Ah, the dog park. It’s a fun place to meet other dog owners and let your pet play with other dogs.

If you’re one of the millions of people who recently adopted a pet, you might have never been to a dog park with your own pet. 

Visiting a dog park for the first time actually requires a little bit of preparation. 

Before you head out to the dog park, make sure you’ve got all the essentials.  Double-check your dog park bag with our dog park checklist. 

Before the Dog Park

Before taking Fido to the dog park to play, there are a few things you need to take care of. The following will help protect your pet and other dogs at the park.


Whether you just adopted a puppy or rescued an older dog, you need to ensure they are up to date with their vaccinations. Dogs typically get vaccines for heartworm, kennel cough, and Lyme disease by turning 2 years old. 

ID Tags

ID tags should have your dog’s name and your contact info. This will help you, and your dog avoid a crisis if your dog runs off.

Your Dog Park Checklist

Now that your dog is vaccinated and has an ID tag on its collar, you both are ready for the dog park. Here is what to pack in your bag:

Poop Bags

The number one item you need when you visit the dog park is a few doggy bags. While most dog parks supply them next to the wastebasket, you should always have some on hand. 

Dog Leash

Your dog needs to be on a leash when you walk to and from the dog park. This is especially true if you are walking near a busy street or parking lot. 

Breakaway Collar

In addition to your normal dog collar, consider bringing a special break-away collar for your pup. Breakaway collars are safer than normal collars when it comes to playing with other dogs.

Breakaway collars prevent strangulation if your dog’s collar gets stuck in fencing or another dog bites your dog’s collar.

Water Bowl

Don’t forget to bring a portable water bowl and water for your dog. Playing outside gets tiring, and they will need a sip of water.

What NOT to Bring

You shouldn’t bring a few things to the dog park if you want to practice good dog park etiquette. Some of the following may surprise you.

Dog Treats

No matter how good your dog is, you probably shouldn’t bring dog treats to the park. Other dogs might flock to you expecting a treat.

Your Dog’s Favorite Toy

Leave your dog’s favorite toy at home. They will become territorial over it.

Small Children

Try to leave any small children at home. Having to watch over small children and your dog can be overwhelming. Plus, you don’t want your small child to get pushed over by an excited big dog!

Practice Good Dog Park Etiquette

To have a good first trip to the dog park, you need to be prepared. If you follow this dog park checklist, you’ll have everything you need. After your first few trips, you’ll be able to prepare your dog park bag in no time!

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