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The 2006 Top Dogs Parks

By: Novartis Animal Health

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America's 65 million dogs have more reasons to get out and play, now that the nation's best dog parks offer more amenities than those designed for people, with showers, pools, mist cooling stations, double security gates and playgrounds.

Dog parks are a growing part of neighborhood park and recreation facilities, with an estimated 700 currently nationwide and more being developed each year. The best parks are named in a new list of the top 10 dog parks announced as part of the Steps to Play More initiative sponsored by canine arthritis medication Deramaxx® (deracoxib). The initiative encourages more exercise and active playtime by dogs, especially those with osteoarthritis.

Deramaxx partnered with the editors of Dog Fancy to conduct the second-annual review of U.S. dog parks based on criteria ranging from safety considerations to owner-education resources.

The 2006 Deramaxx Top 10 U.S. Dog Parks

1. Fort Woof Dog Park - Fort Worth, Texas
2. Paw Park of Historic Sanford - Sanford, Fla. (Orlando area)
3. Fort De Soto Paw Playground - Fort De Soto, Fla. (St. Petersburg area)
4. City of Rome Bark Park - Rome, N.Y.
5. Carl's Dog Run - New York, N.Y.
6. Ohlone Dog Park - Berkeley, Calif. (San Francisco area)
7. Kenton Paw Park - Covington, Ky. (Cincinnati area)
8. Fleet Peeples Park - Winter Park, Fla. (Orlando area)
9. Bear Creek Dog Park - Colorado Springs, Colo.
10. Stanley's Spot Dog Park - Morgantown, W.V.

These parks will receive grants from Novartis Animal Health US, Inc., maker of Deramaxx, to augment accessibility for senior dogs and dogs that are disabled by the pain of arthritis.

With an estimated 10 million dogs afflicted with the disease and many more that are considered senior at 6 years old and older, accessibility at dog parks is a concern for nearly half the U.S. dog population. As the most common form of chronic pain in dogs, arthritis sidelines dogs of all breeds and ages.

For some parks, helping dogs disabled with arthritis could mean adding special exercise equipment designed to maintain or improve freedom of movement. Parks could also create roughhousing-free zones for senior and arthritic dogs, add steps or gradual slopes to existing water play areas or renovate walking paths with materials to ensure even, soft footing.

For its part, the Steps to Play More campaign is providing free pet pedometers to all dogs with arthritis. Owners use the pedometers to track the daily activity level of their dogs and record the number of steps online at stepstoplaymore.com. When used with veterinary-prescribed therapy to treat the pain and inflammation of arthritis, the pedometer provides a gauge of the dog's progress overcoming the debilitation of arthritis.

The Best Bark Parks

1. The Fort Woof Dog Park (www.fortworthdogpark.org) in Fort Worth, Texas, is a model for civic and community partnerships, built using donations from the community and strongly supported by a large booster organization. The only park to appear on the 2005 and 2006 list (it was #2 in 2005), the park has five acres of open space, drinking fountains for people and dogs, lighting to allow evening visits, and covered picnic areas in both large and small dog play areas.

2. The Paw Park of Historic Sanford (www.pawparksanford.org), just north of Orlando, may be the oldest off-leash dog park in central Florida, but it has kept its visitors happy with self-serve dog water fountains, paved walkways for people, misting towers and dog showers, and a hurricane-toppled oak tree that has become the main draw for dogs looking for fun.

3. Part of the beautiful island of Fort De Soto Park at the entrance to Tampa Bay, the Fort De Soto Paw Playground (www.pinellascounty.org/park), south of St. Petersburg, includes expansive fenced areas for both large and small dogs, an adjacent beach and safe swimming area, and dog fountains and showers.

4. The new City of Rome (N.Y.) Bark Park (www.rome-ny.gov) is only a few months old, but is already a popular spot for dog lovers in the area. The park features the only agility course and training on the 2006 top 10 list, free dog waste bags and double gating for security.

5. Carl's Dog Run (www.carlschurzparknyc.org) may be deep in New York City's Upper East Side, but it provides easy access for area residents to play with and exercise their dog. Part of the larger Carl Schurz Park, the 2,000 member association hosts an annual Halloween Howl dress-up event for local pets.

6. Ohlone Dog Park (www.ohlonedogpark.org) in Berkeley, Calif.

7. Kenton Paw Park (www.kentonpawpark.com) in Covington, Ky.

8. Fleet Peeples Park (www.ffpp.org) in Winter Park, Fla.

9. El Paso County Dog Park in Colorado Springs, Colo.

10. Stanley's Spot Dog Park (www.boparc.org) in Morgantown, W.V.


For more information on Deramaxx® (deracoxib), visit http://www.deramaxx.novartis.us/home/default.asp?page=0_0



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