Dogs on leash

Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site

Dogs and the great outdoors are a match made in heaven; but did you know that our companion animals can unintentionally stress or harm wildlife when they run off-leash? That is why dogs must be on a leash and under control at all times in our protected areas.

Dogs on leash – it is the law!

It doesn’t matter how well-behaved your dog is; when visiting a national park or national historic site they must be on a leash and under control at all times.

This isn’t just to protect the wildlife, it is also to protect you and your dog and the public. Wildlife are unpredictable; an off-leash dog can trigger aggressive behaviour from predators like bears and foxes. Predators see free-running, off-leash dogs as competition or prey, and may either attack the dog, or track the dog back to its owners or other people.

After repeat encounters with off-leash dogs, wildlife lose their natural wariness of humans and become a public safety risk.

Did you know?

  • Off-leash dogs disturb wildlife resulting in dogs and/or people being injured or killed on the trail.


  • Dogs can disturb, injure or kill birds and small animals, including species at risk.


  • Off-leash dogs are a very common cause of wildlife incidents in our protected areas.


Guidelines when bringing your dog to a national park or national historic site

  1. Keep your dog on leash at all times – it is the law.
  2. Pick up and dispose of your dog's waste in a garbage bin.
  3. Give wildlife the space they need.
  4. Ensure your dog does not attack, harass or chase a person, animal or vehicle.
  5. Select suitable activities and terrain that align with your and your dog’s abilities.
  6. Check for area closures, trail restrictions, and for updates on wildlife activity by visiting the park website or a Parks Canada Visitor Centre.
  7. Consider leaving your dog at home if you plan to camp, hike or go into the backcountry.

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