Dr. Beth Guerra, an emergency veterinarian at Animal Critical Care and Emergency Services (ACCES) hospital in Renton, talks about health and safety issues in the last of a three-part series on taking dogs to public and off-leash parks

Guerra.jpgDr. Beth Guerra, an emergency veterinarian at Animal Critical Care and Emergency Services (ACCES) hospital in Renton, talks about health and safety issues in the last of a three-part series on taking dogs to public and off-leash parks

Seattle is a very dog friendly city. Not only are dogs allowed in most parks and campsites around the state, there also are designated off-leash dog parks where you and your companion can visit with relatively few hazards.

Any time you plan a trip with your dog, you should take time to know your surroundings and make sure your pet is healthy enough for the adventure.

Dog parks can be like day care; there are a lot of animals and diseases that are easily transmitted:

– Fleas can be passed from dog to dog in this environment.

– The eggs of intestinal parasites are shed in the feces of infected dogs and can contaminate the soil.

– There are several viruses, like coronavirus and parvovirus, that can survive in the ground even through harsh weather and can be picked up by dogs.

– Animals with ‘kennel cough’ can transmit the disease through respiratory secretions when coughing.

– Some pets may carry resistant bacteria such as MRSA or fungal organisms on their skin that can cause opportunistic infection when in contact with an open wound or compromised skin in another dog.

Public parks and campsites usually require all dogs be on a leash at all times. This is for the safety of your pet as well as other visitors.

If you are exploring a public park with your unleashed pet, be aware of the surroundings, including the possibility of topographic hazards.

We have seen injuries at our clinic ranging from minor lacerations to fractures or internal injuries from dogs that have fallen from cliffs or off high switchbacks.