Pets in parks

Two dogs under a tree in a park

Find out about our local parks, off-leash areas and the permits required to exercise your pet in public parks.

A number of our local parks and reserves permit you to bring your pet for a walk to allow your pet to exercise along with you. Some parks also provide off-leash areas to allow your dog to go for a run.

Find a park near you

Visit our Parks and playgrounds directory for a comprehensive list of parks in Darebin. You can filter the listings by the facilities you're looking for such as:

Fenced dog off-lead parks

We have two specialist off-lead parks for dogs in Reservoir and Bundoora. These are fenced off areas where dogs can play and interact with each other in a purpose built play-space.

There are many off-lead areas areas for dogs around Darebin, please visit our listings for off-lead parks for dogs in Darebin.

Responsible ownership of dogs in parks

As a dog owner, you must have your dog on a lead and be in control when your dog is within 10 metres of:

  • Any playground or children’s play equipment
  • The main area of an organised sport activity, community event or festival
  • The main area of an organised public meeting
  • A permanent barbecue or picnic area (when in use)
  • Paths
  • Water features such as wetlands, lakes and creeks

Dogs and people sharing parks

Sometimes there will be times when dogs and people are using parks and open spaces at the same time.

Taking your dog to a park can be great for your physical and mental wellbeing. It's a reason to get active, meet up with friends and socalise with people.

But, some people may feel threatened by unleashed dogs and can be fearful for themselves or their family's safety. Older people with mobility issues can feel particularly vulnerable.

Dogs can also be a problem off-lead near roads, share paths, bike paths or near protected or regenerated habitat areas.

According to the Domestic Animals Act, dogs are required to be on lead unless we have indicated an area is a dog off lead area.

Darebin has over 30 designated dog off-lead areas within parks and reserves. If an area has a conflict between off-lead dogs and other activities, we will work with the community to identify a code of conduct for park users, that specifically addresses dog behaviour. These types of codes of conduct work best when dog owners and everyone else look out for each other's safety. There are limits to how much policing we can do in parks, so we appreciate the all of the community looking after each other.

Areas dogs cannot be off lead

Some parks or areas within parks are not suitable for dogs to be off lead including areas that are:

  • Within 10 metres of cycling paths
  • Within 10 metres of playspace or a shared path
  • Within 30 metres of a BBQ area
  • Environmentally significant areas along the Darebin, Merri or Edgars Creek ecosystems (unless specifically signed)
  • Where formal active sport is in session

Guide to exercising in a dog off lead area

It is important you adhere to the following rules to keep dogs and people safe.

  • Don’t enter the park if your dog is unvaccinated, aggressive or on heat
  • It is the owner’s responsibility to clean up after their dog. Always carry waste bags and dispose of these responsibly, either in the nearest bin or at your bin at home. Failure to clean up after your dog can result in fines being issued.
  • Dog owners must carry a lead at all times and place dog on lead before leaving.
  • Only remove your dog’s lead once you have entered the signed designated off-lead area.
  • Supervise your dog’s play at all times. Once inside, it is your job to keep eye on your dog and know where they are and what they are doing at all times.
  • Ensure your dog can be controlled by the sound of your voice.
  • Ensure your dog does not threaten other people or animals (owners are subject to liability from issues that may arise). Remove your dog immediately if they appear afraid or displaying aggressive behaviour.
  • Respect all park users, please remember that some people are afraid of dogs, and a responsible dog owner will not allow their dog to approach people without checking in to see if that is okay.
  • Remember to pick a suitable time to visit. If you are visiting for the first time, it might be a good idea to arrange to take your dog during non-peak times to allow your dog to get acquainted with the environment without the distraction of multiple dogs.
  • Closely monitor your dog’s behaviour and body language. Not all dogs enjoy playing with others. Monitor your dog’s temperament to ensure that your dog is comfortable.

Is your dog anxious or stressed?

Signs your dog is stressed include:

  • Their tail is between the legs
  • Excessive urinating.

If your dog feels anxious, uncomfortable or stressed, we suggest leaving the park with your dog. You should think about returning to the park another time, when it is not as busy.

Always observe and obey any signs in parks.