View Full Version : Dog Park Concern

22nd October 2006, 04:35 AM
Kingston and I experienced our first off-leash dog park today! He had a blast playing with the other dogs and jumping around on all the agility equipment. My only concern is that not all the dogs who go there are vaccinated. A lady I talked to had a 9 month old female Chihuahua who had never been to a vet in her life! Kingston has had all his shots, so he should be fine right? I'm worried!


22nd October 2006, 09:28 AM
Gus goes to a dog park and loves it. Though I do keep him in the small dog area. He loves to be around the dogs but doesn't like to wrestle and run like some of the dogs...

I would watch out for the dogs he mingles with.... especially the ones with no shots. that would make me nervous!

molly+charlies mum
22nd October 2006, 11:18 AM
if he has had all his jabs he should be fine,i wish we had parks for small dogs mine has got horrible big dogs running of the lead and being aggresive to the smaller dogs :|

Barbara Nixon
22nd October 2006, 12:25 PM
Your boy will be fine. He's only in slightly more danger (vaccinations do not prevent 100%) if the other dog is ill.

The danger from unvaccinated dogs is that these dogs can catch diseases, so the diseases become more widespread. Health authorities in the UK, have expressed a similar concern about childhood diseases, whcih were once killers, becoming more common, because of the trend in not having babies jabbed, due to worries over the ill effect of vaccines. They say that a child is in more danger of the ill effects of a disease becoming more common than from side effects of inoculation.

23rd October 2006, 12:09 AM
i think that's a good question.
as barbara said, immunity from vaccination is very reliable, though not 100%. If the vaccine was good and given at the right time, and the dog's body is able to mount a normal immune response, then they are going to be immune to distemper and parvo. The AAHA says that this is a potentially valuable use for titer testing, to make sure the dog had a good immune response following vaccination, in order to be more certain and avoid consequences of vaccine failures.

My impression is that, at the dog parks i go to, the risk of infection with parvo or distemper is extremely low to virtually none. there are no reports by long time regulars, who love to gossip about such things, of there ever being any disease attributed to contacts at the park. The owners of the dogs at the two parks i go to are clearly conscientious, and i expect most of them have had their dogs vaccinated, and those who haven't closely supervise and care for their dogs--i've never seen anyone bring a sick dog to the park.

There's another dog park in my area that has a bad reputation as far as dogs not being well supervised, and dog fights being too common, and the place being dirty, so i would think the risk would be higher there. For me, it would partly depend on the condition of the dog park and the behavior of the people there whether i'd worry about it.

Did the woman say why she chose not to vaccinate the chihuahua? To me, there is a difference (in my expectations about the dog's health) as to whether her reason was out of concern for the health endangering possible effects of vaccination, or just being too lazy to take the dog to get the vaccinations. If she just didn't get around to it, i would worry more about the dog's health, while if she made a positive informed decision not to vaccinate the dog in its best interest, i'd expect the dog to be well cared for and more likely to be a healthy dog.

With respect to rabies, in my part of the country, there hasn't been a report of a dog with rabies in years, possibly decades. In the last year data was reported by the CDC, 2001, there were none reported in my state. In the whole US, there were only 89 reported--out of millions of dogs. (if you remove Puerto Rico, the number would be appreciably lower).
2001 incidence of reported rabies in dogs (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/shared_images/surv-01/fulls/dogs_l.gif)
Because of this and because there isn't even any wildlife rabies reported in my area, i am not worried about rabies from a dog park.

Bordatella or other kinds of kennel cough could be caught at a dog park (LauraD's boy Riley had the unfortunate experience). Bordatella is harder to prevent by vaccination because immunity lasts less than a year but people normally just have it done yearly, the common vet recommendation, and it cant be known with exactness at what time the immunity wears off, between 6 and 10 months i think. So it would be easier for this disease to be contracted by a previously vaccinated dog than the core viral diseases, distemper and parvo. The younger the puppy, the more vulnerable; older dogs usually have mild self limited kennel cough disease, not life threatening, but puppies can get seriously ill and can die.

23rd October 2006, 03:51 PM
I have become more concerned about the health of the dogs at our local dog parks. Even if your dog is vaccinated, there are still some things that can be passed from one dog to another. Judy had some really good info in her post, thanks Judy, and I did have to deal with Bordetella that Riley caught from the dog park. That unfortunately led to antibiotics and total isolation from any dog contact for 10 days! :(
As a result, i have decided to take my dog to doggie socials and group walks held by local doggie daycare facilities (who check vaccination records) and dog social clubs (with very responsible dog owners). I am lucky that we have a lot of both groups in my area. I just feel that i want Riley to be social and play, but i don't want to take any chances on his health. Plus, i want to be sure that the dogs are supervised, where they really were not at our local dog parks.
Anyway, take in all the information and do what is best for your doggie and yourself. Safe is better than sorry. :thmbsup:

27th October 2006, 02:58 PM
Before I had a fenced in yard, I used to take Wesley to the dog park daily. He loved it! Wesley is on the larger size (22 pounds) and loved to get tossed around by the big dogs. He is in total heaven getting flipped and slobbered on. All the other dogs loved him too because he is just so darn friendly. When I was working at my old job, I could take him in the morning when there was a nice group of people with really friendly dogs.

When I switched jobs I could only take him in the afternoon and a lot of riff raff (dogs and owners) showed up during the most popular later times. Wesley got attacked by a pitbull mix and the owner blamed me for bringing a "small dog" into the big dog park. Wesley did nothing but walk by the other dog who was obviously completely unsocialized and had a deformed leg (most likely from fighting.) Literally, Wesley walked by and the dog grabbed him by the throat and locked on. My mother in law and I had to punch the other dog repeatably in the mouth to let him go. Everyone at the park backed me up and demanded that she (the owner) leave immediatly. Needless to say I haven't been back since. Wesley is an in-tact male (until November 22nd when his apointment is set) and so was the other dog so that could have had something to do with it, but I am just too nervous to take him back...
We have a big yard with a fence now so he can run and romp without being mauled by some strange dog.

I would just recomend using your judgment at the park. Take a good look at the owners and when you talk to them, they will tell you a lot of what you need to know about their dogs (whether they intend to or not). Its true that people often look like their dogs, but more often their dogs act just like their owners.