Dogs in parks
Although most national parks do not allow dogs (assistance dogs allowed) there are a number of parks where dogs are welcome. Keep your dog on designated walking trails and under your control on a lead of no more than two meters at all times.
Where can I walk my dog?
To find out which national parks you can walk your dog in use our find a park tool and refine your search to ‘Dog walking (restrictions apply)’.
Assistance dogs are permitted in most public places and are therefore welcome in South Australia’s parks and reserves.
What are assistance dogs?
Assistance dogs are specially trained to enable people with a disability to participate in all aspects of society. They are trained for a range of purposes including assisting people who are blind or vision impaired, people who are hearing impaired, supporting children with autism and supporting people with mental health difficulties.
Entry requirements apply for parks and reserves that are usually prohibit dogs, such as national parks. So what are the entry requirements for taking assistance dogs into dog prohibited parks and reserves?
Handlers are required to carry and produce evidence that the dog is an assistance dog. Types of evidence accepted are:
- Identification card issued for the animal by an accredited assistance dog training provider.
- A letter from the visitor’s medical practitioner stating that it is an assistance dog and what its purpose is.
- A state or territory government-issued public transport assistance animal pass.
The following park entry conditions also apply:
If the park has a visitor information centre it is recommended you pop in to introduce yourself and the dog and show the accreditation to the rangers, this way they can sight the dog and let other staff in the park know.
- The dog must always be on a leash no more than 2 metres long and under strict control by the handler.
- The assistance dog must not frighten or endanger native wildlife or be aggressive towards other visitors.
- Assistance dogs must not be taken outside of designated visitor sites (e.g. picnic areas) and walking trails.
Handlers must ensure that the dog meets behaviour and hygiene standards appropriate to public places. The animal will not be allowed park entry if it has an infectious disease that could impact on the health of the public or native animals. Any dog faeces are to be removed from the park and disposed of responsibly. Our parks are leave no trace so the bag of dog faeces must be taken out of the park with you.
Before taking your assistance dog into a park or reserve, other than those listed above, it is highly recommended that you contact us so we can provide you with the latest information on any potential hazards within specific parks that may affect your dog. This also allows operational staff within the park to be notified of the dog and handlers presence, vehicle registration and potential locations that they might visit, which mitigates the possibility of any compliance issue and makes for a more enjoyable visit. Many parks have baiting programs and rewilding programs which are significant to the longevity of reintroduced species. This information is passed onto those with assistance dogs when they notify the park before entering as it helps protect both the dog and the native animals alike. Please contact the park via the phone numbers listed on each park page or contact the visitor services centre via email.
Why does my dog need to be on a lead?
If your dog is unleashed, it is more likely to impact on native wildlife and other visitors in a park and be at risk itself.
Risks to wildlife:
- Dogs off tracks will leave a scent in the bush that will keep wildlife away.
- Uncontrolled dogs may frighten wildlife and disrupt their natural behavior.
- Some dogs will kill or injure wildlife.
Risks to other park visitors
- Dogs may be aggressive to other park visitors.
- Even friendly dogs can knock people over causing injury.
- Some people want to enjoy parks without dogs.
Risks to your dog
- Poison baits may be laid to control foxes. Baits can be fatal to dogs.
- Even if your dog is friendly, other dogs may not be.
- Your dog can catch parasites (such as fleas and ticks) from wildlife.
- Snake bites are a real risk in natural areas such as parks.
- Wildlife such as kangaroos and koalas will defend themselves if threatened by a dog and can cause significant injury to or the death of your dog.