When you own a dog, giving them a walk quickly becomes part of your daily routine. Sometimes you want to mix things up, to let Rover off their leash and have them roam more freely. That's not always allowed so we've found out where you can and cannot walk your dog off-leash around Australia.
Laws around dog ownership and your responsibilities as an owner are governed by local councils and can vary wildly over Australia.
As a general rule if you are unsure if you're allowed to let your dog off-leash, your dog doesn't come when called - particularly when excited - or your dog may intimidate people or other dogs, just keep them on a leash. You must be able to keep your dog under control while off-leash and you should always have their leash handy in case you need it.
Australia has nearly five million dogs, with nearly 40% of Australian households owning one. But it seems that 40% of Australian dogs are not walked enough and that a similar percentage of dogs are overweight or obese. With colleagues at the University of Sydney, we are interested in collecting more recent data on these trends.
So why do we need to walk our dogs? And how much is enough?
There are a number of parks and public spaces around Sydney that you can let your dog off-leash. They are all clearly sign posted and have dog-tidy stations. Dogs are prohibited from playgrounds, school grounds and sports fields unless signs indicate otherwise.
There are 38 acres of off-leash park land around Melbourne to take your dog to. Otherwise you have to keep your dog on a leash no more than 3 metres long, including near playgrounds, barbecue areas and water features.
Keep your dog on-leash in public places unless in a fenced off-leash area. There are over 135 off-leash areas around Brisbane so you have some options available to you and some are for small dogs only.
Off-leash exercise areas cover a large part of Canberra, although you must keep your dog on a leash on shared paths outside of those areas. There are also plenty of fenced dog parks to visit with separate small and large dog areas. Dogs can even swim around the waters of Canberra as long as they're not near the designated swimming areas. Sports fields are okay as long as no events are on at those grounds.
Adelaide has a map of what areas dogs can walk on or off-leash although they must be on-leash within 50 metres of playgrounds, sporting events and permanent barbecues. There are also reserves that dogs are allowed off-leash during certain hours, check the signage or contact the council to confirm these times.
This comprehensive list of off-leash areas from VetWest lists all of the places around Perth that you can walk your dog off-leash.
Local parks and beaches will typically have clear signage if dogs are expected to be on or off-leash. If you have any doubts you should contact the local council or look up the location on Doggo which will give you a decent idea of what's allowed in the area.
Enjoy walkies and don't forget to pick up their poop.