Dog Parks & Beach - Furry Friend Friday

Dr. Megan Gibbings
West Coast Animal Hospital

What should pet owners know before taking their dog to a park or the dog beach?

Getting your dog out to the park or the beach is a great way to get them exercise and play. However, there are potential risks associated with these locations, such as illnesses or injuries. Being aware of and prepared for these risks can keep your dog happy and safe.

What common problems should pet owners be aware of at dog parks?

One of the biggest risks at dog parks is intestinal parasites. A large study in the United States found that one in five dogs who went to dog parks tested positive for at least one intestinal parasite. Another concern is a bacterial disease called leptospirosis, which can be shed in the urine of other dogs and wildlife. Dogs can also become injured or fall ill due to drinking too much salt water at the beach, orthopedic injuries, bee sting reactions, or bites and wounds from other dogs.

What are some tips to keep dogs safe at parks or beaches?

Keeping your dog on monthly parasite prevention is one of the most important steps you can take. If your dog frequents parks, it's a good idea to have routine fecal parasite testing done once or twice a year. Be sure not to let your dog drink large amounts of salt water at the beach, and keep them up to date on all their vaccinations. If your dog is at risk for certain orthopedic injuries, it's best to avoid overdoing it with ball chasing. For dogs who don't react well with others when off leash, consider choosing a different setting for playtime.

What should pet owners do if their dog gets injured or ill after a day at the park or beach?

If your dog becomes injured or ill following a day of fun and play, it's crucial to seek veterinary care promptly. Don't delay treatment and reach out to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

For more information, you can contact West Coast Animal Hospital at 619-431-1423 or visit their website at

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (619) 431-1423, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media,