Dogs In National Parks – Why You Can’t Take Them

This is probably a question you are asking yourself frequently, we know we were for a while there. All we wanted to do was take our four-legged buddies out on an adventure with us, without being slapped with a fine. Let’s face it, most of us who are wanting to take our dogs out are responsible dog owners, right?
Unfortunately, that’s not the case most of the time as we’ve discovered and that’s not the only reason why pets aren’t allowed in national parks.

Irresponsible Dog Owners: 
Irresponsible dog owners are probably one of the major reasons we are no longer able to take our buddies out on walks to these magical places. Most of us are happy to clean up after our friends, keep them on a leash, pack them some food and water and ensure that they don’t wander away or hurt the flora and fauna, while many other owners aren’t so happy to do that.

Native Animals: 
Australian animals haven’t really had to worry much about predators and with recent species introduced to the environment, they now have a reason to worry.  Cats and dogs are killing off the native animals, even causing them to flee their homes. The smell and sight of dogs are enough to cause these native animals stress, even in some cases abandoning their young. Although your dog may be super placid, it’s enough to really to cause stress to these animals.
In addition to this, native animals can also easily catch diseases and viruses that dogs carry, so it’s important to limit their exposure to them as much as possible.

National Parks often set out fox baits throughout the park to try and eliminate the fox population and other introduced species. That means if your pup eats some of these baits or ate an animal that has come in contact with them, it’s likely to become very fatal for your pet. So for your dog’s safety, this is a key reason why they are not permitted in the parks.

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Apart from obvious injuries like your dog falling from cliffs or getting lost and dehydrated, dogs in national parks are banned over the risk of injury from native animals too. Animals such as snakes can kill within minutes and in most cases, dogs try to protect their owners so they purposefully seek out these predators.
Kangaroos can also be dangerous to a dog when threatened, not only because of their sharp claws but also because if they are near water, they can try and drown your pet if it’s lured to the water.

One of the final reasons why dogs aren’t permitted in national parks is health risks to your pet. Shrubbery and amongst the flora are the ideal places for ticks to hide and can easily sneak into your pups fur. Paralysis ticks can be fatal to dogs so it’s important to keep an eye out if you are taking your dog out in the bush.  Dogs can also burn their paws walking over hot rocks and sand in summer and may slip on rocks in some locations you choose to visit.

What’s the consequence of taking my dog in a National Park? 
You can be fined for taking your pet into National Parks and the fee varies depending on the location, number of animals and if the area is protected or not. The park rangers are the ones who will issue you the fines and in only certain circumstances, are animals exempt from the rule. You can read more about the rules and consequences of taking your dogs into national parks on the NSW government website.

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5 thoughts on "Dogs In National Parks – Why You Can’t Take Them"

  1. Simon Carter says:

    I think it’s far too strict.
    I have two dogs and I don’t like that all the great national parks in Australia are off limits to me
    Why can’t I have them on a leash at all times?
    My dogs are my family, if i see little kids running around destroying the park, killing animals, throwing rocks at birds, destroying living trees then why can’t we also ban kids from national parks, yes ALL of them because of a very small minority? Wouldn’t that be an outrage!
    So why do we do it for dogs when a very tiny minority are the ones acting up?

  2. Stefan says:

    I know exactly where you are coming from Simon. I have my little dog who goes everywhere I do but because of the powers that be will not allow dogs in the national parks but quads, horses and foreign mining companies are. I think many people are discouraged to go anywhere with their companions but feral children and wild all ages parties are ok and if good minerals are found they will bend and break the rules for mining. I live on rural acreage in Queensland with a state park behind me and there are people with guns, motorbikes chewing up the roads and the 4WD muppets destroying the area most of the local wildlife ends up in the local properties, all welcomed, and my little dog walks right through them and they barely bat an eye lid. Simply the powers that be will allow any one in with enough money and will torment the average person who lives with the land. In some ways there needs to be a referendum on the laws in national parks and they need to start looking at opening this amazing land to locals.

  3. M Graham says:

    We live within a Nationa Park on the Mid North Coast. Your dogs and visitors with dogs are a threat to our Native Marsupials. Dogs barking terrorise Native Animals forcing them to flee and throw their babies. People are now ignorant as to the threats to our Native Marsupials and need to be re educated.

    Dogs do not belong anywhere near National Parks. These laws and fines need to be increased to drive home the damage these selfish people cause to others by their ignorance.

  4. A says:

    M Graham… And diesel 4WD and humans don’t cause this either? Yet both are allowed in National Parks. I’ve seen big adolescent parties in National Parks, children screaming whilst chasing a Goanna, and that’s alright somehow, with no fines, yet responsible dog owners don’t even have a channel to apply for 24/48/72 hour passes?

    You’re seeing the worst in dogs/owners, and your thought process is damaging to the responsible ones. Before pushing responsible dog owners down a hole, how about you start with irresponsible people without dogs first.

    It’s people like you that obstruct a channel for others to establish a system allowing responsible owners to potentially book in advance, pay a fee, establish breed/age/microchip number and sign a waiver about cleaning and being on a leash. Then, people like you would be able to argue for harsher punishments for those not obeying the rules, as there’d now be a system in place to follow that could benefit responsible dog owners.

    Be open my man. Don’t have a narrow mind. -A

  5. Jamie says:

    You miss the point. There is no system in which someone can take a dog into a National Park, leash or no leash that does not have an impact. Comparing one act that is bad to another act that is bad doesn’t make it a better act either. The fact is the scent of a dog has implications for the wildlife. Do you understand this? A dog may also carries diseases that would otherwise not be in these areas. Additionally a dog can go with you places said 4WDs cannot which is even worse because the last refuges in which these animals can seek safety is then disturbed. I am an avid dog lover unfortunately our national parks are not for them. If we lived somewhere like Canada where there are naturally predators then it’s all good although then you run the risk of having a dog attacked by said predators. Enjoy what you can of what is made available such as state forest etc and if you have any respect for nature then keep dogs out of national parks

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