Safety and Health Concerns at the Doggy Park

By Nationwide, Special for  USDR

 While frolicking in the park can be great exercise and a good time for our playful pooches, some canines may return home from the dog park with more than just new four-legged friends. Medical conditions commonly associated with a visit to the dog park include sprains, bites and head trauma. As park visits increase during the warm summer months, Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, reminds dog owners about the importance of safety when visiting their favorite dog  park.

Last year, Nationwide members spent more than $10.5 million on medical conditions that are commonly associated with dog park fun. Nationwide recently sorted through its database of more than 600,000 insured pets to determine the most common dog park-related medical conditions in 2016. Below are the  results:

Most Common Dog Park-Related Medical  Conditions



Sprains & Soft Tissue Injuries


Lacerations or Bite Wounds


Kennel Cough or Upper Respiratory Infection


Insect Bites


Head Trauma


Hyperthermia or Heat Stroke


The most common medical condition on the list was soft tissue injuries or sprains, which affected more than 24,000 Nationwide-insured dogs last year. Hypothermia or heat stroke, brought on by hot weather, accounted for the most expensive condition on the list, with an average cost of $704 per  pet.

“The dog park can be a great place for friendly dogs to socialize and exercise, but there are safety measures dog owners need to be aware of,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for Nationwide. “Many of the medical conditions on our dog park-related injury list can be avoided by taking necessary precautions, but some are out of the owner’s control. If any of these issues occur, dog owners should head to their veterinarian or emergency animal hospital for  treatment.”

Below are a few simple but important tips for helping to ensure a fun and safe trip to the dog  park:

  • Obey all posted rules and regulations.
  • Visit the dog park without your dog during the days and times you anticipate going to see if the “regulars” are a good fit for your pet.
  • Pay attention to your dog at all times and ensure that playtime remains friendly. If your dog or another dog is playing too rough, it’s best to remove your dog from the situation.
  • Many dog parks have designated areas for large and small dogs. No matter your dog’s stature, be sure to keep them in the area allocated for their size.
  • Don’t bring a puppy younger than 4 months old.
  • Make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations and flea/tick preventive.
  • On warm days, avoid the dog park during peak temperature hours.
  • Bring water and a bowl for your dog to drink from.
  • Look for signs of overheating, including profuse and rapid panting, a bright red tongue, thick drooling saliva, glassy eyes and lack of coordination. If this occurs, take your dog to a veterinarian immediately.

About Nationwide pet  insurance
With more than 600,000 insured pets, pet insurance from Nationwide, formerly known as Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), is the first and largest pet health insurance provider in the United States. Since 1982, Nationwide has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet  lovers.

Nationwide plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, nearly half of all Fortune 500 companies offer Nationwide pet insurance as an employee  benefit.

Insurance plans are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2016); National Casualty Company (all other states), Columbus, OH, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2016). Pet owners can find Nationwide pet insurance on Facebook or follow on Twitter. For more information about Nationwide pet insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

About  Nationwide
Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, commercial, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; banking and mortgages; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit

Nationwide and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. ©2017  Nationwide.

SOURCE  Nationwide

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.