Toronto Veterinarians - Pet Wellness Network

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Contact Willowdale Animal Hospital

Open 24 Hours, Year Round

256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

Handy Tips For Hitting the Dog Park

Juggling a new born and home renos we all wish we could just let the dog outside to run around in the backyard. Having a dog in the city, while a welcome member to any family, does come with slightly different responsibilities than owning one out in the country. We need to schedule in walks and doggy playtime – Especially if you’re in a Condo or Apartment building.

Fear not, there is a place you can go, where everybody know your name, (well maybe.) But it is a place where you can let your furry friend run to their heart’s content while you socialize with fellow dog owners, sharing tips and stories of chewed up ballet flats. And no I’m not imaging some Shangri-La, it’s your local dog park.

Dog parks are scattered throughout the city, ask the Vet at your nearest animal hospital and they’ll gladly point out a few areas near by.  Our Vet, at Willowdale Animal Hospital made a few really great dog park recommendations that we now frequent regularly.

Like a nice dinner party there are some general guidelines and etiquette you should follow to ensure you and your dog are always welcome:

  • Safety is the number one priority—yours, your dog’s, other people’s and other dogs. It’s fine to chat it up with fellow owners but always have one eye on your pup. Be on the look out for snarls, ears pulled back, or even signs of submission.
  • Bring treats.  Not just your regular ones either, special ones.  Remember, if you are asking them to stop playing with their newly found buddies and come to you, you had better make it worthwhile.  (Also important when training your dog to come when their name is called.)
  • Pick-up after your dog. Same rules as apply as when taking them for a walk.  If they poop, you’d better scoop!
  • On the leash and off the leash.  Some parks have entrance areas where you can safely unleash your dog before entering and exiting the park, use them when provided as it helps set standards for other dogs.
  • Socialize.  The day trip to the dog park is really about your dog but don’t be afraid to socialize. In fact, most people welcome some small-talk and light conversation.


Sticking to these easy rules will not only make your precious pooch a big hit during outdoor playtime, they’ll also make your regular trips to the off leash area as pleasant and enjoyable as a “walk in the park!”

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