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It’s spring — time for cleanup and the dog park

As the weather turns nicer, dog parks are seeing more fair-weather users, meaning we need to address etiquette in off-leash parks.

We hear of far too many pet injuries caused by preventable incidents. Bringing a fetch toy, such as a ball, can lead to conflict in a dog park. You know its your dog’s toy, your dog knows it’s their toy, but other dogs see “ball” and think it’s for them. While most competitions for a thrown ball will end without incident, some can lead to conflict. So, when you are playing fetch in a dog park, make sure you’re in control of your area.

Be careful, when throwing sticks for your dogs, as dogs can be injuring retrieving them — often when they accidentally jammed on the follow-through. Frisbees or balls are much better options.

Remember, too, that just because you’re in an off-leash part doesn’t mean you have to take your pet off its leash, especially if it can be aggressive. However, if you do keep your dog on-leash, be prepared to control it. Many animals on-leash feel an increased need to protect their companions.

Spring also means it’s time to clean up the yard. At least, it is for those who feed their dogs dry foods.

What do I mean? Well, you know I talk about the benefits of raw food for pets, but one of the biggest benefits comes out the other end of the dog. Or rather, what doesn’t come out. Dogs fed a balanced, raw-meat focused diet do not produce large stools. Indeed, size can reduce by up to 75 per cent, because there are no fillers or indigestible fibre. They’re not just smaller, they are usually drier, have little smell and, if left for a few days, they can just dry up and turn into powder.

Yes, many raw feeders tell us they don’t have pick up poop. At this time of year, our recent converts come in and share their joy at not having to face that dreaded task.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to pick up when you’re on a walk or at the dog park. You still need to pick up, but that chore is also much easier — but don’t have to carry around a big stinky mushy bag until you find an appropriate garbage receptacle. The poop bag is much smaller.

It’s amazing how much of my day is spent talking about poop. We all know it’s a great indicator of health, so keeping an eye on it makes sense.