Dr. Julie Damron

3 minutes reading time (511 words)

Dog park offers lots of perks

By Dr. Julie Damron
Stockton Record June 14, 2008

Although the official ceremony doesn't happen until June 21, Barkleyville, Stockton's first city dog park, is now open for business. Indeed, the Feather River Drive facility is already drawing large crowds on a daily basis.

Dog parks are beneficial for both canines and the community in general. Many people don't have space at their home for the vigorous exercise a dog park provides. The park also can enhance tourism by attracting those who travel with their pets.

These venues offer off-leash exercise for your dog. This is very important, as a dog that is frequently active is less likely to be destructive or develop other behavioral problems. Such issues are the primary reason many pets are relinquished and later euthanized.

Frequent exercise makes it less likely that your cherished companion will become overweight, so it increases his or her life expectancy. Owners who exercise with their pets are more likely to stay trim as well.

Dog parks provide good opportunities for dogs to socialize with animals and people. This can reduce fear and aggression, both common behavioral difficulties. A visit is a great opportunity for people to socialize as well. Many of us really enjoy talking about our dogs and often have pet photos in our wallets or on our phone. Seventy-five percent of dog owners consider their pets to be a significant part of the family.

Barkleyville has several important features to keep in mind. There is a double-gated entry to prevent any exuberant escapees and a separate area for dogs 20 pounds and lighter. Children younger than 8 shouldn't play in any of the dog areas, as they are small enough that a running dog could injure them.

The agility section provides an area for you to practice this skill with your canine. The dog park will offer fun activities too, such as breed-specific parties and canine competitions. We also plan to offer pet information as well as other services such as adoptions and microchips.

There are steps you can take to keep the park beautiful and ensure that your pet has a wonderful experience. Make sure you leash your dog when going to and from the park. Always know where your pet is; supervise him or her to make sure everything is going well. Please pick up after your dog, as this helps reduce the spread of worms and flies and makes the park nicer for everyone.

Make sure your pet is current and has completed all vaccines, especially rabies, parvo and bordetella/kennel cough. Dogs should be licensed, and spaying/neutering is recommended. Canines in heat are not allowed.

Please do not bring treats or food with you, as dogs can become aggressive over food. Dropped food also can attract unwanted pests to the park.

Make sure your canine is protected against fleas, ticks and heartworm and drinks plenty of water while at the park. Most of all, enjoy the play time with your cherished canine companion.

Julie Damron is a veterinarian at Sierra Veterinary Clinic in Stockton. Real all her columns at recordnet.com. Contact her at .

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