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Playing By The Rules: Dog Park Etiquette

Dog parks are conveniently fenced-in areas where you and your pooch can socialize with other pet pals. The problem is, some dogs -- or dog owners -- aren't always so nice. Our Pet Pro"An off-leash dog park is a great place to take a dog for canine play and companionship," says Aguilar. But things could quickly get ugly if you and others don't practice good dog park etiquette.

Before you go to a dog park, you want to make sure your dog is social toward other dogs. If not, a dog park isn't for him. You also want to make sure your dog has all his vaccines so that he doesn't bring home any diseases. If your male dog isn't neutered, beware of any rough-housing: A simple game can become disastrous in the blink of an eye. Similarly, if your female dog is in heat, don't bring her to the dog park - you'd be asking for trouble.

While your dog is having fun, it's your time to supervise and make sure your dog's visit is a pleasant one. Some dogs like to be around their owners more than the other dogs - and that's okay because dogs don't have to be part of the pack. If they're happy being around you, that's fine. Finally, make sure to clean up after your dog - it's only right.One viewer recently asked: "When I take my just-cleaned dog to the dog park, I'm afraid he'll pick up new fleas. Should I worry about this?"

Aguilar says that you should definitely have some concern about fleas and ticks at a dog park. Not everyone is going to care as much as you do about cleanliness. Any preventative flea or tick product will definitely help reduce the risk of infestation.

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