Diagnosis: Dog Park
Tips for avoiding common dog park-related medical conditions.
With summer in full swing, pet owners are escaping to the outdoors to socialize and play with their four-legged friends.
In fact, dog parks are the fastest-growing segment of city parks in the U.S., with a a 34% increase over the past five years, according to a study by the non-profit Trust for Public Land.
As more and more canines head to the dog park, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, is working to remind their owners about the importance of safety when visiting their favorite outdoor spots.
In 2011, VPI policyholders spent more than $8.6 million on medical conditions that are commonly associated with a visit to the dog park--so the company recently sorted its database of more than 420,000 canines to determine common dog park-related medical conditions in 2011. Below are the results:
Common Dog Park-Related Medical Conditions
- Sprains and Soft Tissue Injuries
- Lacerations and Bite Wounds
- Kennel Cough/Upper Respiratory Infection
- Insect Bites
- Head Trauma
- Hyperthermia or Heat Stroke
Each of the above conditions can create a costly vet visit for pet parents. The most expensive medical condition on the list, hyperthermia or heat stroke, cost an average of $584 per pet, while insect bites, the least expensive condition on the list, cost an average of $141 per pet. The most common condition on the list, sprains and soft tissue injuries, cost an average of $213 per pet.
"Pets are treated by veterinarians more frequently during the summer months due to their increased exposure to the outdoors," said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. "The majority of medical conditions that occur at a dog park can be avoided by taking necessary precautions, most notably by keeping a close eye on your dog at all times."
Before visiting, pet owners should understand that dog parks have their rules, just like any other community. Below are some easy, but important tips for keeping your trips to the dog park safe and fun:
- Obey all posted rules and regulations
- Pay attention to your dog at all times
- Don't bring a puppy younger than four months old
- Make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations and has a valid license
- Keep a collar on your dog
- On very warm days, avoid the dog park during peak temperature hours, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Look for signs of overheating; including profuse and rapid panting, a bright red tongue, thick drooling saliva and lack of coordination. If this occurs, take your dog to a veterinarian immediately
How do you keep your dog safe at the park? Tell us below!
10 months ago
We use to go to the dog park all the time. Not anymore. We started to see sick dogs at the park, more and more nasty people that don't understand how dogs think, and lots of dog fights and some human ones too. Let alone the fact that YOU are responsible if your dog bites someone. The city will most likely quarantine your dog for at least 10 days at the shelter where it could get very sick.
The poo issue is out of hand at the Lewisville park...It seems like hardly anyone picks up their dogs poo. Maybe just a hand full do...The rest just look the other way.
If you use the park, all I can say is good luck. I hope your dog doesn't get sick, or torn up in a dog fight, and that you don't end up in court for days on end.
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