Almost every month it seems, an injury occurs with the dog in and off leash playing environment. These injuries can be minor but all too often such injuries can be quite severe. In fact even fatalities do occur.

In an off leash environment you need to consider your dog’s size and that of other dogs its likely to play with. Dogs of very different body sizes should play separately because different sized dogs have varying styles of play.

It is suggested that dogs weighing up to 25 pounds should play together. In fact it might be a good idea to create a doggy playgroup for those weighing up to 10 pounds.

Many will disagree with this in the belief that certain small dogs are very feisty and love to play with big dogs. Of course, it may be hard for owners to separate dogs of various sizes living within the same household.

During off leash play there’s increased risk of small dogs playing with large dogs and facing the changes as a result

Small dogs might be injured when they enter a group of big dogs playing boisterously. Big dogs often cannot move aside when a small dog starts running around the play area. Most small dogs are not sufficiently aware to avoid two big dogs wresting and rolling about.

Whenever a dog enters or leaves the play group, dogs of various sizes may get into each other’s space as they run towards the gate in order to see who’s coming or leaving. While we like to think that each big dog will likely accommodate a small dog, this just doesn’t always happen. At such times a small dog might be injured.

A Large Dog Could Seem to See Small Dog as Prey

It’s really sad but we must face the reality that small dogs are vulnerable prey in some instances.

Big dogs like to chase and might in the heat of the moment mistake a small dog as a chase object, because at a distance it looks like a creature that as to be chased.

This can also happen in a play area when dogs are running around energetically and are riled up. Some dogs chase each other during regular play as part of the pleasure of running. When a little dog enters such fast moving activity it may trigger a big dog’s predator instinct and cause him to chase the smaller animal. This can result in a dangerous bite. Besides, even in a playful chase a large dog might accidentally injure a smaller one at the end of the chase.

During any fight/bite incident, a small dog can be significantly hurt by a large dog

Obviously common sense needs to always be applied. There happen to be gray areas where small dogs mix well with large dogs in various situations. However, it pays to be careful and pay attention. A dog’s size, personality, and temperament all play a part, as do the temperament and confidence of the owner.

Once you understand the risks, separate dogs by size and make exceptions where necessary.

Image: Flickr Credit

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