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Armitage Animal Clinic

Providing excellence in health care…for your pets!

Call us today! 905 836-4001
Call us today! 905-836-4001
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18025 Yonge St, Unit 6
Newmarket, ON L3Y 8C9

Taking Fido To The Dog Park

March 15 2024

Does your canine buddy enjoy going to parks? If so, put a paw print on your calendar for March 30th: it’s Take A Walk In The Park Day! In this article from Armitage Animal Clinic, your Newmarket, ON animal hospital, veterinarian offers some information about taking your pooch to the park.

What Are Tips For Taking Dogs To The Park?

You’ve heard the saying that an ounce of prevention is worth several pounds of cure. That certainly applies when it comes to dog care!

Make sure Fido is current on all of his recommended vaccinations and parasite control. You’ll also need to get the all-clear from your vet if your pet is new, sick, or recovering from something.

Your canine buddy should also be microchipped and wearing current ID tags. (Tip: When getting your dog’s identification tags, we would recommend that you include the word ‘Reward’ on it. This can really help motivate people to reach out to you if they find your dog, and therefore increases the chance of your pet being returned to you.) 

Pick A Good Park

Some parks are just better than others. Look for one that has gotten great reviews. This also gives you a good chance to look over any perks or features, such as pet fountains. 

Talk To Your Vet

a friendly, healthy adult dog may really benefit from going to a park. However, puppies, seniors, and pooches with medical issues might be better off staying home. Dogs that are reactive, fearful, or aggressive are also not great candidates for going to the park.

Your animal clinic is also a great source of information. Your veterinarian may also know something you aren’t aware of, such as a new outbreak of something. The mystery canine respiratory illness that started popping up last year is a good example of this.

Choose Appropriate Buddies

Many dog parks keep the large dogs separated from the small ones. Make sure Fido is playing with dogs that are similar to him in size.

Read The Park Rules

Before heading into the park, take note of any postings or signs. These often contain valuable information. For instance, if there are toxic plants or a lot of ticks in the area, the park may post a caution. Follow the rules! 


Download a pet-friendly app, such as Bring Fido. These are great for finding places you didn’t know about. You may be surprised at how many great spots there are within an hour or two.

Vet Your Pet’s Playmates

Before letting Fido go and play, observe the dogs that are already at the park. If you see any dogs that are being rowdy or bullying other pooches, play it safe and take your cute pet for a walk instead. 

Bring Water Along

Many parks do have fountains or spigots. However, it’s always good to bring some water of your own along. That way, if the facilities are out of order, you won’t be stuck with a thirsty pup. (We always suggest keeping water in your car as well.) 

Don’t Bring Lunch

It may sound tempting to grab a sandwich from that little neighborhood deli to enjoy while your furry pal is playing. Be careful here, though. Fido’s pals will definitely notice your lunch, as well as any yummy treats that you dole out. As you can probably guess, this can lead to friction, and even fighting. Be discreet if you are bringing food along.

Many parks offer benches or picnic tables for people to sit at while their dogs run and play. This is a great time for you to listen to a podcast or chat with a friend. However, if you do listen to something or make a phone call, don’t turn the volume up too high. You need to be able to hear things like barking or shouting.  

Make The Most Of It

A dog park can also be a great spot to meet up with friends, neighbors, or family members with dogs of their own!  There’s a lot to be said for spending ‘yappy’ hour in good company.

What Is Take A Walk In The Park Day?

This unofficial holiday is supposed to be a reminder of the benefits of spending time outdoors. Exercise, fresh air, pretty scenery, and sunshine are good for everyone! Many studies show that getting some outdoor time can do wonders for our bodies, minds, and spirits. This is true for both dogs and people!

What Benefits Do Dog Parks Offer?

Dog parks have been popping up all over the country over the last few decades, and it isn’t hard to see why. Many dogs love parks. After all, Man’s Best Buddy is quite active naturally. Dogs also love to sniff around new spots. Parks also give Fido a chance to hang out with his buddies, run and play, and spend time with his favorite humans! 

Let’s break that down a bit!

Parks can be really helpful for anybody who lives in an apartment. It really isn’t safe to let your furry friend run around off-leash in parking lots or on roadsides. In fact, this is extremely dangerous. A fenced-in park gives your pup a safe place to run around and play a bit. That’s very important for both your furry pal’s physical health and his mental well-being. Fido needs activity to stay healthy, just as we do! 

Plus, giving your pet a chance to burn off that excess energy can do wonders for his behavior. Dogs that don’t get to burn off their zoomies are more likely to act up.

Mental stimulation is also very important for your pet’s health and well-being. Our canine friends learn a lot about the world from scents, so just stopping to sniff the grass (and the bushes, trees, and flowers) can be quite informative for your furry best friend. That will help stave off the bored doggy blues. 

Socialization is also crucial. Dogs are very sociable. After all, they run in packs in the wild. Our four-legged pals often really both enjoy and benefit from spending time with others of their own kind. This is extremely important for those with puppies, as socialization really needs to happen while Fido is still young. Once a pooch gets to be about 12 weeks, that window begins to close. Ask your vet for more information.

Those park trips may also help strengthen your bond with your canine companion. Fido will know you did something to make him happy.

Of course, you may also benefit from going to the park. Spending some time outdoors is good for everyone! 

Are There Downsides To Dog Parks?

The biggest possible downside would be the risk of your pet getting attacked by another pooch. While these incidents are extremely rare, they do happen. (This is why it’s important to choose a great spot.)

There is also a concern that your pooch could potentially pick up parasites or viruses from other pups at the park. Keeping Fido up to date on his medications will go a long way towards protecting him. However, if you’ve just gotten a puppy, you’ll need to wait until your veterinarian gives the thumbs up. Some vaccines must be given in a series, so your canine pal won’t be protected until he’s gotten all of his boosters.

There is also a chance of Fido running off. This is mostly a concern in parks that aren’t securely fenced.

Finally, keep in mind that some dogs just don’t like parks. If your furry friend is fearful or uneasy around other pups, the park could actually be scary for him. That could end up causing behavioral problems, which is definitely not what you want. 

Schedule An Appointment At Your Newmarket, ON Animal Hospital

Are you interested in learning more about our dog park? Is your canine pal due for an exam, vaccines, or parasite control? Contact us, your Newmarket, ON pet clinic, today!