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Dog Parks in Canada

Introduction

Nothing refreshes the heart like a morning or evening at the dog park. For both your dog and you, dog parks offer plenty of mental and physical stimulation, both of which make for much sleepier selves once it's time to tuck in for bed.

You might have questions such as where you can locate dog parks, supplies which are handy to bring along, whether most parks are fenced, and much more. This short question and answer article aims to help prepare you for your pup's dog park adventures.

Are dogs allowed in national parks in Canada?

Most provincial, regional and national parks in Canada allow dogs. At the moment, 46 out of 48 national parks allow pets as long as they’re kept on a leash and supervised. 

There are also hundreds of off-leash parks all over the country that you can choose from if you like to give your pet more freedom. These parks often feature acres of large open spaces that are secure for off-leash activities. 

In addition, your dogs can also interact with other dogs while in nature. Some parks even have man-made structures, playgrounds, and courses designed for speed and agility training and fun. 

If you and your dog are not a fan of greenery, you can visit some beaches that allow dogs. You can check out Cherry Beach of Ontario and Crescent Beach of Manitoba among many others.

Are the admissions to national parks in Canada free?

Admissions to parks in Canada are free for those aged 17 and below. You can purchase Discovery Passes online or in person to gain 12-month access to Canada’s national parks.

Here are the prices: 

  • Family (up to 7 people in a vehicle): $145.25
  • Single Adult: $72.25
  • Single Senior: $61.75

The Discovery Pass will also give you access to other destinations under Parks Canada, like historic sites and marine conservation areas. To know more about Parks Canada, you can visit their website at www.pc.gc.ca.

How long should a dog spend at a dog park?

Your dog can enjoy a 30-60 minute visit to the dog park. This is usually enough time to tire themselves out playing and running around with other dogs. For most breeds, this amount of time is ideal for daily exercise required to keep them healthy and happy.

If you want to know how much exercise your dog needs, you can consult your veterinarian. You can also visit The Spot Academy for a quick and detailed rundown of health and care information for different dog breeds.

Should I trust dog walkers to take my dogs to the park?

The idea of hiring a dog walker may be new to you and so is trusting a stranger to take your pet to the park. This is quite normal for dog owners who are new to the idea. The good news is, there are dog walker companies out there that only hire qualified individuals to carry out the task.

Companies like Spot Dog Walkers have a rigorous screening process in place to ensure the safety and satisfaction of their customers. Spot’s dog walkers are qualified retirees or individuals who are pursuing careers in line with animal welfare, veterinary, or are part-time groomers and trainers.

What should I tell a dog walker before letting him take my dog to the dog park?

You can give your walker a set of instructions to follow before walking your dog in the park. These instructions can include your dog’s behavior when walking, some habits the walker needs to know about, any training requirements, feeding time, medications, and anything that will help the walker make the sessions fun, comfortable and safe for your dog.

Can I leave my dog unsupervised at the dog park?

Your dog may be well-behaved and composed, but It’s not advisable to leave your dog unsupervised at the park. Most parks have policies that tell visitors to watch their pets at all times. This is not only to protect other people, pets, property, and surrounding wildlife but also to protect your pet from any accidents.

How do you know if your dog is ready to go to the dog park?

You should know if your dog is ready to go to the dog park when:

  • Your dog obeys your commands like sit and stay. 
  • Your dog comes to you when called, 
  • Your dog is not aggressive towards other people, especially children.
  • Your dog is not aggressive towards other dogs.
  • Your dog remains attentive to your voice even when he’s occupied or busy.

It is important to assess your dog for any discipline problems before walking him in public or letting him off the leash at an off-leash park. This is to make sure that your dog will not show aggressive behavior towards other people and dogs.

If your dog isn’t showing good behavior at the moment, you can hire a dog trainer to teach your dog to follow basic cues and discipline. You can also hire a dog walker to acquaint your pet with the outside environment, other people, and animals while on a leash.

Are dog parks open during COVID-19?

Yes, dog parks are open during COVID-19 with health and safety measures in place. Upon arrival, you may need to undergo screening before entering designated off-leash areas. 

Public health officials are also advising everyone to:

  • Observe physical distancing of 2 meters from people you don’t live with.
  • Stay at home if you are not feeling well
  • Wear masks indoors and outdoors when physical distancing cannot be observed.
  • Wash their hands frequently.

Are children allowed in dog parks?

There may be no laws that ban children below the age of 12 from dog parks, but it may be best to keep them out of the fences. Children may become safety hazards when around dogs who are off their leashes. If bringing children to the part cannot be avoided, they must be supervised at all times as dogs and other wildlife are unpredictable.

Can I leave my dog unsupervised at a dog park?

Your dogs are free to roam around off-leash in some areas of the parks, but it’s still standard dog park etiquette to keep your eyes on your dog all the time. It’s also best to have a leash in hand in case you need to take your dog away from a certain situation, may it be your dog being aggressive to other dogs or the other way around. 

In some parks, you’re required to keep your dog on leash and under your control at all times. This rule applies in parks like the Thousand Islands National park to keep other visitors safe, the park clean and the surrounding wildlife undisturbed. Violating this rule can cost you a $365 fine.

When am I not allowed to bring my dog to the park?

In some situations, you may not be allowed to bring your dog to the park as a safety measure. These situations may include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Your dog belongs to a dangerous breed. E.g. Pitbulls, American Staffordshire Terrier
  2. Your dog is in heat.
  3. Your dog has been issued a Dangerous Dog Order.
  4. Your dog has not been vaccinated.
  5. Your dog is not licensed and tagged.

Are all dog parks fenced?

Most dog parks in Canada are fenced with double gate systems to keep the entrance secure at all times. 

If you and your dog enjoy open spaces more, then there are also parks in Canada that are open or partially fenced. You can try places like Balmy Beach or Riverdale Park West for an unobstructed stroll in nature.

Is there wildlife in Canadian parks? If yes, is it safe to take my dog to these parks?

Yes, some parks are within or nearby protected wildlife territories. This is the reason why the Canadian government advises all park visitors to keep dogs on leash (3 metres or less) and under control at all times.

This is not only to keep the surrounding wildlife safe from your dog but also to keep you and your dog away from any danger.

What should I bring with me when I go to the dog park?

Before going on a trip to the dog park, here are some essential things to bring: 

  1. Water in case water fountains at the park are not operational due to COVID restrictions.
  2. Breakaway leash
  3. Waste bags 
  4. Pet license
  5. Your pet’s ID tag

Where can I find dog parks in Canada?

You can find dog parks in all major cities of Canada. To name a few, there are 34 off-leash dog parks in Toronto, 40 in Vancouver, more than 50 in Montreal, and 157 in Calgary. Canada also has 48 national parks and 46 of these allow dogs.

Are there designated areas for small dogs?

Some parks have Small Dog Areas (SDA). If you’re worrying about aggressive dogs bullying your small pup, you can take her to these areas. SDAs are for dogs with a maximum of 20 lbs and a maximum of 12 inches in height from the shoulders.

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