For many dog owners, the dog park is an essential part of dog ownership. It's a place to socialize and exercise your dog. Nothing compares to the dog park unless you have a large fenced-in backyard.

So, what would you do if Colorado dog parks were forced to close?

After COVID, we all now know, things can shut down. Routines can be forced to change because of contagious illness. Recently a very contagious respiratory dog illness has been showing up across the United States and here in Colorado.

What are the Symptoms of the Canine Respiratory Illness?

Lack of energy, goopy eyes, a cough, sneezing, blueish gums, rapid breathing, and fever are the main symptoms showing up in local veterinarian offices.

A vet in Fort Collins, Colorado, told me a couple of weeks ago that she is seeing "coughing dogs" daily and multiple dogs per week with more severe symptoms requiring hospitalization.

It also seems that antibiotics are not very effective to help. This all sounds very familiar as we remember back to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Where are Dogs Catching the Respiratory Illness?

CNN reported, "In Colorado, veterinarians are seeing a lot of cases in high-volume areas such as boarding facilities, doggie daycares, and dog parks."

Why are Colorado Dog Parks Still Open?

Updated 12/1/2023

NOCO Humane Community Outreach Manager, Scott Wendelberger let me know they "do not dictate public health orders of any kind for the city or county" and It is their "understanding that the city's Parks Department is responsible for making decisions around the use of city property based on information gathered from local health officials."

The City of Fort Collins Parks Department has not responded to my inquiry regarding dog parks staying open, or at least posting signs letting dog owners know about the illness.


Colorado State University "has continued to test samples and have found several positive cases on routine diagnostic tests, including parainfluenza, canine coronavirus, and pneumovirus. We have yet to identify a single causative agent to tie these cases together," according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.


Signs of mysterious respiratory illness affecting dogs reported in at least a dozen states

The Denver Post:

Colorado dogs in danger from mysterious, potentially fatal respiratory disease- Dogs are getting sick for weeks or months, and standard treatments aren’t helping.

What Can Dog Owners Do to Avoid Respiratory Illness?

  • Make sure dogs are up to date on their vaccines, especially those for canine influenza, Bordetella and parainfluenza.
  • Avoid contact with other dogs.
  • Keep sick dogs home.
  • Contact the vet if your dog has symptoms.
  • Avoid water bowls used by other dogs.
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