The Community Benefits of Dog Parks

Written by Whitney Greene

Giving our furry friends a safe space to romp can bring engagement and social benefits to your whole community.
Recreational Programming Ideas to Engage Millennials in Your Community

Download our eBook

Download Now

As a parks and recreation department, you field requests for new amenities daily. What about dog parks? Do they offer benefits to your community that justify the time and cost spent to build and maintain them? Here at CivicPlus®, we did some research, and we’re confident you’ll say, “Let the dogs out,” once you finish reading our list of community benefits from dog parks.

Increase Resident Health

Many people fostered, adopted, and bought dogs during the pandemic to keep them company. It was long days of work-from-home life surrounded by a looming cloud of the unknown. Now that companies are returning to the office and people are out socializing more, pets are often kept at home for long periods. Their human owners may also be missing out on essential exercise.

Creating dog parks for your community can help provide chances for physical activity and fresh air for your residents and their favorite furry companions. Dog daycare and personal walkers can be pricey. Having a safe, clean area for people to exercise their pets can significantly affect dog quality of life and human socialization — especially if the park is in an urban environment that, by nature, inhibits running around in wide open spaces. Also, if you’ve ever played fetch with a dog, you know how physically intensive it can get — even more so if your dog decides to change the game to Keep Away.

Foster a Sense of Community

Humans have coexisted in groups for multiple millennia. One analysis conducted by Brigham Young University on the effects of social interaction on human illness concluded: “That social connections with friends, family, neighbors, or colleagues improves the odds of survival by 50%.” The correlation between health and human interaction is well documented.

Getting people outside their homes and offices is growing harder with social media and a rise in depression and anxiety across the globe. Most people adore their pets, and when there are dog parks in their community, they love to take their pooch. When humans congregate in places like dog parks, they naturally tend to form connections over their shared responsibilities as pet owners. What better time to ask about a vet referral or local dog treat bakery if you’re new in town than at a dog park? People love to share training tips and plan dog play dates. Dog parks are an excellent way to organically foster a sense of community in your local area.

Repurpose Land

The NRPA (National Recreation and Park Association) shared a remarkable way our #CPFamily member Stockbridge, Georgia was able to repurpose a floodplain into a dog park. The City “used the space creatively, installing plantings and paths to absorb rainfall at the lower elevations of the park and placing the agility equipment at a higher elevation. Where needed, an underdrain system was installed to help divert stormwater to a pond, creating more effective drainage after heavy rainfall.”

That’s just one example of how underutilized or abandoned land can be transformed into a dog oasis and benefit the larger community. Green space is hard to come by in urban areas, so by building or repurposing land for dog parks, you can improve the health of the land and your residents.

Dog parks are growing in popularity across the United States. They offer a safe place for pets and owners to get fresh air, exercise, and supervised socialization. Dog parks also allow communities to improve the landscape aesthetic and safety. Whether you’re a cat or dog person, it’s safe to say communities love designated spaces for their precious pets.