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Take A Walk In The Park Day: Tips From A Peterborough, ON Veterinarian

March 15, 2024

Does your dog like going to parks? If so, mark your calendar: Take A Walk In The Park Day is March 30th. Many of our canine friends love going to parks. This makes perfect sense. After all, Fido is quite active naturally. He also loves sniffing around new spot, hanging out with his buddies, and going places with his favorite humans! However, there are a few things to keep in mind. Read on as a local Peterborough, ON veterinarian offers some information about taking your pooch to the park.

What Is Take A Walk In The Park Day?

The holiday was originally started as a reminder of the benefits of spending time outdoors. The exercise, fresh air, and sunshine are good for all of us! Getting some outdoor time really can do wonders for our bodies, minds, and spirits. In fact, one study showed that people who could see trees from their apartment buildings were less aggressive than those who couldn’t. And while the holiday was originally meant for people, Fido is more than welcome to come along!

What Are The Benefits Of Dog Parks?

There’s a reason that dog parks have been popping up all over the country over the last few decades. These can be great for our canine friends!

For one thing, parks offer Fido a place to run and play freely. This is really helpful for those who live in apartments. It just isn’t safe to let your pet go off-leash in parking lots or on roadsides. However, a fenced park gives your pet a great chance to burn off those zoomies and play a bit. That’s very important for both your furry pal’s physical health and his mental well-being. Dogs need activity to stay healthy, just as we do! 

Fido will also benefit from the mental stimulation. Dogs 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.  

Socialization is another factor. Our canine buddys are very sociable animals at heart, and they often really both enjoy and benefit from being able to hang out with others of their own kind. This is particularly relevant to those with puppies, as socialization really needs to happen while your pooch is still young. Once your canine friend gets to be about 12 weeks, that window begins to close. Ask your vet for more information.

You may also benefit from going to the park. Time outdoors is good for everyone. Last but not least, it may help strengthen your bond with your canine companion.

What Are The Downsides Of Parks?

There are some cons to taking Fido to the park. The biggest one would be the risk of your dog getting attacked by another pooch. While these incidents are 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 your pet, you’ll need to wait until your vet gives the all-clear. Some vaccines need to be given in a series, so your four-legged friend won’t be protected until he’s received all of his boosters.

Another possible danger would be the chance of Fido running off. This is mainly a concern in parks that aren’tsecurely  fenced, of course.

Also, keep in mind that not all dogs like parks. If your pet is fearful or uneasy around other dogs, going to the park could actually be scary for him. That could end up causing behavioral problems, which is definitely not what you want. 

How Do I Keep My Dog Safe At The Park?

When it comes to animal care, an ounce of prevention is worth several pounds of cure. That certainly applies here!

First and foremost, make sure that your pooch is current on all of their vaccinations and parasite control. You’ll also need to get the all-clear from your vet.

Fido should also be microchipped and wearing current ID tags. When getting your pup’s tags, we would strongly recommend adding the word ‘Reward’ … this can really help motivate people to reach out. 

Choose A Good Park

At the end of the day, 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 perks, such as play fountains. (This would be a great time to mention our dog park, which even has a camera!) 

Choose Appropriate Buddies

Many parks separate the large dogs from the small ones. Keeping Fido with dogs that are similar in size can help even the odds out a bit.

Consult your vet. If you have a friendly, healthy adult dog, Fido may really benefit from going to a park. However, puppies, seniors, and pooches with medical issues just may not be good candidates for going to a park. If your canine buddy is reactive, fearful, or aggressive, he may not be a great candidate for going to the park.

Your Peterborough, ON veterinarian may also know something you aren’t aware of, such as a new virus or perhaps an outbreak of something.

Vet Your Pup’s Playmates

Before letting your four-legged friend go and play, take a minute to look over the dogs that are already there. The biggest concern would be dogs that are acting aggressive. While one would hope that people would know not to take aggressive dogs to parks, this unfortunately is not uncommon.

If you notice any dogs that are being rowdy or bullying other pooches, play it safe and take your cute pet for a walk instead. Come back to the park another time.

Bring Water

While many parks do have fountains, it’s always good to bring some water of your own along. That way, if the facilities aren’t working, you won’t be stuck with a thirsty dog.

Don’t Bring Lunch

It may sound tempting to eat while your furry pal is playing, but there are a  few pitfalls here. Fido’s pals will definitely notice any yummy treats that you dole out, and they’ll probably notice your food. As you can probably guess, this can lead to friction, and even fighting. Be discreet!

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.  

Read The Park Rules

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


Try downloading a pet-friendly app, such as Bring Fido. These can be 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.

Make The Best Of It

Dogs aren’t the only ones who benefit from being able to catch up with their friends and enjoy some outdoor time. This is also a great spot to schedule a meetup with friends or family members who have dogs of their own!  

Make An Appointment At Your Peterborough, ON Animal Hospital

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