Summer Fun With Fido at the Dog Park

The dog days of summer are here and that means it is time to enjoy more outdoor activities with Fido.

If you are a resident of Estes Park, you may already be familiar with the Estes Valley Dog Park managed by Estes Valley Recreation and Park District.

If you are new to town or visiting Estes Park on vacation, you may be very interested to know that we have a free, off-leash dog park.

Located on the south side of U.S. Highway 36 on Community Drive, the 2.5-acre Estes Valley Dog Park is a retreat for your dog after you return home from a busy day of work or exploring.

The park has two fenced in areas with benches, a shelter to keep owners out of inclement weather and play features for dogs to climb in and run through. The park is also connected to the Fish Creek Arm of Lake Estes where dogs love to swim and chase balls thrown into the water by obedient owners.

Rocky Mountain National Park does not permit dogs on the trails so the dog park is also an excellent alternative for getting your doggie outdoors during his visit to Estes Park.

And with the warmer days, that means more dogs are asking to go to the dog park so they can see their buddies and make new friends with the dogs visiting town.
But it is important to keep you and your dog safe while visiting the park.

“We occasionally see dogs come in after visiting the dog park,” said Marie Cenac, DVM (Dr. C), owner of Animal Hospital of the Rockies and Board Member for Estes Valley Recreation and Park District. “The most common visits are for bite wounds and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea caused by ingesting water from the lake or puddles.”

Dr. C also offers a few other recommendations to make sure your dog stays safe while at the park.

First, make sure vaccines are up to date.

“Parainfluenza-parvovirus in particular is a deadly disease and difficult to treat,” said Dr. C. “It lays dormant in the soil for years so it is important to vaccinate for this along with vaccines for canine distemper, leptospirosis, rabies and Bordetella.”

In addition to vaccines, Dr. C has some other tips to keep your dog safe:
-    Bring fresh water and something for your dog to drink out of as there currently is no running water at the park.
-    Know your dog’s personality. Some dogs become overwhelmed by a lot of activity or dogs larger than themselves and this can lead to
     aggressive behavior.
-    Survey the other dogs in the play area before bringing your own dog into the mix to assess for any potential issues. Are all of the dogs
     playing nicely with each other or do there seem to besome canine troublemakers? If so, consider bringing your dog back at a different
-    Survey the park to identify any potential concerns, such as children in the dog park or open gates or fences.
-    Ensure your dog is on leash when entering or exiting the dog park.
-    Always supervise your dog.
-    July and August are hot months even in the mountains so make sure you watch your dog for signs of overheating. Get your dog to stop
     playing, get them in the shade, get them to rest, and get them water.

“Remember that out-of-town dogs, just like people, are not used to the elevation,” said Dr. C. “They may not have the ability to withstand altitude changes and may get dehydrated faster than at home.”

Dr. C also advises that if your dog is showing any signs of coughing, ocular discharge or respiratory symptoms, do not bring it to the dog park.

Enjoy your time with your pooch at the Estes Valley Dog Park.

For more information about the Estes Valley Dog Park, visit