie. An exuberant greeting might not be welcomed by a shy dog, so it will be extra important to monitor your dog’s behavior for the first few days back in the dog park to make sure their behavior is socially acceptable.

While dogs are somewhat resistant to SARS-CoV-2 infection, they can become infected in rare instances. Social distancing continues to be critical for both you and your dog. Your dog needs to avoid interacting with people outside your household. You need to wear a mask to the and resist the temptation to socialize any closer than six feet from your dog park friends. Dog-to-dog transmission of SARS-CoV-2 has not been reported, so dogs are free to interact while their owners watch at a distance.

Sensible precautions are all that is needed to safely enjoy your time in the dog park.

Tags: canine conditioning, COVID-19, distemper, dog behavior, dog park, dog run, dogs, kennel cough, leptospirosis, lyme disease, parvovirus, SARS-CoV-2, Social Distancing, vaccines for dogs,

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