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Nov 14

Carlisle Area Dog ParksDog Park Etiquette

Dog Park Etiquette

After spending most of my time at dog parks and off leash hiking trails I’ve seen it all. Dog fights, injured dogs, injured humans, adults fighting like children and, sad but true, an unnecessary killing of a small dog. The patterns are the same every time and it all could have been prevented. If everybody would just follow some simple rules and etiquette it would make life much easier for all of us. After all, it should be fun for the dogs and relaxing for us!

ABIDE BY THE POSTED RULES. No matter what dog park you are at, there are regulations posted clearly at the entrances for a reason. These include the size and age of the dog that is allowed, how many vaccinations are needed and rules about the behavior of your dog. At CADPA, these rules are:

1. Only dogs registered with CADPA may enter the fenced area. Each dog must be licensed as per PA law or per residence state’s law, vaccinated for rabies and Bordatella (kennel cough), and owner/handler must have a CADPA key fob. Maximum of 3 dogs per registered adult are permitted within one of the fenced areas.
2. Dogs weighing less than 30 pounds must use the Small Dog Area and dogs weighing more than 30 pounds must use the Large Dog Area.
3. For their safety, children under the age of 12 years and dogs under 4 months or with an illness or injury are not permitted within fenced area. CADPA will host events for puppies and children in one area of the park at scheduled times.
4. Scoop the Poop! Pick up your dog(s) feces immediately both inside & outside fenced areas.
5. All dogs 6 months and older must be spayed/neutered.
6. Aggressive dogs are not allowed. Dogs exhibiting aggressive behavior must be removed immediately, without debate. For everyone’s safety, repeated aggressive behavior will result in dog’s permanent expulsion from the park. Aggression is defined as behaviors that include but may not be limited to:
a) Persistent interaction of dog to dog with intent to do harm.
b) Bullying of dogs(s) that escalates.
c) Singling out one dog and pursuing it with ill intent.
d) Not backing off when a dog submits.
e) Dog that intimidates or is aggressive to humans.
7. Keep ‘em safe! All dogs must be leashed when outside the fenced areas. Each dog shall have a leash no longer than six feet and have on a buckled collar. Prong, spike and choke collars are not permitted inside the fenced area. Please keep leash(es) with you while in the fenced areas. Remove leashes before allowing dog through the inner gate.
8. Stay with your dog(s). Dogs must be within view of their owners, in the same fenced section of the park, and under voice control at all times. If your dog starts to dig, please stop him and fill in any holes.
9. Food or treats (human or dog), glass containers, strollers, bicycles, childrens’ or dogs’ toys are prohibited within the fenced areas. Smoking is not permitted.
10. Carlisle parks – including the dog park – open at dawn and close at dusk.

WALK DON’T RUN TO THE PARK. I often see humans being dragged to the dog park by their dogs, and I think to myself, if that guy can not control his dog before entering the park, he surely will not be able to control her inside the dog park. You should have control of your dog at all times, whether on or off a leash. Walking your dog should be a pleasure not a chore where your arms get dragged out of their sockets. A dog park is not the place to bring your dog as a substitute for walking your dog. To release mental frustration in your dog you must first walk your dog before entering the dog park, otherwise that excited mental energy could turn into a fight among the other dogs at the park.

HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS ABOUT YOUR DOG’S SUITABILITY FOR GOING TO A DOG PARK. If he isn’t polite or friendly with others, get help to change his behavior before you take him to a dog park. Dog parks are not a place to rehabilitate fearful or aggressive dogs or those that just don’t know how to play well with others. Before you take your dog into a dog park, spend a few minutes watching the other dogs and how they are playing and interacting with others. If the dogs seem to be too rough in their play or are intimidating other dogs, come back some other time. If your dog has never been around other dogs before – don’t go to a dog park until he’s had a chance to be around other dogs in other situations so you have a better idea of how he reacts to other dogs. If you aren’t sure how your dog will behave, don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to muzzle your dog the first few times he goes to a dog park. Better safe than sorry.

HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS ABOUT YOUR SUITABILITY FOR GOING TO A DOG PARK. Your mental attitude and emotions are clearly communicated to your dog whether you will it or not. If you are tense and nervous, your dog will be tense and nervous also and hence a target for the other dogs. If for whatever reason you are scared of big dogs, Pitbulls, Shepherds or any kind of dogs, DO NOT COME to a dog park! If you are not scared of dogs but might be scared that little Poochie could get dirty, DO NOT COME to a dog park. Nervous energy translates directly into nervous or aggressive behavior in your dog, which usually results in a freak accident. Try to remain calm. This one is especially for the ladies, DO NOT SCREAM IN A HIGH PITCHED VOICE. It will make it worse. Try to remain calm and if you must scream, try to lower your voice and yell in a more authoritative manner!

LEAVE THE LATTES AND CELLPHONES AT HOME. Collisions with rambunctious dogs are common, and it doesn’t take much to upend a steaming beverage on someone else or a dog. And even if it’s not already prohibited by the posted rules, don’t bring alcohol or come tipsy. YOU CAN’T PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR DOG WHILE ON THE CELL PHONE OR LISTENING TO YOUR IPOD. It takes about 1/100th of a second for a dog to go from nice to mean, and by the time you hang up your iphone, 3 dogs can gang-up on and eat your dog. Turn off your cell phone and bond with your best friend.

BRING EXTRA ESSENTIALS. Poop bags are not provided by the city – bring your own or help out by bringing your empty grocery bags and stuffing them in the containers provided for others to use. If you have a problem with your dog drinking the water in the bowls provided, bring your own bowls and your own water. I once watched a man clean the dog park bowl with Comet and then expected all the dogs to drink out of it. It was a beat up, scratched and bitten plastic bowl – not something that could be easily rinsed of the Comet residue.

DON’T PLAY DUMB. No one likes an owner who pretends not to notice when his pooch is relieving itself five feet away. Or when his dog is repeatedly trying to deflower the poor beagle in the corner. Or when his dog is vying for the title of Ultimate Fighting Champion, to the chagrin of irritated or scared four-legged peers and their owners. It is advisable to remove your dog from any situation the moment you sense any sort of tension in the dog pack. If it is your dog who seems to be instigating the fighting, it is important to recognize the issue and reconsider whether or not your pet really belongs in an off-leash environment. Too often, owners cannot accept or will not admit that their dog has aggression issues, and as a result, they put other dogs and people at risk. Be knowledgeable about dog body postures, communication signals and social behavior. You should be able to recognize stress, tension, fear, play, threats and aggression. Know the difference between play (which can be very active and sound violent) and real threats. Know when to intervene and when to stay out of an interaction among dogs. If you feel uninformed about canine behavior, learn more before taking your dog to a park. Harm can come to your dog if you under-react as well as over-react.

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR DOG(S) . That means you are In Control of your dog at all times…if a dog doesn’t want to be humped by YOUR dog, you need to get her/him off the other dog. Don’t expect other dogs to “correct” your dog or “teach it a lesson” – that’s your responsibility before you even come to a dog park . Too many people make the mistake of letting their animals run free and completely disconnecting from them the entire time their dogs are out socializing. By sitting on a bench and waiting until it’s time to go home, you are potentially setting your dog up for getting hurt or starting a fight. Dogs don’t instinctively know how to behave in groups. They learn their code of conduct through interactions when young. Unfortunately, many miss the early lessons because they’re not exposed to other dogs or were taken from their litter mates too soon, and they have trouble catching up. While other dogs their age know when a look means back off, these naive newbies think everything is fair game.

WHEN YOUR DOG SAYS “HELLO”. When your dog is greeting another dog be aware of both of the dogs’ demeanors. Friendly postures generally involve the dog making him or herself “smaller” relative to the other dog. This, along with other physical posturing, serves to decrease their potential threat to others. Dogs exhibiting passive submission tend to have an averted gaze, lower their neck and ears, lick, groom and paw. Not so friendly greetings involve the dog making itself appear larger. Erect stance, head up, ears forward, tail up (possibly flicking tip), stripping (hair up on neck/back, puffed tail hair), direct stare (pupils may or may not be dilated), raised lips, low tone growl, snapping, etc.

WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN ANOTHER DOG JUMPS ON ME? While some suggest an inhumane knee in the chest or a bonk on the nose, the truth is that since the bouncing Bozo’s just after your attention, the best medicine is to fold your arms, turn around, make like a statue and hold perfectly still – be totally boring. That means don’t touch him, don’t yell at him, just ignore him as if he doesn’t exist.

HE IS JUST PLAYING Sometimes people mistake vocal play with aggression and get scared. If someone asks you to take your dog away form their dog, even if you know better do not argue and just do it. Apparently they are scared and tense up. This could  affect the dogs which could result in a fight. Prevent before it happens! Dog fights can and do occur. The most successful dog parks are the ones with an active user group. An active users group can reduce the risk of dog fights significantly. They step in and encourage or demand (as the case requires) leashes or removal of aggressive dogs. Most dogs are not aggressive because they are not on their own territory. The dogs that use the park most successfully are dogs that were socialized very young and had good experiences as they visited. Depend upon and learn from the dog savvy people to see indications of an impending squabble. Redirecting the dog’s attention at exactly the right moment can make all the difference. Your tone of voice and your body language will also make a big difference. Keep calm, don’t praise fearful or aggressive behavior by “soothing” the dog with petting and cooing sounds. AGGRESSION IS NOT CUTE. I often see people watch their dogs pick fights with other dogs while they make stupid statements like “Oh he likes to play rough”

KNOW WHEN TO LEAVE. This is perhaps the biggest etiquette breach of all. If your dog is being too aggressive (teeth bared, growling, biting, eyes narrowed), get it out of the park immediately. Boorish behavior can quickly escalate to an injury. It gets so confrontational, and everyone gets involved and people take sides. Those are the worst scandals in the dog park. If your dog is frightened with tail between it’s legs and trying to hide between yours, take it out of the park – it’s not ready yet for a mass of dogs. Come back when there is only one or two dogs and learn how to introduce your dog to others. If your dog is constantly barking at other dogs and you are asked to take care of it, please be courteous to fellow park goers and neighbors. Stop your dog’s barking without arguing, even if it means leaving the park.

NO FOOD MEANS ABSOLUTELY NO FOOD I always thought it’s an absolute no-brainer but apparently I was wrong. There is a reason why we use dogs to find buried humans, drugs, weapons and so on. Dogs have 300 million specialized scent-detecting organs lining their nasal cavity. So, what makes you think you can put dog treats in your pocket and not be bothered by creatures that have an enormous ability to smell and that live for food? If you don’t want to get bothered don’t bring food!  Use the same logic for bringing human food to the dog park or throwing gum wrappers and cigarette butts on the ground. All these are temptations for dogs, especially ones that are out-of-control and won’t listen to a “leave it” command.

BREAKING UP A FIGHT Many times it’s more noise than real fighting. The worse things you can do are to panic and scream. Never try to pull your dog off by his collar. The chances of getting bit are very high. Try to grab the dog by his hind legs or, even better grab him by his hip/waist. You can really dig in his fur and skin and pull him off. The typical reaction for a dog is to look back and to see what grabbed him. That is your chance to pull him off the other dog. Please, use your common sense. If you think the situation is too dangerous let other people handle it! If your dog started the fight, you should ask the other persons involved if everything is ok with them and their dog!

THAT THING CALLED HUMPING No, your dog is not gay if he is humping other male dogs and he isn’t horny either.  Humping is pure dominance. Don’t freak out and please don’t be embarrassed when your dog is getting humped or humping others. Give your dog a moment to take care of it himself (which usually means that he/she will growl back at the other dog). If your dog is passive/submissive and YOU are uncomfortable with the humping, kindly ask the other owner to take away the other dog.

TOYS Toys are great…for home. If your dog has a favorite toy at home, DO NOT BRING IT TO THE PARK! It can trigger possession and aggression. Chances of a fight breaking loose are very high.

THE NOT SO GOOD “PICK ME UP” If for whatever reason a situation escalates and bigger dogs team up and pounce on a small dog, never, ever pick up the small dog and try to leave the park. The moment you pick up the little one you are putting yourself and your dog in danger. The other dogs will jump up on you and will try to pull the little dog down. Chances of you getting bit are very high. In a scuffle stand over your dog to protect him and push the other dogs away. Try to stay calm. Same rules for bigger dogs: never pick up any dog when other dogs are around! Make sure that running dogs are not actually chasing a dog that might be a weak submissive dog. It’s natural in the wild for dogs to eliminate dogs in the pack that are weak, but we don’t want that happening in the dog park. Intervene by breaking the pack up and sending each dog away from the weak dog. Do not pick up the weak dog, this only agitates the rest of the dogs and they will start jumping on you to get at the dog.

DON’T TURN YOUR BACK Use all your common senses at the park. A dog usually sticks in a close perimeter around the owner. Which means if he is playing and romping around it will be most likely around your knees. Just be aware and ready to react quickly and jump to the side. A collision can be very painful! Do not turn your back on playing dogs!

DOG PARK ATTIRE It’s a dog park and usually it’s dirty. I wouldn’t recommend wearing your designer clothes to the park. Nor would I recommend wearing skirts or flip flops. Have you ever stepped in a nice fresh turd with open toed shoes? Which leads me to my next point….

Eeeeeeewwww I STEPPED IN DOO-DOO It happens to all of us, we are caught up in a lively discussion and we don’t realize Fido just placed a nice turd in the middle of the park. Now multiply this by 20 dogs a day and you have a mess. Keep an eye on your dog at all time and pick up the doo-doo even when it’s on the other side of the park. If you pick up poop and there is poop in close proximity be courteous and pick it up as well. We all benefit from a clean park!

LEARN TO RECOGNIZE WHAT APPROPRIATE PLAY IS LIKE. Play is usually bouncy and is punctuated by short rests. If wrestling matches or chase games go on too long, they can escalate into a fight. Monitor your dog’s play and interrupt every now and then to remind Fifi that her alpha animal is paying attention. This also reminds her to check in with you every so often. High set, slow wagging tails or not wagging at all and ears held straight up are signs to watch out for that either dog is considering a possible conflict. Be quick to intervene before it leads to anything more.

WATCH FOR BULLYING BEHAVIOR. Jumping on top of another dog, pinning, or continuous chasing are aggressive behaviors. If another dog bullies your dog, leave the area, or even the park, if necessary. If your dog begins to bully another dog, it’s definitely time to leave the park. This sends a strong message: Sorry, Charlie. If you bully or harass other dogs, the fun ends and we go home. Know your dog. Is your dog water or toy-aggressive? Will your dog snap if someone takes his ball? Will he cause a scene if someone tries to share his water? If you answered, “yes” to either of these questions, then your dog might be the park bully. Consider seeing a trainer and keeping your dog at home until the questionable behavior has been resolved.

RESPECT OTHER PEOPLE AT ALL TIMES. We often share the parks with people who are there without dogs—like bikers, joggers, and families with children. Keep your dog close and focused on you when you approach someone who doesn’t have a dog. Absolutely do not let your dog run up, bark, jump and say hello, or chase anyone. Some people aren’t comfortable around dogs, but everybody has a right to enjoy the parks and trails. Avoid disciplining another park user’s dog. If you must use force to break up a fight, so be it, but do not attempt to “punish” someone else’s dog once the conflict is ended. If you find another dog’s behavior unacceptable, take your own dog out of the park rather than “correcting” someone else’s dog.

ENROLL YOUR DOG IN AN OBEDIENCE CLASS, THEN PRACTICE AT THE PARKS. It’s important that your dog be under your control whenever  you’re in public, and that he comes when you call him, every time. Practice obedience training at the park and reward your dog for responding to your call, voluntarily checking in with you, and staying close. Remember that dogs will do whatever brings them positive attention from you. The more you reward them for the behaviors you approve of, the more they will offer them. Teach your dog by calling it to come to meals, walks and treats. Don’t call it to scold it, or it will associate the command with punishment.

BE A KEEN OBSERVER OF CANINE BODY LANGUAGE. Tucked tail, lowered ears, bared teeth, snapping, and avoiding interaction are all signs that a dog is afraid or stressed. A tail held straight up in the air and barely moving is also a warning sign. Threatening behaviors in dogs include leaning forward, almost on tip toes to make themselves appear as big as possible, staring directly at another dog, and moving slowly. The best posture for a dog in a group is ears relaxed and mostly back on the head, head lower then the shoulders, tail straight out – not tucked or up (for dogs with very curly tails, check the ears and mouth – make sure there is no tension or tightness).

BE AWARE OF SIGNIFICANT SIZE DIFFERENCES. Large and small dogs can play together safely, but always be attentive and cautious. Yelping or squeaking from a small dog can trigger a larger dog’s predatory instinct. Ooh, the big boy may think, it’s a squirrel or a bunny, not a dog! Stay close by whenever your little guy is playing with larger dogs and intervene immediately if you sense trouble brewing.

So get out and enjoy the great parks and trails in our city with your “best friend”. Just remember: By being a responsible pet owner and following some sensible rules, you help keep public spaces safe and enjoyable for all.

Create a park culture
We humans are responsible for our dogs’ behaviors, hence we play a critically important role in making sure proper etiquette is adhered to, by our dogs as well as ourselves. It only takes one renegade to spoil a park for other users. The best dog parks are those whose users band together to create a sense of community, who use education, peer pressure and, when necessary, call in the appropriate authorities to help regulate those who won’t follow the posted rules or rules of etiquette and common sense.

Rules of engagement
As Patrick Swayze says in the movie Road House, “Be nice until it’s time to not be nice.” If a human or his dog is behaving inappropriately, assume they don’t know any better, and do your best to educate gently and politely.

If you’re uncomfortable doing so, seek out the help of another park user for support. Don’t wimp out! As a responsible dog-park user, you have an obligation to report inappropriate actions of other users that put the safety of dogs and humans at risk. How would you feel if you turned a blind eye to a potentially dangerous behavior, only to have another person or dog injured perhaps seriously or fatally if an incident happens in the future that you might have been able to prevent?

If the inappropriate actions are putting you or your dog at risk and the other dog owner isn’t receptive to education, take your dog and leave the park until you can ask the users’ group or other park authorities to handle the situation.

If you don’t know and can’t get the dog owner’s name and contact information, try to get his license plate number. If that’s not possible, write down a detailed description of both dog and human, and note any times you’ve seen them at the park, to help authorities make contact. Also write a detailed and unemotional description of the behavior(s) you felt were inappropriate.

The positive approach generally works better with humans, just as it does with dogs.

If you are still feeling insecure or you have questions, please contact someone from  Carlisle Area Dog Park Association to help!


Nov 14


DEADLY PLANTS FOR DOGS                                                                    ,

Deadly Plants

Dogs love to play, and they can easily get bored and chew on things or dig up things that they shouldnt. This is a normal activity for dogs, but sometimes the substances they discover and ingest can be dangerous or deadly. Protect your dog from poisonous plants by keeping them out of his reach.

Castor Bean, Castor Oil Plant

Toxicity Rating: Extremely high. Death is likely if your dog consumes even small amount of castor bean, although unbroken seeds may pass with no harm done.

Dangerous Parts: The seeds are the primary source of toxin, but the rest of the plant may also be slightly toxic.

Symptoms: Stomach irritations, diarrhea, abdominal pain, increased heart rate, profuse sweating, collapse, convulsions and death.

Plant Description: This robust shrublike plant with reddish to purple stems may reach 12 feet in height. A perennial in the tropics, it is grown as a garden annual and the beans are processed commercially for oil. It originated in Africa and grows best in warm climates. In the northern United States, it is not unusual to see castor beans planted in public parks. The large (4 to 30 inches across), umbrellalike leaves have five to nine pointed, fingerlike lobes. Long purple leaf stems grow near the centers of the leaf blades. Greenish-white or reddish-brown flowers appear in narrow, upright clusters. The fruit is a three-lobed, green or red capsule with a soft, spiny exterior. One large, mottled seed develops in each lobe. The shiny black-and-brown seeds look like large ticks.

The seed is only toxic if the outer shell is broken or chewed open, which dogs can do. Seeds swallowed intact usually pass without incident. Signs of toxicity may not manifest for 18 to 24 hours after ingestion. Dogs first show signs of depression and a mild increase in temperature. Later, gastrointestinal signs predominate — including vomiting and diarrhea (which may be bloody), colic and abdominal pain. An affected dog may go into convulsions, collapse and die. Death generally occurs within 36 hours of consumption as a result of severe gastrointestinal irritation, anaphylaxis and shock. The toxin in castor bean is closely related to the toxin in rosary pea.

First Aid: If you see your dog eating castor bean, call a veterinarian immediately. If you discover consumption several hours later, a veterinarian will be able to provide supportive care and treatment for shock, but death may still result.

Prevention: Do not allow pets access to this plant. Do not allow seeds or any other part of the plant to be incorporated into your dogs food. Do not let castor beans grow where the dog can get at them. To decrease the chances of intoxication, snip off the flower heads before they develop into seeds; this will protect children as well as pets.

Water Hemlock

Toxicity Rating: High. This is one of the most toxic plants in the United States.

Dangerous Parts: The roots contain the highest concentration of toxin, but all parts are toxic. A dog may drink from tainted water or eat the roots.

Symptoms: Nervousness, respiratory difficulties, muscle tremors, collapse, convulsions (seizures) and death, which may be sudden.

Plant Description: One or more species of water hemlock can be found in wet fields and swampy ground all over the United States and Canada. The perennial stem of water hemlock may grow to 7 feet in height from its cluster of two to eight fleshy or tuberous roots. Stems are smooth, branching, swollen at the base, purple-striped or mottled, and hollow except for partitions at the junction of the root and stem. A yellow, oily liquid smelling like parsnip exudes from cut stems and roots.

Leaves alternately resemble a feather and are toothed, with the leaf veins extending to the leaf notches. Leaf petioles (leafstalk) partially sheath the stems. The small, white flowers are borne in flat-topped, umbrellalike clusters at the tips of stems and branches. Seed pods are small and dry with rounded, prominent ribs. Water hemlock grows in swampy areas and marshes, wet meadows and pastures and along stream banks and low roadsides.

Signs: Water hemlock is one of the most toxic plants in the United States. A very small amount can cause death. Humans have died after only one or two bites of what they thought were parsnips (water hemlock root resembles a parsnip). The roots are toxic at all times, even when dry. Dogs have been poisoned by drinking water that had been contaminated with trampled water hemlock roots.

The toxin is cicutoxin, a yellow gummy substance with a carrotlike odor. Cicutoxin affects the central nervous system. The dose needed to cause clinical signs and the lethal dose are nearly the same, a little more than 1 gram of water hemlock per kilogram of body weight; 8 ounces (approximately 230 grams) will kill a horse.

Once the dog has ingested even a small amount of the plant, signs will develop within an hour, possibly as soon as 10 to 15 minutes. The syndrome is typically very violent. Stimulation of the central nervous system begins with nervousness and dilated pupils. Later, muscle tremors occur, and consequently, the animal has respiratory difficulty, falls down, and goes into convulsions. Death, from respiratory paralysis and terminal convulsions, is a typical outcome, occurring within 30 minutes of the onset of signs. If a sublethal dose is consumed and the animal survives for 4 to 6 hours, he may recover, but may suffer from temporary or permanent damage to heart or skeletal muscle.

First Aid: If you see your dog eating water hemlock, especially the roots, get him away from the plant and call a veterinarian immediately. Emergency measures may be tried, but death may still occur. Seizures cause severe damage to the heart and skeletal muscle, and this damage can be avoided if the seizures are controlled. However, this is rarely possible under farm and field conditions because the toxin acts so quickly.

Prevention: Prevent access to areas where water hemlock grows or completely remove the plant (most importantly the roots) before letting animals into the area, especially in the spring or when the roots may be exposed due to plowing, ditch maintenance or other similar activity.

 Poison Hemlock

Toxicity Ratings: Moderate to high.

Dangerous Parts of the Plant: All parts, especially young leaves and seeds.

Symptoms: Nervousness, trembling, loss of coordination, depression, coma and death.

Plant Description: This biennial herb came to the United States and Canada from Europe and grows as a weed. It can reach 3 to 8 feet in height and has a smooth, purple-spotted stem and triangular, finely divided leaves with bases that sheathe the stem. Fresh leaves and roots have a rank, disagreeable odor that is reminiscent of parsnips. Small but attractive white flowers, arranged in umbrellalike clusters open in early summer. The fruit is tiny, flattened and ridged. Underground is a fleshy, unbranched white taproot. There are no hairs on the stems or leaves of poison hemlock and no branching, feathery bracts beneath the flower clusters. These plants are commonly found along roadsides, edges of cultivated fields, railroad tracks, irrigation ditches and stream banks and in waste areas.

Signs: Affected dogs manifest signs within 2 hours of eating the plant, tend to become nervous, and will tremble and become uncoordinated. After the excitement phase, the animal becomes depressed. The heart and respiratory rates slow down, the legs, ears and other extremities become cold, and bloating may occur. Even at this stage, the animal may not die, but may remain like this for several hours to days, then recover.

In lethal cases, the animals tend to die within 5 to 10 hours after the onset of clinical signs, typically from respiratory failure, in which case the mucus membranes will appear blue. Affected animals are reported to give off a mousy odor.

Spring is the primary season for poison hemlock, possibly because the plant is more palatable then. Toxicity increases throughout the growing season, and the roots become toxic only later in the year. Once dried, toxicity is reduced but not eliminated.

First Aid: If your dog eats poison hemlock, call a veterinarian immediately. Treatment consists of eliminating the toxin from the gastrointestinal tract and providing supportive care. If the dog becomes comatose but does not die, he will require intense nursing care until he recovers.

Prevention: Even small amounts are lethal to dogs. It is best to keep all dogs away from areas that have poison hemlock. Also note that poison hemlock may be difficult to eradicate.


Toxicity Rating: Extremely high.

Dangerous Parts: The seeds and seedlings contain the highest quantity of toxin, but the whole plant can be considered toxic. The seed burs can cause mechanical damage, especially to dogs.

Symptoms: Gastrointestinal irritation, weakness, respiratory difficulty, behavioral changes, cardiac abnormalities and death.

Plant Description: The angled, sometimes red- or black-spotted stems of cocklebur grow 1 to 3 feet high. Leaves of this many-branched annual are alternate, hairy, rough-textured (like sandpaper), somewhat heart-shaped, toothed and lobed. Flowers are inconspicuous with male flowers in terminal spikes and female flowers in clusters in the leaf axils. The fruit is a hard, oval, prickly bur about inch long, containing two seeds. Because seeds germinate best after being soaked in water, the plants usually grow along the shores of ponds where water has receded. The edges of farm ponds may be lush with young cockleburs. Seedlings have small strap-shaped leaves inch wide by 1 inches long. They also pop up in gardens, fields, roadsides and other areas of nearly full sunlight. Cocklebur is a common weed that grows in all parts of the United States.

Signs: Liver damage may result from ingesting cocklebur, and death is likely if a dog consumes a sufficient dose (ingestion of green plant at approximately 0.75% of body weight). The bur can cause mechanical damage. Embedded seed heads can cause local irritation and infections or can become more deeply embedded in tissues and migrate into the body. Irritation and infection often develop, necessitating removal of the plant matter.

Signs depend on location of the bur and can include head shaking; sneezing; discharge from the nose or eyes; rubbing at the ears, eyes, or mouth; difficulty in chewing or swallowing; or signs of digestive disturbance. Toxic signs are most commonly seen from seedlings in late spring and early summer and from burs later in the summer. As the cocklebur plant matures, the toxicity decreases, except for the seeds. The seedlings are extremely dangerous and typically sprout in wet areas, such as along streams, at the edges of ponds, and in receding floodplains. Some animals recover, but this may take weeks.

First Aid: If a dog is observed eating cocklebur, contact a veterinarian immediately. In the meantime, prevent further consumption of the plant by all animals. Keep the dog quiet until the veterinarian arrives.

Prevention: Yard or pasture management is essential to prevent cocklebur poisonings. Mature, seed-bearing plants should be removed to prevent seeding and germination. If removal of the plants is impractical, fence off areas where seedlings are likely to germinate.

Jimsonweed, Thorn Apple, Datura

Toxicity Rating: Extremely high. The plant and seeds are extremely toxic. This plant is abused as a hallucinogen by humans, and deaths in humans and animals have been reported.

Dangerous Parts: All parts, especially seeds.

Symptoms: Dilated pupils, agitation, trembling and delirium. The victim may appear to be experiencing hallucinations and suffer from convulsions (which may be violent), coma and death.

Plant Description: This coarse annual grows to a height of 5 feet and has strongly scented, coarsely toothed, green or purplish alternate leaves. The large trumpet-shaped flowers are white or purplish and are formed singly at the forks in the stems. The fruits are hard, spiny capsules that split open along four lines at maturity to release numerous tiny black seeds. Jimsonweed commonly grows in cultivated fields, waste areas, barnyards, abandoned pastures, roadsides and feedlots. Several different species are found across North America.

Signs: Dogs will avoid eating jimsonweed whenever possible. The plants may become palatable after the application of herbicides, thus greatly increasing the risk of toxicosis.

Once the plant is consumed, signs may become apparent within a few minutes and up to several hours later. The alkaloids in jimsonweed act on the central nervous system as well as the autonomic nervous system that controls bodily functions. Animals may seek water to drink, have dilated pupils (especially if a seed is lodged in the eye), become agitated, exhibit increased heart rate, tremble, become delirious, appear to be experiencing hallucinations, have convulsions (which may be violent), become comatose, and possibly die. Consumption of jimsonweed during gestation may result in abortions or birth defects.

As much as 0.7% of the fresh weight of the leaves may be made up of toxic alkaloids. The seeds are the greatest risk, with alkaloid concentrations believed to be greater than the leaves and stems. Even the nectar is toxic.

First Aid: Prevent further exposure to the plant. To avoid human injury, exercise caution when working with an affected dog. Contact a veterinarian if signs are severe, since there are medications that can counteract the effects of the toxin. Also, if consumption was recent, contact a veterinarian quickly because it may be possible to evacuate a large amount of the plant from the digestive tract before the toxicosis becomes severe. For less severely affected animals (a veterinarian will be able to assist in determining the degree of intoxication), the clinical signs will resolve within a day or two, so keep the dog quiet and undisturbed.

Prevention: If the plants are treated with herbicides, make sure they are completely dead before dogs are allowed into the area. Use caution, especially near the edges of fields where jimsonweed is likely to grow.

 Cherry (All Types)

Toxicity Rating: Extremely high.

Dangerous Parts: Damaged leaves pose the greatest risk. All parts are potentially toxic.

Symptoms: Anxiety, respiratory problems, staggering, convulsions, collapse and death, which may be sudden.

Plant Description: Cherries may grow as a tree or shrub, commonly in fencerows, roadside thickets and open woods.

Signs: Black cherry contains cyanogenic precursors that release cyanide whenever its leaves are damaged by frost, trampling, drought, wilting or being blown down from the tree during storms. Most dogs can consume small amounts of healthy leaves, bark and fruit safely, but when hungry dogs consume large amounts of fresh leaves or small amounts of damaged leaves (as little as 2 ounces), clinical cases of poisoning will occur, and many dogs may die. When dogs are confined or bored, the chance for ingestion of toxic levels increase.

Cyanide poisoning prevents the body from using oxygen at the cellular level, so although the dogs physically can breathe, their tissues and cells suffocate. After consumption, signs will usually manifest within a few minutes, but sometimes up to an hour may pass. The dogs will try to breathe more rapidly and deeply, then become anxious and stressed. Later, trembling, incoordination, attempts to urinate and defecate, and collapse may occur, which can proceed to a violent death from respiratory or cardiac arrest within a few minutes to an hour. If an affected dog is still alive 2 or 3 hours after consumption, chances are good that he will live.

First Aid: The clinical signs of cyanide poisoning tend to come on rapidly, and dogs may be found dead without much warning. If your dog exhibits toxic signs, call a veterinarian immediately. There is an antidote, but it needs to be given intravenously and within a few minutes of the onset of signs, and it is often impossible to get help in time. Do not handle or stress affected dogs any more than absolutely necessary, since this will worsen the signs. Also, affected dogs are extremely stressed and may be dangerous to work with, so exercise caution to avoid human injury.

Prevention: Do not house or confine dogs near cherry trees, since boredom increases the likelihood that the plant will be eaten. For most species of cherry, the fruit is safe for consumption. It is the leaves and bark that pose the greatest risk.


Toxicity Rating: Extremely toxic, death is likely.

Plant Description: Several species of yew are planted as ornamental shrubs or hedges. They are woody perennials with flat, to1 inch long, evergreen leaves that are lighter green on the underside and broader than pine needles. The berry, technically called an aril, is grape-sized, juicy and bright scarlet. It has a hole in the end, which makes it look cuplike. Dark evergreen needles make yew a beautiful plant in all seasons of the year.

Symptoms: Sudden death is the typical sign. Occasionally respiratory problems, trembling, weakness, heart problems and stomach upset occur.

Signs: “Found dead” is the typical presenting sign. Very rarely dogs will show signs up to 2 days later: trembling, slow heart rate, respiratory difficulty, stomach upset and diarrhea. Yew is exceptionally toxic, with one mouthful able to kill a horse or cow within 5 minutes. Dogs may be poisoned accidentally when yew trimmings are thrown into the yard or when yew is planted as an ornamental within their reach. There are infrequent reports of stomach upset, diarrhea, seizures and aggressive behavior occurring after dogs chew the leaves.

First Aid: First aid is usually impractical, since the dog will die so quickly if he has consumed a toxic dose. Prevent other animals from being exposed and use caution around dogs showing clinical signs to prevent human injury. If a dog is still alive, contact a veterinarian. Cardiac drug therapy may be attempted, but success is unlikely.

Prevention: Never allow yew plants or trimmings within reach of any dog likely to eat plants. Dogs, however, rarely chew on yew, so unless your dog is prone to chewing on plants, it is not necessary to remove yew from ornamental plantings. Toxicities in dogs often occur when puppies are confined to a pen with yew and chew the plant out of boredom. The fleshy red berry is not considered toxic, but consumption is not advised.


Toxicity Rating: High. Ingestion of even small amounts can kill.

Dangerous Parts: The entire plant is toxic. Consuming leaves, fresh or dried, will poison most dogs.

Symptoms: Gastrointestinal irritation, cardiac abnormalities and death, which may be sudden.

Plant Description: Oleander grows as an indoor plant in the northern United States and as an outdoor shrub in California, Florida and other warm regions. The leaves are lance-shaped, thick and leathery, and grow opposite each other. Sometimes leaves may grow in whorls. The leaves are 8 to 10 inches long, although smaller specimens will have shorter leaves. Flowers are showy, approximately 1 to 3 inches in diameter, and grow in large clusters at the ends of the branches. They can be white or any shade of pink or red.

Signs: Oleander contains the toxins oleandrin and nerioside, which are very similar to the toxins in foxglove (digitalis). Oleander is not palatable, but may still be eaten by hungry dogs. Dried or wilted leaves may be slightly more palatable than fresh leaves, but the leaves are toxic when wilted or dried. In one report, approximately pound of leaves (about 30 or 40 leaves) delivered a lethal dose to an adult horse.

Clinical signs may develop rapidly, and the dog may be found dead with no prior warning. In other cases, depression coupled with gastrointestinal distress is evident: vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), and abdominal pain. Irregularities in the heart rate and rhythm will occur: the heart may speed up or slow down and beat erratically. As the toxicosis progresses, the extremities may become cold, and the mucous membranes pale. Trembling and collapse can occur, followed by coma and death within a few hours.

First Aid: If dogs are observed eating oleander, contact a veterinarian immediately. The toxin acts quickly and is lethal in small amounts. Emergency measures may be used to empty the gastrointestinal tract of remaining plant matter, and medications may be administered to control the effects that the toxin has on the heart. Despite emergency care, the dog may still die, but the sooner treatment is begun, the better the chance for survival.

Prevention: Be able to identify oleander and exercise extreme caution when pets (and humans) are in the vicinity of these plants. Never place oleander where your dogs can have contact. Take extra care in cases where leaves can fall into a yard or a pen occupied by a bored or hungry dog. Animals and humans can also be hurt by oleander, even without touching the plant. Breathing the smoke or burning branches can cause poisoning, and merely smelling the flowers may be harmful.

Rosary Pea

Toxicity Rating: High. Even one bean can kill.

Dangerous Parts: The beans are the primary risk.

Symptoms: Severe gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, abdominal pain, collapse and death.

Plant Description: This twisting perennial vine grows naturally in tropical climates. Rosary pea is established in certain areas of southern Florida. Leaves are alternate and compound, with 8 to 15 leaflets. Flowers are small and can be any shade, from white to red to purple. The seed pod is about 1 inches long, containing several seeds that are bright red with a black spot.

Signs: Toxic signs resulting from rosary pea ingestion are very similar to those caused by castor bean, except that the rosary pea toxin is more powerful. One seed, if well-chewed, can kill an adult human. The toxins in rosary pea are a protein called abrin and a glycoside called abric acid, which cause severe gastrointestinal signs. This progresses to weakness, shock and death within a short time.

Seeds are used to make jewelry and rosaries. If the seed is swallowed without damage to the seed coat, poisoning is unlikely, and the seed will tend to pass without incident. In cases where the seed coat is chewed or opened (as in drilling to make jewelry), toxic signs and death are likely.

First Aid: If your dog ingests rosary pea, contact a veterinarian immediately. Prevent further exposure, and get other animals away from the source. Emergency measures may be used to eliminate the toxin from the stomach and intestines. Once gastrointestinal signs appear, it may be inadvisable to evacuate the stomach and intestines for fear of doing even greater damage, but a veterinarian will decide this. Care is primarily symptomatic and supportive of the digestive upset, weakness and shock. Affected dogs are likely to die even with care.

Prevention: Rosary pea should never be allowed in the home for the safety of dogs and humans alike. If jewelry or rosaries are made of rosary pea, discard them immediately.


Toxicity Rating: Extremely high. One mushroom can be fatal.

Dangerous Parts: The whole mushroom is poisonous.

Symptoms: Mushrooms can be poisonous in many different ways. Members of the gyromitra family, such as the false morel, contain a substance that may cause vomiting, abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. More serious signs include seizures, coma and death.

Other mushrooms, such as the psilocybe species, contain a hallucinogen.

Most poisonous mushrooms are members of the amanita family, which are responsible for most of the mushroom-related deaths that occur in dogs each year. These mushrooms contain a substance that causes liver damage. They are so poisonous that one amanita mushroom cap can kill a dog. Tragically, these mushrooms do not produce symptoms until many hours after they are eaten. By that time, treatment is usually of little value. If the mushrooms are spoiled, there may be preliminary signs of illness.

Plant Description: Few individuals have the special training needed to identify mushrooms accurately. For this reason, it is often best to assume an unknown mushroom is poisonous and empty the dogs stomach.

Signs: Phallotoxins and amatoxins are the toxins responsible for fatalities in mushroom poisonings. When first ingested, mushrooms may actually taste quite good to your dog. The toxins, however, enter the bloodstream and within 2 to 5 hours, the phallotoxins are converted by liver enzymes into a compound that attacks liver cells. Only when it no longer helps to pump the stomach does the animal begin to suffer extreme pain. Dogs experience pain and muscle cramps, often in the limbs, as well as vomiting, lethargy and distorted vision.

Several days later, the slower acting, more toxic, amatoxins begin to take effect. During the interim the victim may feel somewhat better. The onset of severe pain then continues from 4 to 6 days and often culminates in death. Even when death does not occur, the illness lasts several weeks and may do permanent liver damage.

Other Mushroom Toxins:

Muscarine is a toxin that excites the parasympathetic nervous system, which results in the slowing of the heart, dilation of blood vessels, and constricting of the pupils of the eyes. Atropine has been used to counteract the effect of muscarine in poisonings. Once the dog recovers, there are no long-term effects.

Muscimol, ibotenic acid, pantherin, tricholomic acid, and related compounds are hallucinogenic substances that act on the central nervous system. They, and not the muscarine, constitute the psychoactive toxins in Amanita muscaria. When a large amount of Amanita muscaria containing these toxins is ingested, it often results in severe illness but dogs usually recover.

Psilocybin and psilocina are well-known compounds in the LSD family of hallucinogenic compounds (lysergic acid). They have a strong hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system, producing visions, smothering sensations and optical distortions. Perhaps the most important factor is the presence of other toxic compounds in addition to the hallucinogenic agent. Species are common throughout the world and occur wherever cattle and horses are raised.

Monomethylhydrazine not only causes blood poisoning, but also affects the central nervous system. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and incooordination.

First Aid: After your dog eats a mushroom, treatment must be started as soon as possible to make sure the animal does well. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. If a dog is already exhibiting symptoms, it may be necessary to bring him to the veterinarian for treatment. The poison center can assist your veterinarian by suggesting appropriate treatment.

Prevention: Because mushrooms can literally appear overnight, inspect your yard for mushrooms before allowing your pet outside, and be wary of mushrooms when in public places such as parks and woods.

Nov 14

Carlisle Area Dog ParksDogs Annoying Cats With Friendship!

From The Huffington Post.

Sep 14

Carlisle Area Dog ParksOctober Yappy Hour!

Yappy Hour 10.11.2014

It’s that Time again! Join us on Saturday, October 11th from 6pm to 8:30 pm for Yappy Hour!


We hope that you will join us for our Yappy Hour. The CADPA sources of revenue are from our annual membership fees and our fundraising activities. We thought you might be interested in our 2014 budgeted expenses. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Andrea, our Fundraising Co-chair, at 717-979-4060

Our annual expenses are:

Insurance  – $4,000

Property/tree maintenance – $2,000

Phone/internet/computer – $600

Wacor (gate security system) – $1200

Water/electric – $600

Fence maintenance – $1,000

PO Box/postage – $500

Miscellaneous – $500

Security camera system – $1,500

Total Expenses – $11,500

Jul 14

Carlisle Area Dog ParksYAPPY HOUR!

It is that time again! Join us for the summer time version of Yappy Hour! Yappy Hour is our main fundraiser to help us keep on unleashing the fun! Right click on the images below to print them out and send in your reservations today. Have something you’d like to donate to our silent auction? Email us at

Yappy Hour 08.2014-page-0 (1)Yappy Hour 08.2014-page-1 (1)

Mar 14

Carlisle Area Dog ParksDon’t let THIS happen to you!



Oh no!!!! Parkie’s human forgot to renew his membership and now his key fob doesn’t work! Don’t let this happen to you. If you haven’t renewed for 2014 the time to do it is now! You will need a letter from your vet showing us that all vaccinations are up to date AND you’ll need a photocopy of your county license valid for 2014. Put it in an envelope along with your membership dues and mail it to us at:

Carlisle Area Dog Park Assoc.

P.O. Box 1016

Carlisle, PA 17013

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Feb 14

Carlisle Area Dog ParksGet your very own Carlisle Area Dog Parks t-shirts and sweatshirts!

Dog park tshirtAll the best dressed humans are ordering these incredibly stylish, comfortable, heck…..down right sexy CADPA t-shirts, and now you can, too! You have from now until March 13th to get your order in. Click below for the order form, print it out, fill it out and mail it back to us before the 13th!! All proceeds go towards helping us continue to Unleash the FUN!

T-shirt & Sweatshirt Order Form CADPA

Nov 13

Carlisle Area Dog ParksIt’s that time again!!!!!

The Carlisle Area Dog Parks Association is a non profit organization that is managed and funded through the efforts of its members. We raise funds throughout the year to both pay our bills and further our mission of educating the public about the importance of responsible dog ownership and the benefits of dog parks in our communities. Electric bills (for the electronic gate), monthly insurance premiums and maintenance costs are just a few examples of why we need to successfully fund raise. But hey, we aren’t complaining! We love our fund raising events! And our favorite fund raiser is…

Yappy Hour!!!!!


(left click on the form above to enlarge the picture, then right click on the enlarged picture and select “print”)


Join us on January 18th, 2014 for an evening of fun, food, drink, silent auctions and raffles! 100% of the proceeds go towards the park. Invite your friends and family to joins us. This is a human-only event (sorry puppies).

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Nov 13

Carlisle Area Dog Parks200 wet noses, 400 fluffy ears, 800 paws……

smalldognosesmalldogears ws_Dog_on_your_screen_1024x768

…..It doesn’t matter what part you count, it all means the same thing!

Help us get 200 four-legged members by 2014.

We have over 160 canine members who enjoy unleashing the fun. We all know somebody whose four-legged best friend would also enjoy everything the Carlisle Area Dog Park has to offer – running free, fantastic smells at every tree, friend sniffing, massive tail wagging, stick chasing, group water bowl slurping, chillin’ at the chairs, runningsohardthatyousleepforhours! We can’t keep that all to ourselves, can we?

Of course not! Share the fun! Refer a friend!

From now until the end of the year, all new members get the rest of this year for free with their paid 2014 membership. 2 FREE months of all that tail wagging, tree sniffing, unleashed, “WOOF” worthy F U N!

But wait! There’s more!!

If we reach our goal of 200 four-legged members by 2014 – All new members who sign up between Oct. 1st and December 31st 2013  for a paid 2014 membership will be entered into a drawing for a FREE year’s membership for 2015! Yup! One new member will win a second year membership for their canine companion for FREE!

Not done yet! 

Current members can win a FREE year, too! – For every paid new member that you refer between Oct 1st and December 31st, your name will be entered into a separate drawing for a free 2015 membership! Just make sure that your new member notes who referred them to our park on their new membership form! *If the winning member is already a lifetime member, we promise to give you something cool!*

Click here for membership registration information and forms and we’ll see YOU at the park!


Sep 13

Carlisle Area Dog ParksSaturday’s Open Park Weekend video!

Check out this video from the first day of our “Try out the park” open weekend! We met so many new faces and had a blast! Hope to see you at the park today from 1pm-5pm for day two!



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