Dog Parks Hazards

Dog parks are places of fun and frolic, but there are hidden dangers, Nationwide pet insurance warns.

Nationwide keeps tabs on dog park hazards as part of their business model. Last year, the company spent more than $10.5 million on medical conditions that are commonly associated with dog park fun.

The company recently sorted through its database of more than 600,000 insured pets to determine the most common dog park-related medical conditions in 2016. Below are the results:

Most Common Dog Park-Related Medical Conditions

1. Sprains & Soft Tissue Injuries

2. Lacerations or Bite Wounds

3. Kennel Cough or Upper Respiratory Infection

4. Insect Bites

5. Head Trauma

6. Hypothermia or Heat Stroke

The most common medical condition on the list was soft tissue injuries or sprains, which affected more than 24,000 Nationwide-insured dogs last year.

Hypothermia or heat stroke, brought on by hot weather, accounted for the most expensive condition on the list, with an average cost of $704 per pet.

Below are a few simple but important tips for helping to ensure a fun and safe trip to the dog park:

• Obey all posted rules and regulations.

• Visit the dog park without your dog during the days and times you anticipate going to see if the “regulars” are a good fit for your pet.

• Pay attention to your dog at all times and ensure that playtime remains friendly. If your dog or another dog is playing too rough, it’s best to remove your dog from the situation.

• Many dog parks have designated areas for large and small dogs. No matter your dog’s stature, be sure to keep them in the area allocated for their size.

• Don’t bring a puppy younger than 4 months old.

• Make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations and flea/tick preventive.

• On warm days, avoid the dog park during peak temperature hours.

• Bring water and a bowl for your dog to drink from.

Look for signs of overheating, including profuse and rapid panting, a bright red tongue, thick drooling saliva, glassy eyes and lack of coordination. If this occurs, take your dog to a veterinarian immediately.

And remember to have fun!

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