Dog Runs vs. Dog Parks

Dog parks and dog runs are great places to take your furkid for a few hours of romping and rolling. Parks and runs are also great places to socialize your dog, both with people and other dogs. What, though, is the difference between a dog park and a dog run?

Depending on where you live, the terms ‘dog park’ and ‘dog run’ may be used interchangeably. In some municipalities, however, a dog run is comprised of an area of 1.5 acres or less while a dog park covers at least three acres of land. Even though the amount of land they encompass may be different, great dog parks and dog runs have the best features in common.

The Park/Run Should:

  • be enclosed with fencing that is too high for the average dog to jump over
  • have an entrance that is gated from the main play area to prevent any escapes
  • have separate areas for large dogs and puppies/small dogs
  • have drinking stations or fountains where owners can fill up bowls or water bottles
  • have poo bags for owners that have left theirs at home
  • have picnic tables or benches for owners that allow a clear view of the play area

Health and Safety Requirements

  • all dogs entering the park should be current on all vaccinations
  • no dogs who are known to be aggressive towards humans or animals should be permitted in the park
  • no bitches in heat should be permitted in the park
  • very small children and/or toddlers should not be permitted in the play area
  • rawhide and treat type bones should not be brought into the play area in order to prevent dog fights
  • owners should pick up after their dogs
  • dogs and puppies should be generally healthy and parasite-free
  • prong, chain and spiked collars should not be worn
  • all dogs should wear a current license, name tag and rabies tag as required by law

These are general rules and requirements that the best dog parks and runs establish and enforce. The parks near you may exceed these standards and what you look for in a dog park is really a matter of personal preference. No matter which dog park(s) you and your best fur-friend decide to enjoy, you’re sure to have a great day and a tired pooch when you get home!