We Are Postponing Return To Off Leash Dog Parks
Under normal circumstances before this COVID-19 pandemic, off leash dog parks were part of the overall circuit of places our small dogs group would visit. The above photo is from an outing a few years ago showing my two Lhasa Apsos dogs Chester (RIP) and Roxie with their good friend Raahi at Jack Darling leash free dog park in Mississauga, one of the largest around. All off leash dog parks have been closed to the public as part of the state of emergency in Canada due to COVID-19. According to this CBC article, dog parks in Toronto and many other cities (but not all yet such as Mississauga), are now open again.
I had asked our vet about the issue around dogs interacting with each other just last week and the staff there (by phone and email) stated that there were no clear cut answers yet but sort of steered towards the direction of avoiding other dogs for now. The CBC article sort of says the same thing, ie., there is no evidence of dogs transmitting the corona virus to other dogs nor dogs passing it along to humans. However, vets have stated that theoretically, transmission is still possible. The only cases in the world documented were in Hong Kong when an infected human passed it along to two dogs that both tested positive.
The article also cites other important points to consider though. The first is that leash free dog park gates are high touch areas. Some dog parks might leave these gates open to eliminate this risk. But the other important point that I didn’t think about was that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many dogs have missed their annual vet appointments which have resulted in these dogs behind in the vaccines. So in addition to the corona virus, there’s a chance of dogs may pass other bugs to dogs they interact with at off leash dog parks.
So based on the available information so far, I’ve decided not to bring Roxie to any leash free dog parks just yet. If we lived in a small town far from any high rate COVID-19 infection region, that would be different. If we were fairly isolated in a more remote region, I would probably return to the dog parks with Roxie right now especially since she’s been isolated from all other dogs ever since this COVID-19 pandemic started. But since we are in GTA (Mississauga-Toronto in Ontario) which is a high rate region, we’ll keep our physical distancing pattern which includes both humans and dogs for now.
Small Dogs Group Will Return To Leash Free Dog Parks
But once signs show that it’s okay to resume, outings to off leash dog parks will return to our regular schedule for our small dogs group. Our summer schedule is already posted with tentative events. If you have a small dog 25 pounds or under that is not aggressive and based in the Mississauga, Brampton, Milton, Oakville and Toronto areas, feel free to join us as our outings are listed in our Events section. Those who plan to join us for these outings are advised to get on our email communications list to get all updates to our events in case of sudden changes to our schedule – just see the sign up box below.