Dog Parks Open But Dog Owners Should Exercise Caution

Los Angeles, CA–Now that Los Angeles County dog parks are open, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) wants dog parents to remain cautious as we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

While there is currently no evidence that pets play a role in the spread of the virus, best practices still dictate social distancing. Pets are members of the family, and just like human family members, they must be protected. “It’s best not to allow your dogs to play with other dogs or meet people during daily walks or at dog parks” said Madeline Bernstein, spcaLA President. “Keep a six-foot distance between your dog and others, just as you would with other people.”

If you’ve recently adopted and don’t know your dog’s socialization history with other dogs, it’s best to not introduce your newly adopted dog to other dogs at a dog park. Socialization should take place after you have had some time to build your bond with your dog and practice obedience training using positive reinforcement training methods. It is very important that every dog have a reliable recall command for any off-leash situation. The spcaLA Animal Behavior & Training Department offers live, private online training consultations via video-conferencing. Visit spcala.com/training or email training@spcaLA.com for more info.

Guidance for Dog Owners

• Maintain good hygiene practices by washing hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching pets, in keeping with CDC guidelines.
• Curb your dog’s interest in sniffing excrement of other animals, or picking up refuse on the ground.
• Before you come inside from a walk, wipe your dog’s paws with a sudsy solution of pet shampoo and water. When finished, discard the wipe and thoroughly rinse your pet’s paws with water to remove soap residue. If you have them available, you may consider having your dog wear shoes, socks, or booties outdoors.
• Do not use Lysol wipes, bleach, or other harsh chemicals on your pets. Ask your veterinarian for additional safe options to clean your pet’s paws.
• Bathe your dogs or wipe down their paws if your dog must interact with other dogs.

spcaLA continues to monitor the situation, and will update protocols with any new information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Furthermore, the public is encouraged to stay informed by following these organizations’ websites: World Health Organization, American Veterinary Medical Association, World Organization for Animal Health, and the USDA.