March 18, 2011 > Veterinary & Pet News: Fremont Dog Park
Veterinary & Pet News: Fremont Dog Park
In July of 2010, Fremont officially opened a new dog park in Central Park. The opening of the dog park was part of the community's vision of extending BART to Warm Springs. The new facility was built to make room for excavation of the old dog park site for the extension of BART trains to Warm Springs.
The new dog park has been a hit and is significantly improved from the previous dog park, featuring benches, water fountains, walkways, and separate areas for large and small dogs.
Dog Parks are great recreation places for dog lovers. However, there are hidden dangers and concerns that all pet owners need to be aware of. Over the years, as a veterinarian I have frequently seen pets coming into our hospital after dog fights or catching minor illnesses. If you decide that your dog will be amongst the socialites at the dog park, then I recommend extra precautions as compared to an indoor pooch.
Here are a few tips when visiting dog parks:
Socialization - Please keep in mind that not all dogs like to go to dog parks. The experience can create anxiety in some dogs and lead to aggressive or unpredictable behavior. I strongly recommend that you socialize your dog with other neighborhood dogs prior to visiting a dog park. It's equally important to socialize your dog to people as well. If you find that your dog doesn't like to go to dog parks, it is in everyone's best interest to leave him home.
Vaccinations - It is extremely important to keep your dog's vaccinations current. The vaccinations for dogs that frequent dog parks should be much more comprehensive than a dog who is an indoor couch potato. A few years ago, we saw terrible cases of Infectious Tracheobronchitis ("Kennel Cough") with the chief history that each dog frequented the dog park. It's important to note that no vaccination is 100% effective against any illness; at best, vaccination increases the immunity of the pet and decreases the risk of severe symptoms. It's also possible some dogs who visit dog parks may not be up-to-date on vaccinations and your dog could be exposed to diseases.
Self-police your dog - Taking your dog to dog parks is at your own risk. If your dog is injured or becomes sick, you are ultimately responsible. Keep an eye on your dog to prevent it from getting into fights.
Small dogs should stay in the separate area for smaller dog breeds. Untrained larger dogs may engage in rough play or perceive smaller dogs as small toys or prey.
Parasites - Visiting dog parks increases the risk of transmission of parasites. Common parasites include roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and fleas. It is important to have your pet checked for internal parasites every six months; monthly de-wormers and flea preventatives are highly recommended.
Please do not bring dogs younger than four months to the park as they have immature immune systems and are highly vulnerable to illnesses.
Encourage your dog to drink enough water, especially on hot days. Heat Stroke is a very common illness often seen in dogs that have been at parks for long stretches without adequate water or rest. Bring plenty of water for your dog to drink. Some folks caution against using water stations at parks since they've been used by other dogs and may be a cause of disease.
Bottom line: Follow dog park rules posted at the park. They include having your dog licensed, keeping them on a leash when outside the park and a minimum-age requirement for children. Dog parks are a great source of enjoyment for dog lovers as long as proper precautions are taken and all preventive measures are followed.