Below is a list of the FAQs which we have received and answered. If you have a question which you feel should be on this list, please submit it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Why are the FAQs so bare right now?
A: Questions (and answers) will be added as they are presented. The Dogs FAQ will be updated as time allows.
About the CDA
The CDA (Chelmsford Dog Association) is a group of people who work to educate people about responsible dog ownership.
in 2013, we were officially recognized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit/charitable organization by the IRS.
We also maintain and support the Chelmsford Dog Park.
We work with the town of Chelmsford, through the Dog Park Advisory Committee (DPAC) to enhance the park.
The Dog Park Advisory Committee (DPAC) is a town committe made up of Chelmsford residents who provides advice to the town (through the town manager) regarding the Chelmsford Dog Park.
The DPAC works closely with the CDA to determine the most effective use of grant monies for park enhancement and maintenance.
Decisions regarding closures and other site related questions come from the Town Manager’s office, as advised by the DPAC, who represents the interests of the town, and the CDA who represent the interests of the Dog Park and their members.
As a town committee, the DPAC is subject to Open Meeting requirements.
The Chelmsford Dog Association (CDA) was organized in 2009 by several Chelmsford residents.
The primary goal of the CDA, when formed, was to promote responsible dog ownership, educate dog owners (and others) and spearhead the construction of an off-leash dog park in Chelmsford, MA.
in 2012, the CDA officially formed as a non-profit corporation and received IRS approval as a 501(c)(3) charitable community organization in 2013.
Although the membership remained small, the core members and board of directors ran fund-raisers, met with town officials, found an acceptable site and won a grant from the Stanton Foundation to build the park.
The agreement with the town was that park would be granted use of the land (2 acres) on the grounds of a former DPW site but that the CDA would maintain the park.
In 2015 construction started and on 2016, the park was opened.
The CDA maintains the park solely through volunteer efforts and donations from CDA members and other park goers.
This question gets asked quite frequently.
The biggest concern that people seem to have is that grass requires upkeep (mowing, occasional replanting, etc)
While this is true, the choice of ground cover was considered very carefully and was chosen after a significant amount of research.
The goal is not to have a perfect, golf-course-like, surface. The goal is to have surface that is good for the dogs, good for the environment and sustainable (both in maintenance and in cost).
- Grass is self-sustaining, once it gets properly established.
- Grass is better on the dog’s feet than nearly any other surface.
(For example, many dogs hate the feel of pea stone on their feet.)
- Grass filters out many of the things in dog waste.
(The Chelmsford Dog Park is above the North Chelmsford Water aquifer. Our agreement with the water district, when building the park, was to use grass as part of the mitigation.)
- Other popular suggestions like gravel, mulch, and pea stone are more expensive than grass. They also require regular replacement and maintenance.
Grass is actually cheaper, overall, than almost any other surface, when you take into account the primary and maintenance costs.
- Since the Chelmsford Dog Park is mostly an open field – sand, pea stone, and gravel would get very hot in the sun, making it unsafe for dogs to attend the park. Grass stays cool in the sun (and produces oxygen).
The Chelmsford Dog Park is located at 52 Richardson Road, North Chelmsford, MA 01863
The town granted us 2 acres at the former DPW lot which have been landscaped, prepared and made safe for the dogs and their owners.
There is no mail service to that location, so please do not send any thing via USPS or any other method to the park itself.
The Chelmsford Dog Association is a group of volunteers working toward creating and maintaining a dog park in the Town of Chelmsford. We also host assorted other events for dogs and their owners, as well as dog training sessions on the Town Common.
For direct donations, we have several fundraisers every year and are collecting requests for commemorative bricks to be laid at the entry to the park.
Additionally, we are currently organizing sponsorships for equipment for the park, as well as organizing volunteer labor opportunities. You will receive recognition for your sponsorship with a plaque that shows how you were involved. Continuing opportunities will be available once the park is open.
In addition to individual donation and sponsorships, we are asking local businesses for donations so that we can maximize the cash donations we receive to be used for the Dog Park expenses and to fund future programs throughout the greater Chelmsford area. Your support would be greatly appreciated, and we thank you for your consideration. We have many needs, and opportunities. Anything you can do is greatly appreciated!
Please feel free to contact us for more details. We can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com, or by mail at PO Box 491, North Chelmsford, MA 01863.
Rules and Regulations for Chelmsford Dog Park
- The Town of Chelmsford (or its agent) shall not be liable for any injury or damage caused by dogs or handlers. Owners/handlers are responsible for any injuries caused by the dogs under their control. The dog park area is for dogs, owners/handlers and those accompanying them.
- Hours: Dawn to Dusk.
- Dogs are to be kept on a leash (not exceeding 6 feet) when outside the dog park fenced in areas.
Do not have your dog unleashed between your vehicle and the gated entrance.
Leash and unleash your dog inside the dog park, not in the double gated holding area.
Do not open the outside gate if the inside gate is open.
- Owners/handlers must carry leash at all times.
- No animals other than dogs permitted.
- Children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. Children under 6 years of age are not permitted within the park. Handlers must be 16 years of age or older.
- Scoop your poop! Owner/handler must immediately clean up after their dog.
Owner/handler must have in their possession and adequate number of bags, or other appropriate device, for removal of their dog’s waste.
- A maximum of two dogs per owner/ handler are allowed in the park at one time.
- Aggressive dogs are not allowed.
If your dog becomes rough or unruly or exhibits aggressive behavior towards people or other dogs, leash him or her and leave the park immediately.
- Dogs with a history of aggressive behavior, as determined by the animal control officer, will have park privileges revoked.
- Dogs must display current license and must be properly inoculated, healthy (no contagious conditions, and parasite free. In the event of a dog bite or injury the owner/handler must exchange current tag info and phone numbers.
- All bites must be reported to Animal Control at (978) 256-0754
- Female dogs in any stage of heat are not permitted in the park.
- No puppies under 4 months of age are allowed in the park.
Puppies under this age are not fully vaccinated and are vulnerable to disease and injury.
- Do not bring strollers, carriages, baby carriers, bicycles, skate boards, scooters, children’s toys, or dog toys into the park.
- Owner/handler must repair all holes dug by their dog under their supervision.
- Owner/handler must be in verbal control of their dog at all times.
- Owner/handler must remain in the park and keep their dog within view at all times.
- No commercial use of the dog park is allowed without prior agreement, including dog training classes, doggie daycare, dog walkers and/or advertisements.
- Training space is available for rental.
- Please contact the Town of Chelmsford at http://www.townofchelmsford.us
- The dog park will be closed periodically throughout the year for maintenance.
- Glass containers
- The use of prong, spike, or choke collars
- Human and dog food or treats
- Human or dog toys
Dog Park Etiquette
Dog parks can provide exercise and socialization for dogs, but they can also provide problems if dog owners are not paying attention. This is no different from a playground for children. A group of children playing can turn into shoving and crying if children aren’t taught how to behave and parents don’t watch for signs of trouble. And all parents need to clean up after their children to keep the playground safe.
We all want the dog park to be the fun time for our dogs. A little understanding of dog behavior and an alert eye is all it takes for good dog interaction. A little personal responsibility for the park is all it takes for the park to stay nice and clean.
The first step is to only bring dogs to the park that are relaxed around strange dogs. I have two wonderful dogs. One of them loves other dogs. The other has been bitten in the past and is nervous. He shows his nervousness by barking and growling. Some may say this is aggressive, but listening to his growl, you will hear a whine. That whine is the sign that he is scared and unsure of the other dog. I do not bring him to places where strange dogs play. He has a few dog friends that visit and I don’t push him to meet more.
My friendly dog can be overly friendly but I have taught her to approach other dogs slowly. She will roll over if the other dog shows any sign of concern. This is a good trait for a dog because rolling over is like saying “I am not a threat and just want to be friends.”
My neighbor has a dog that lunges and pulls on the leash when he sees other dogs, cars, bicycles, etc. This lunging is a sign of aggression. It could be from nervousness or a more malicious. Either way, like my nervous dog,he should not visit a dog park.
Here are some signals that your dog is being friendly:
- Approaches other dogs slowly
- Approaches from the side (even if headed toward another dog, the final few steps should involve moving toward the side of the dog and then turning toward them)
- Wagging tail
- Play bow
- Rolls over or allows other dogs to sniff
- Barking in a playful manner (you need to know your dog’s different barks)
- Not paying much attention at all (this doesn’t mean your dog isn’t interested, just that he is not concerned with the other dogs and therefore, he doesn’t need to focus on them)
Here are some signals that your dog is uncomfortable or not ready for a dog park:
- Growling or unfriendly barking
- Ears pinned back
- Ears very forward
- Tail up (if normally down)
- Tail tucked between legs (usually means he is scared)
- Sticking his head between your legs (He’s looking for you to protect him. Do so by leaving the park. He will love you for it.)
- Showing teeth
- Lunging or charging other dogs
- Bumping his shoulder into another dog
- Stealing toys
- Jumping on people
- Jumping on dogs’ backs
If you have a dog that may not be friendly enough for the park, you can help him improve. Try bringing him to training classes. Also, try bringing him to the park but do not enter it. Just let him sit in the car and watch the dogs. If he is calm, on the next visit, let him walk around the parking lot on leash. Do this and the training until your trainer says that the dog is ready for the dog park. (You want to get other people’s comments on the dog because we are all biased toward our wonderful animals and it is easy for us to miss something.) Then only let him in when there are just a few dogs. Even dogs that like other dogs can be overwhelmed in a crowd.
Here are the signs of a good owner and supporter of the park:
- Only brings dogs friendly to other dogs and people
- Always picks up after his dog
- Watches his dog and other dogs for possible problems
- Throws trash in receptacles
- Lets others know if their dog needs picking up after
- Never leaves the dog in the park without adult owner supervision
- Removes dog immediately, at any sign of trouble
- Keeps the dog leashed except in the fenced area of the park
- Licenses the dog (just visit town hall for a form)
- Donates to and/or volunteers for the park
Working together, the Chelmsford Dog Park can be a great place for our friendly dogs to exercise. Dogs that struggle with social situations are always welcome to walk in our other public lands on leash and under their owner’s control.
By Beth Logan, CDA volunteer trainer
Yes, the dog park has age restrictions on both dogs and humans.
- Human children under the age of 6 are not allowed. Period.
- Human children between the ages of 6 and 12 are allowed, in the company of an adult.
- Human children between the ages of 12 and 16 are allowed, but can not be the primary handler of the dog.
- Human children over the age of 16 are allowed to be the dog’s handler.
- Puppies under the age of 4 months are not allowed in the park (They don’t have all of their shots yet)
Handouts given during the “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” presentation
The Ladder of Aggression
The Ladder of Aggression is a depiction of the gestures that any dog will give in response to an escalation of perceived stress and threat, from very mild social interaction and pressure, to which blinking and nose licking are appropriate responses, to severe, when overt aggression may well selected. The purpose of such behaviour is to deflect threat and restore harmony and the presence of appeasing and threat-averting behaviour in the domestic dog’s repertoire is essential to avoid the need for potentially damaging aggression. The dog is a social animal for whom successful appeasement behaviour is highly adaptive and it is used continually and routinely in every-day life.
It is most important to realise that these gestures are simply a context and response-dependant sequence which will culminate in threatened or overt aggression, only if all else fails. Contrary to persistent misinformation, the gestures identified are nothing to do with a purported dominant or submissive state relative to companions. In all dogs, inappropriate social responses to appeasement behaviour will result in its devaluing and the necessity, from a dog’s perspective, to move up the ladder. Aggression is therefore created in any situation where appeasement behaviour is chronically misunderstood and not effective in obtaining the socially expected outcome. Dogs may progress to overt aggression within seconds during a single episode if the perceived threat occurs quickly and at close quarters, or learn to dispense with lower rungs on the ladder over time, if repeated efforts to appease are misunderstood and responded to inappropriately. As a consequence, a so-called ‘unpredictable’ aggressive response, without any obvious preamble, may occur in any context which predicts inescapable threat to the dog, when in reality it was entirely predictable.
(Shepherd, K 2009. BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Behaviour, 2nd edition.pages 13 – 16. Editors Debra F. Horwitz and Daniel S. Mills).
Originally from the ASPCA website: People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets
Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death. Under no circumstances should your pet be given any alcohol. If you suspect that your pet has ingested alcohol, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately.
Avocado is primarily a problem for birds, rabbits, donkeys, horses, and ruminants including sheep and goats. The biggest concern is for cardiovascular damage and death in birds. Horses, donkeys and ruminants frequently get swollen, edematous head and neck.
Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine
These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee, and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.
The stems, leaves, peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants contain varying amounts of citric acid, essential oils that can cause irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression if ingested in significant amounts. Small doses, such as eating the fruit, are not likely to present problems beyond minor stomach upset.
Coconut and Coconut Oil
When ingested in small amounts, coconut and coconut-based products are not likely to cause serious harm to your pet. The flesh and milk of fresh coconuts do contain oils that may cause stomach upset, loose stools or diarrhea. Because of this, we encourage you to use caution when offering your pets these foods. Coconut water is high in potassium and should not be given to your pet.
Grapes and Raisins
Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. Until more information is known about the toxic substance, it is best to avoid feeding grapes and raisins to dogs.
Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and can last approximately 12 to 48 hours.
Milk and Dairy
Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other dairy-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset.
Nuts, including almonds, pecans, and walnuts, contain high amounts of oils and fats. The fats can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and potentially pancreatitis in pets.
Onions, Garlic, Chives
These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies.
Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones
Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be harmful to pets and humans. Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Feeding your pet raw bones may seem like a natural and healthy option that might occur if your pet lived in the wild. However, this can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract.
Salt and Salty Snack Foods
Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. As such, we encourage you to avoid feeding salt-heavy snacks like potato chips, pretzels, and salted popcorn to your pets.
Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.
Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach to bloat, and potentially twist, becoming a life threatening emergency. The yeast produce ethanol as a by-product and a dog ingesting raw bread dough can become drunk (See alcohol).
The amount and type of chocolate ingested is important, as they are the determining factors for the severity of the toxicity. The three types of chocolate that you must be aware of are:
- Milk Chocolate – Mild signs of toxicity can occur when 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight is ingested; severe toxicity occurs when two ounces per pound of body weight is ingested (or as little as one pound of milk chocolate for a 20-pound dog).
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate – Mild signs of toxicity can occur when 0.3 ounce per pound of body weight is ingested; severe toxicity occurs when one ounce per pound of body weight is ingested (or as little as six ounces of semi-sweet chocolate for a 20-pound dog).
- Baking Chocolate – This type of chocolate has the highest concentration of caffeine and theobromine. Therefore, as little as two small one-ounce squares of baking chocolate can be toxic to a 20-pound dog (or 0.1 ounce per pound of body weight).
Chocolate contains substances known as methylxanthines (specifically caffeine and theobromine), which dogs are far more sensitive to than people. Different types of chocolate contain varying amounts of methylxanthines. In general, though, the darker and more bitter the chocolate the greater the danger.
What Should I Do if My Dog Ate Chocolate?
If you know your dog has ingested chocolate , or has any of the symptoms1 below, contact the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-213-6680 or your veterinarian right away.
Common Household Items
|Common Household Items||Serving||Theobromine*||Caffeine*|
|Ice Cream Rich Chocolate||1 cup ( 148g)||178mg||5.9mg|
|Peanut M&M’s||1 cup (170g)||184mg||17mg|
|Ready to Eat Chocolate Pudding||4 oz (108g)||75.6mg||2.2mg|
|Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar||1.55 oz (43g)||64mg||9mg|
|Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup||2 Tbsp (39g)||64mg||5mg|
|Hershey’s KISSES (Milk Chocolate)||9 pieces (41g)||61mg||9mg|
|Hershey’s Semi-Sweet Baking Bar||1 Tbsp (15g)||55mg||7mg|
(2 –3/4” sq x 7/8″) (56g)
|KIT KAT Wafer Bar||1 bar (42g)||48.7mg||5.9mg|
|REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups (2pk)||2 cups (45g)||32.4mg||3.2mg|
chocolate, sugared or glazed
(3′ dia) (43g)
|Chocolate Chip Cookies ,
made with margarine
|1 Cookie Med
(2 1/4″ dia) (16g)
|Milky Way||1 bar (58g)||37.1 mg||3.5mg|
|Generic Hot Fudge Sundae Topping||1 Sundae (158g)||77.4mg||1.6mg|
|REESE’S PIECES Candy||1 package (46g)||0mg||0mg|
* The amount of caffeine and theobromine will vary naturally due to growing conditions and cocoa bean sources and variety.
Foods Highest in Theobromine
|Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened,
processed with alkali [Dutch cocoa]
|1 cup (86g)||2266 mg||67.1mg|
|1 cup, grated (132g)||1712 mg||106mg|
|Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened||1 cup (86g)||1769 mg||198mg|
|1 oz (28g)||447 mg||13.2mg|
|Puddings, chocolate flavor,
low calorie, regular, dry mix
|1 Package (40g)||238 mg||7.2mg|
|Desserts, rennin, chocolate, dry mix||1 Package, 2 oz (57g)||242 mg||7.4mg|
|Puddings, chocolate flavor,
low calorie, instant, dry mix
|1 Package, 1.4oz box (40g)||189 mg||5.6mg|
|Syrups, chocolate||2 tbsp (35g)||68.3 mg||2.1mg|
|Cocoa, dry powder, hi-fat or breakfast,
processed with alkali
|1 oz (28g)||685 mg||20.2mg|
|Candies, chocolate, dark,
70-85% cacao solids
|I bar (101g)||810 mg||80.8mg|
|Cocoa, dry powder, hi-fat or breakfast,
|1 Tbsp (5g)||92.6 mg||10.3mg|
Symptoms of concern include:
- Increased body temperature
- Increased reflex responses
- Muscle rigidity
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Advanced signs (cardiac failure, weakness, and coma)
Cribbed from PetMD.com
“CAFFEINE & THEOBROMINE.” The Hershey Company. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.
“Nutrition Information.” Nutrition Facts, Calories in Food, Labels, Nutritional Information and Analysis – NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.