Metroparks Meetup: Dog Park Safety

Metroparks Meetup: Dog Park Safety
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 7:34 PM EDT
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While strolling through one of Toledo’s Metroparks on a warm spring day, you’re bound to see man’s best friend.

There are also two dog parks in Lucas County, with a third one under construction Oregon. Getting outside to play and using those legs is an important enrichment activity for dogs, but if you plan to visit one of those parks, there’s some important safety considerations you need to keep in mind.

“Make sure your dog is vaccinated before you go to the Metropark,” said Cassie Bloomfield, the LC4 Community Outreach Coordinator. “There’s wild animals and other dogs, you never know what you’re going to encounter. So you’re going to want to make sure your dog is as healthy and safe as possible.”

In addition to ALWAYS picking up your dog’s droppings, be sure to retrieve all treats and toys you brought to keep other dogs safe from allergies and disease. During inclement weather the dog park may be closed, and in the past that has led to some angry backlash on social media.

“If we allow this to be open when it’s rainy and muddy, this place would just get destroyed,” Brad Navarre, Chief of Rangers told us. “So we’re trying to keep it in the best shape possible for you to enjoy it with your dog.”

As for outside the dog parks, our four-legged friends have to remain leashed and are not allowed in play areas for children. But it’s not just dogs; any domesticated pet can taken for walk, as long as it can be controlled by the owner.

“We have had some exotic animals,” chuckled Navarre. “Recently we had someone come in with a python on a leash, and he wanted the snake to just enjoy the grass and the outdoors. And that was okay.”

As for the more common pets with fur, be wary about the traditional method of petting. “A big misconception is that you want to stick your hand out into the dog’s face. That can be intimidating to dogs you know, people wouldn’t want that to happen to them… dogs are the same way,” explained Bloomfield. “You just want to make sure that you stand pretty still, keep your hands at your side, and let that dog approach you. Sort of just be courteous and respectful of that dog, just like you would be courteous and respectful of another human being.”

The dog park at Middlegrounds Metropark has two parts: one for smaller dogs, and one for larger dogs. Most other Metroparks do allow dogs to be walked but there you do need to keep them on a leash at all times in accordance with Ohio state law.