In order to provide a safe environment for all dogs and dog owners, it’s important to only use dog park equipment and materials that are considered dog-safe whenever you are updating, building and/or planning your dog park.
Good Dog Park Equipment & Materials to Consider:
• Pet-safe mulch –Cedar and rubber mulches are generally safe options, but confirm by looking for non-toxic labeling
• Poured rubber mulch
• Concrete (choose light-colored concrete to discourage heat retention)
• Dog-friendly turf with antimicrobial properties, proper drainage requirements and no infill
• Decomposed granite
• Authorized exercise and agility equipment such as ramps, tunnels, jumps and weave poles to accommodate the many different skill levels of dogs
• Verified dog-safe water splash pads and other water elements
• For safety of humans and dogs, all dog park equipment for both dogs and owners needs to made from quality, durable and rustproof materials like aluminum, galvanized steel, plastic or stainless steel. All hardware should be stainless steel, and no rough or sharp edges should be exposed.
• Hard roof shade structures are encouraged as fabric shading can easily damage through weather elements.
• Smaller dog-waste receptacles spread throughout the park make for more convenient disposal, so it’s good to consider having several smaller receptacles available for dog owners instead of one large waste receptacle.
Dog Park Equipment & Materials to Avoid
• Avoid black/dark materials, when possible, as they hold heat and could burn dog paws
• Cocoa Bean mulch is toxic for dogs
• Anything with sharp edges (ensure all benches, tables, etc. have rounded edges)
• Plants that are toxic or could cause injury to dogs. The list includes aloe, begonia, ivy, lilies, coleus, eucalyptus, Northfolk Island Pine, oleander, Sago palm, and Yucca. For a complete list, go to www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/dogs-plant-list.
• Grass may be easily worn over time requiring ongoing reseeding and maintenance (including watering)
• Avoid landscape fabric as it will be easily dug up by visiting dogs
• To maintain durability, avoid any products or equipment made from brittle PVC pipe or untreated lumber
From Arden Moore, The Pet Health and Safety Coach