Considerations in Designing a Dog Park

There a lot of things to consider before planning building a dog park. For instance, the place where you will build the dog park, its contents and functions. These elements should be analyzed thoroughly. According to a survey that was conducted by a researcher, the design of the dog park is carefully thought of for this determines the future health and experience of visitors whether it be dogs or humans. We should take into considerations the following.

Toxic and Weedy Plants

Before considering building a dog park, a survey of the plants that grow on the proposed area should be named and identified for possible toxic effects. Some plants are considered toxic to dogs. Certain bulbs, some members of the lily family should not be planted as ornamental plants at the park. Thorny plants may cause injury so it is advised that they be removed. Poison Ivy can readily transfer its oily sap from dogs to humans causing rash and severe allergic reactions. Some plants with seeds that easily stick to the dog’s fur and not easily removed should also be eradicated. Examples of these plants are seed pods and cocklebur fruits.

Feces and Parasites

Health issues of humans and dogs visiting the dog park are some aspects that we must put into consideration. The design is important but the design should not overlook its purpose and functions. Sanitation is also important at some point in every construction of facility.

Soil is easily contaminated when dog feces are not picked up immediately. Common worms such as roundworms like Toxocaracanis, hookworms, whipworms and even tapeworms could easily thrive in unsanitary environments. This is a health risk among dogs and humans.

Considerations in Designing a Dog Park
Roundworms

The Toxocaracanis is a common intestinal parasite among dogs. Eggs and larvae are found in feces of infected dogs. The parasite can be spread to dogs by licking the paw, ingesting contaminated soil and water. A female dog can also pass on these roundworms to her unborn puppies. Puppies are also highly susceptible and can develop intestinal problems then become malnourished as it grows. In the long run, serious respiratory problems such as pneumonia could occur.

Considerations in Designing a Dog Park
Hookworms

The second most common parasite to dogs is the hookworm. The larvae Ancyclostomacaninum can infect dogs by penetrating into the skin or mouth lining. Breastfeeding dogs can pass on the larvae to her puppies with its impure milk. The hookworm sucks blood from the lining of the intestine causing blood loss, weakness and malnutrition. Compared to roundworms, the hookworm is more detrimental to puppies. Hookworms can also affect humans. It burrows on the skin and is manifested by itchiness and redness.

Whipworms

Whipworms are whip-like in shape, hence its name. The mode of transmission is similar to roundworms and hookworms. Though the manifestations of whipworms are less harmful, the severe cases can result to weight loss, diarrhea, and also blood loss.

Tapeworms

Tapeworms are thin and flat, and they actually look like thin strips of tapes. Their bodies are made up of joined segments not like the others that were mentioned. They belong to a different class of parasites. Dogs are contracted with tapeworms from eating infected feces or being bitten by infected ticks. The tapeworm lives in the small intestine and survives by ingesting the food that the dog eats.

The parasites mentioned can all live on long periods of time in soil and concrete. So, it is important to provide a good dog grooming at home after a visit to the dog park. You can also ask for a mobile dog grooming service for convenience. A parasitologist suggested dog parks to be visited with caution. Take your dog to the veterinarian to check its overall health before going to the dog park. Ensure that vaccines were given on time to keep dogs protected.

David K Harden of the College of Veterinary Medicine at University of Missouri suggested some practices for dog park sanitation maintenance. This practice is effective for horses but can also be applied to dogs.

  1. Remove feces quickly
  2. Pasture Management
    – Do not overcrowd animals in a designated space
    – Mow the grass frequently
  3. Rotate pasture/pens
  4. Do not feed off the ground
  5. Provide clean water supply
Arthropods/Pests

Mites, fleas, flies and ticks are common pests and sometimes vectors to certain human diseases. The wastes produced by dogs can become sources of flies to swarm around the park. This should not be overlooked. The environment contributes to health and wellness to people and animals. A slight deviance from the expected health standards can be troublesome later on.

A proposed site for a dog park should be inspected by a qualified entomologist. This will identify the actual and potential problems before a permanent site is selected for a dog park. The existing vegetation may also predispose to the arthropods survival. Management of these pests differs depending on what type of pests exists.

Ticks

Ticks feed on the blood of mammals. Ticks have a variety of animals and may feed on. Dogs are common victims. Ticks cling when they run around the park. They may feed on them or transfer to humans. Some of the ticks that are known to infest dogs are brown dog tick, American dog tick, blacklegged tick, and rabbit tick.

Fleas

Fleas are small, brownish, wingless insects that feed on the blood of their hosts. Their hosts are dogs, cats, human, and other animals. They are able to jump from one host to another and they can live longer. A place like dog parks is a good breeding place especially during summer. The most common species associated with dogs are dog flea (Ctenocephalidescanis), and cat flea (Ctenocephalidesfelis).

Flies

These are common pest we often see when litter is not disposed properly. Flies are a nuisance to the community and they are commonly found in unhygienic dog parks. Flies can cause health problems to humans.

As emphasized by most vets and dog experts, dog grooming at home after visiting the park is essential. This is to remove the dirt and pests that clings on its fur. If ticks and fleas continue to infect your dog, then visit the vet for a prescribed dog wash.

These are the elements to consider in selecting the perfect site for dog parks, and facts to know on how to keep dog parks from being the source of dog illnesses. Lectures from entomologist help inform the public pet owners to be vigilant as well.

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