Planning to visit a local dog park so your canine companion can blow off some steam? Dog parks are the ideal setting for exercising, socializing, and bonding with your pet. To ensure the safety of all patrons, both canine and human, it is important to remember dog park etiquette and that every dog park has rules and guidelines. Following those rules and using appropriate dog park behavior is part of being a responsible pet parent. It’s up to you to mind your manners and ensure your canine companion does the same.

READ ALSO: Top 10 dog names for 2022

READ ALSO: 10 dog-friendly restaurants in the Valley

Here is a list of dog park etiquette tips to make your next trip fun and safe for everyone. Let’s go!

Make sure your dog is vaccinated – The dog park will likely require all canines to have current immunizations. Visit Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit for a wide range of vaccination treatments, including rabies, parvo, distemper, kennel cough, and canine influenza. Make sure to ask your vet questions if you’re unsure which shots are necessary.

Dr. Kelly Patriquin (right), DVM, and Doug Patriquin, CEO, are the owners of Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit,

Put your phone away – In addition to providing your dog with beneficial exercise, dog parks can also help us humans make better decisions by encouraging us to enjoy the great outdoors, spend time with our companions, and practice mindfulness. If you are looking at your phone you may lose track of your dog and miss a clean-up opportunity, she may have left for you. Also, you want to keep an eye on what your dog is doing to ensure she is safe from other dogs.

Watch for signs of impending trouble – If loose packs start to form, play may become violent, or bullying can occur, shift into referee mode. If other dogs become persistent it may be time to leave

Clean up after your pup – Be ready to scoop, bag, and properly dispose of your dog’s waste when it relieves itself. Leaving messes isn’t just unsightly, it’s unsanitary. It’s a fast way have your dog spread or be exposed to diseases

Leave your dog home if she’s in heat – Taking your dog to the park during a heat cycle might lead to unwanted pregnancy or certainly some heavy attention. We always recommend spaying or neutering your pet. There are often low-cost options near you and Dr. Kelly’s may be one. 

Always keep a leash with you – You may need to take your dog out of the park quickly and you will want to be able to step in.  Aggressive activity is a good reason to depart.

Don’t bring food into the dog park – Other dogs might not behave well around people who are eating, and they might get hostile towards you if they smell food. This includes dog snacks as other dogs may become very interested in your stash of treats.

Maybe Leave small children at home – Overly rambunctious canines have a habit of knocking over toddlers or kissing faces at dog height. Unfamiliar pets might expose children to potentially traumatic encounters or injuries. Just be careful and keep a watchful eye.

Make sure your dog has a well-fitted collar and microchip ID – You can help to ensure your dog’s safety by making sure they always have a collar with tags on them. For further peace of mind, Dr. Kelly’s offers pet owners affordable microchipping. A registered microchip with current contact information can almost guarantee your pet will be returned if found while lost.

Know when to leave – Your pup will get tired and thirsty. Keep an eye on how your dog may be feeling. Your dog may also be the excited one causing some issues. If your pup causes others some distress perhaps the visit should be cut short, and you should try another time. 

The dog park can be a happy place for both canines and owners with a little dog park etiquette! Follow these basic guidelines to ensure that everyone can play together safely.


Authors: Dr. Kelly Patriquin, DVM, and Doug Patriquin, CEO, are the owners of  Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit, a specialized veterinary practice, offering affordable and convenient surgical care for pets at 6 locations in the Phoenix and Tucson Metro areas. Services include a variety of low-cost surgical care including spay/neuter, dental cleaning and extractions, mass removals and more. The Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit team has performed over 120,000 affordable procedures since 2016. For more information, visit