Dog Park | Dog Water Fountains

Dog Park Design & Operations

Operating or managing a dog park is like many other popular amenities, it requires a significant commitment of daily upkeep, maintenance and cleaning. The most important aspect when putting together a dog park is that it is safe and that you are hopefully minimizing the dogs to any health or safety risk at the park.


The safety aspect of the park can be affected by these factors; the location of the park, the size and design of the park, the strict enforcement of the necessary rules, daily maintenance, cleaning and inspection of the park and its elements. The Park should be located in a dry area that has a good balance of shade and sunlight. Keep the park at a safe distance from retention ponds and still water or swampy areas where insects and mosquitos can thrive. If there are any low swampy areas within the park, have landscaping resolve those immediately and keep the grass groomed and the fence line should be kept a to a short height by weed-eating it on a regular basis. The larger the park the more maintenance and the more daily attention is required so make sure you have the ability to service the park size as you plan your initial designs. For Design Assistance visit


It is best to use a minimum 4’ tall fence for small dog areas and minimum 5’ tall fence for a large dog area as a perimeter fence and provide a ‘leash-up’ gate area that allows the main entrance gate to close before the secondary park entrance gate opens. The complete perimeter of the fence should be inspected on a regular basis for any holes or areas that dogs could get out from under the fence and these should be resolved. The bottom of the fence should not be more than 2” from the ground and the ground should have an anti-dig border such as concrete or gravel stones. The spacing between the pickets on the fence should be no more than 3” for the small dog area and no more than 4” in the large dog area. It is good to have separate park areas for small dogs versus big dogs, a separate area for solo dogs and even a designated area as a potty area in an effort to get the dogs to go to the bathroom prior to entering the play area. If you have artificial turf, it should be properly cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis. The Park and its elements should be inspected, cleaned and waste be disposed of before opening each morning and inspection walk thru during the course of the day and at the close of each evening. For fencing visit


It is vital to have a diligent pet waste management system, a clean park is a safe park. Set an expectation goal for your park visitor’s such as; ‘please pick up your pets waste completely and promptly’ – using the 15 second rule. Provide an adequate number of pet waste stations in all areas of the park to make it easy for the park visitors to pick up promptly. It is important that you have the rules posted and it is best to give the visitors a goal or expectation of picking up their dog’s waste and disposing of it properly. This is an essential and critical rule that needs to be prominently published on the park signage and strictly enforced. The Park should be closed during any inclement weather or unique circumstances that may create undue risk, such as flooding in certain areas of the park creating an unsafe area. You want to try to keep things dry and clean to help eliminate fungus or bacterial growth. Make sure any cleaners and disinfectants that are used are pet friendly.

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Providing a fresh water source for the dogs to drink from is ideal and recommended. It is best to have a fresh water supply dog drinking fountain that drains so the dogs are not sharing the same water and that they have fresh clean water. Having water supply for the dogs is very important as their tongue is a main source of cooling for them and the fresh water helps keeps them cool and hydrated.

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In the middle of summer, it is a great fun to put a small shallow splash pool for the dogs to play in and cool off, it is a lot of fun for the park even for the dogs that don’t like the water, they tend to have fun around the pool area.

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Providing some shade in the park makes for a nice addition for the dogs and people to stay cool during hot months. If you use natural trees, use a tree that has a great canopy shade format. Do not use conifer trees or any tree that produces nuts or berries. It is best to research which trees are acceptable in your area or consult with a landscape arborist or horticulture specialist in your area. It is recommended to protect the bark on the tree by surrounding the tree with a barrier are small garden fence so dogs cannot urinate directly on the bark.


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