Few things are more sacred to us than our dogs, so when we’re told that they’re not allowed in national parks or on beaches, you may feel personally offended. Rest assured, however, that any restrictions are in place for good reason.
We like to take our best friends everywhere, and what’s more, they like to come with us. However, a line has been drawn in the sand when it comes to beaches and national parks. While it may seem outrageous that dogs be banished from some of our environment’s most wondrous natural playgrounds, there are actually a number of good reasons why this is the case.
Danger to our dogs
- National parks frequently use poisonous ground baiting to target introduced species such as foxes. These baits are toxic and can sadly be fatal to our beloved canines.
- National parks are full of shrubbery – the perfect environment for paralysis ticks, which are potentially fatal to dogs.
- Without access to water and shade, dogs can develop heatstroke at the beach.
- If the sand is particularly hot, your dog’s pads can burn and blister.
- Wet rocks and moss are very slippery, and your dog can cut their pads on sharp rocks and/or oyster shells at the beach.
- Excessive consumption of seawater can upset your dog’s stomach and cause dehydration or salt toxicity.
Danger to the environment
While recreation is often encouraged in national parks, it’s worth remembering that national parks exist primarily for the preservation of the natural environment. Therefore, any activities that negatively impact on the environment are banned. These are the main reasons why dogs aren’t allowed in national parks:
- Even the most docile dogs are predatory animals and are therefore a threat to protected wildlife
- Native animals are vulnerable to diseases that dogs may carry
- Barking and scents left by dogs can scare wildlife and attract other predatory animals
When it comes to beaches, the main concern for the environment is dog owners that don’t pick up after their dog. Though this may only reflect a minority of people, it tends to be more common when dogs are let off the leash in areas like beaches. There is also the issue of our canines possibly crushing wildlife in rivers; although this is something humans need to watch out for too.
Another concern is the containment of dogs in crowded areas. Beaches are people-magnets, and – believe it or not – not all people like or feel safe around dogs.
Dog-friendly national parks and beaches
In Australia, each state and territory is responsible for managing their national parks, while beaches fall under local government jurisdiction. Most states allow dog walking in some national parks – it’s just a matter of finding out which ones. Similarly, contact your local council to find out which beaches allow dogs and whether or not they have to be kept on a leash. There are some great spots in Australia to take your pet if you’re keen to get out and about!