Dog Parks Miami Etiquette
Pet Parent Awareness
Don’t you hate it when you are in the dog park and you glance around and parents are engaged in conversation completely ignoring their dog’s whereabouts, or they are reading a book completely oblivious to what is going on? Perhaps they are on their phone engaging in a riveting texting “conversation” or are jibberjabing on the telephone ignoring their pup humping another dog or pooping in the corner? Maybe they stroll into the park without exercising their dog beforehand, or casually leave the dog park gate door open after they absent mindedly stroll in and allow other dogs to escape out of the gate.
All of these irresponsible, careless acts can be prevented and shouldn’t happen, but they do. What can you do to make sure you are not one of those people? Be proactive, by dog training in Miami and engaging with your dog. Or simply do not go to the dog park. If you do decide to go to the dog park, do not go and ignore your dog and let them cause trouble and make everyone else’s experience horrid. Your responsibilities do not end as a parent and a citizen once you enter the park, they just begin.
Entering a park does not give you a license to let your dog poop everywhere without you cleaning it up. Clean up after your dog, it’s the law. If your dog poops in the park or anywhere outside, it is your responsibility as a pet parent and a responsible human being to clean up after your dog and in most municipalities it is the law and illegal not to clean up after your dog. Not being prepared or not having a poop bag is not an excuse. If you run out of bags, improvise, or come back and pick it up after you are able to retrieve a bag to dispose of your dog’s waste. Always bring multiple bags out so if you see another parent without a bag, be a good neighbor and person and offer them one of yours. Having extra poop bags also helps in a pinch if it starts raining out to store your phone or electronic keys in or to make a water bowl for your dog. If you happen to miss exactly where your dog did their business and cannot find where your dog pooped, pay it forward and pick up someone else’s dog poop or some other garbage along the way. The next time, your dog should be in closer proximity so you can keep a better eye on them. Remember, you and your dog don’t want to step in another dogs’ poop, and your neighbor doesn’t want to step in your dog’s either. It is also dangerous to your dog’s health for them to step in other dogs’ poop and get excrement on their paws and/or in their fur. Disease is spread this way and this contaminates our water supply and compromises the entire ecosystem and community’s health!2-4
It is damaging to our water supply and toxic for us and our families when poop and parasites run off into our water supply. According to the EPA:
Pets, particularly dogs, are significant contributors to source water contamination. Probably the greatest health concern associated with animal wastes is pathogens. Many pathogens found in animal waste can infect humans if ingested. Organisms such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, and Salmonella can induce symptoms ranging from skin sores to chest pain. E. coli, which causes diarrhea and abdominal gas, has been the source of disease outbreaks in several States. Particularly virulent strains of E. coli can cause serious illness and fatalities. Cryptosporidium is of particular concern because it is highly resistant to disinfection with chlorine. This protozoan causes gastrointestinal illness lasting two to ten days in healthy individuals but can be fatal in people with weakened immune systems. Dog and cat droppings often contain roundworms and other parasitic nematodes. Infection by just a few roundworms usually causes no problems, but more severe infections may cause fevers, bronchitis, asthma, or vision problems. Cat feces may contain toxoplasmosis, a parasite that infects humans and other animals. Cats are the only animals known to excrete toxoplasmosis oocysts, which are resistant to most disinfectants. Toxoplasmosis is a serious health concern for pregnant women and immuno-compromised individuals.1
The easiest way to prevent these health hazards are to clean up after your dog and to use biodegradable poop bags. How many bags go into the garbage mindlessly every day? All of that plastic ends up in another garbage bag, in some land fill and in someone’s back yard. Help the earth, improve your experiences, your health and your family by being friendly to the planet and our natural resources. Start by being a responsible pet parent and citizen.
Resources guarding, bullying or marauding dogs that steal other dog’s toys are not acceptable activities in any social setting. No one likes a thief or a bully so have your pup learn some manners before entering a public dog park space. Remember, a dog park is meant more for socialization and civility like a Starbucks rather than a rowdy gymnasium.
1. Office of Water. “Managing Pet and Wildlife Waste to Prevent Contamination of Drinking Water.” United States Environmental Protection Agency, July 2001