Dark parks reopening: Safety precautions to take to keep you & your pooch safe
As dog parks begin to reopen in South Africa following the ease of lockdown restrictions, it’s important that you and your furry members of the family stay safe and stay healthy. Here’s what you need to know…
As many pet parents know, dog parks come with their own host of risks, from dog fights to overzealous playing leading to injury (cue pet insurance).
Hitting up your local doggie park involves taking a risk, and now, with the coronavirus pandemic, you need to be extra careful. More so than ever before, we need to take additional precautions because it’s not only other dogs or obstacles we have to look out for, but people too.
Here are some of our top ideas for keeping you and your precious pooch safe during these strange (and a little scary) times:
Practice social distancing and follow the rules of the dog park
Before thinking that every dog park is now open, you need to ensure you phone ahead or do some research of your own before heading out only to be met with disappointment. For example, some hiking and adventure parks have reopened their doors, but not all public parks are open.
While you're doing your research, make sure you check out if there are any rules of the park. For example, your dog might have to stay on a leash at all times and only a certain number of people will be allowed to enter at a time.
Once inside, make sure you keep a distance of 2 meters or more between you and other people.
Here are some other guidelines to follow:
- Try to go to the dog parks early in the morning or late in the afternoon as there are likely to be fewer people there are those times
- Avoid touching frequently touched surfaces such as gate handles, tables, community toys and water faucets. If you do touch these objects, make sure you have your hand sanitizer with you to use before getting back into your car, and as always, DON’T touch your face.
- DO NOT go to a dog park if you are feeling ill or have been diagnosed with coronavirus.
Don’t overdo the exercise time for your dog
Your dog will need to slowly ease back into exercising to avoid any injury. Muscles that have not been used for jumping, running and frolicing will need a couple of months to get up to strength again.
Which is why it is a good idea to start with some brisk walks and short runs around your neighbourhood or in the park to build up endurance.
How to practice good hygiene
- Bring your own water and bowl for your dog to avoid having to share water bowls and taps
- Bring along your own toys
- Avoid touching other people’s dogs and leashes
- Make sure you immediately pick up and discard of any poops
- Keep a towel or sheet in your car to protect your seats from getting dirty when your dog jumps back into the car
- Give your dog a bath or a full wipedown with a waterless shampoo when you get home
Another pawesome read: 6 pawfect tips to grooming your dog at home
Alternatives to crowded dog parks
If you are feeling a little uncomfortable going to a dog park that might be overcrowded with pet parents and their dogs, then there are some other options you can look into:
- Research other large parks and hiking trails in yoru areas that are dog friendly, there are a host of amazing and beautiful hiking trails and parks in South Africa that are a great way to spend time in nature with your furry best friend. Why not make a day out of it and pack along a picnic too?
- Go for a walk around your neighborhood to get in some fresh air and exercise
Because we care about you and your furry members of the family, we want to ensure you stay safe and healthy when heading out in public. Remember to always be extra careful, try to refrain from touching anything that other people may have touched and bring along your hand sanitizer!
Stay safe, stay healthy!