Dogs in Parks Canada’s protected places

For many of us, our dogs are members of the family and join us on our adventures. When we find out that dogs are not allowed in certain areas, it can impact family plans. To avoid disappointment, check before you go.

While visiting a Parks Canada place, do not leave your pet unattended in a vehicle, on your campsite, in a picnic area, or anywhere else. Wildlife, weather and an unfamiliar environment may be scary or dangerous for your pet.

A family walks their dog at Tunnel Mountain Campground during a fall afternoon. Banff National Park.
Dogs on leash – it is the law!

Dogs and the great outdoors are a match made in heaven but did you know that companion animals can stress, or harm, wildlife when they are off-leash? Dogs can also negatively impact other visitors’ enjoyment of our special places. For these reasons, dogs must be on a leash that measures 3 metres or less, and under control at all times in Parks Canada’s protected places – it is the law. Consider leaving your dog at home if you are not willing to have it on a leash at all times.

When visiting a Parks Canada place dogs 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, your dog, and the public. Wildlife are unpredictable; an off-leash dog can trigger aggressive behaviour from predators like bears, wolves or coyotes. Predators see free-running, off-leash dogs as competition or prey, and may either attack the dog, or follow the dog back to its owners or other people.

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

Two red chairs at sunset in the Bay of Fundy.

Did you know?

  • Off-leash dogs disturb wildlife which can result in dogs and/or people being injured or killed on the trail.
  • Dogs can disturb, injure or kill small animals, including species at risk.
  • Off-leash dogs are a common cause of wildlife incidents in our protected places.
A man and his dog on a trail in the forest.
Dogs must be on a leash of 3 metres or less, and under control at all times – it is the law.

Guidelines when bringing your dog to a national park, a national urban park and a national historic site

  1. Keep your dog on leash (3 metres or less) at all times – it is the law.
  2. Pick up and dispose of your dog's waste in a garbage bin.
  3. Always 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 dog’s and your 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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