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Dog off-leash areas in parks

Off-leash areas

Calgary is fortunate to have 150 public off-leash areas in our multi-use parks for Calgarians and their dogs to enjoy.

Calgary may have the largest number of off-leash areas and combined amount of off-leash space (more than 1,250 hectares) in North America. These off-leash designations make up for approximately 17% of the total City of Calgary Parks inventory and equates to almost 1,600 Canadian Football League fields.

Even so, The City of Calgary is continually working on improving and adding off-leash areas to Calgary. The City of Calgary Parks has started public consultations on proposed new and/or fully fenced off-leash areas.

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Off-leash Area Management Plan

Thank you to everyone who provided input on theOff-leash Area Management Plan. The plan is an administrative document that will provide City of Calgary staff with consistent citywide guidelines and procedures for off-leash areas.

On Feb. 2, 2011, Council's Standing Policy Committee on Community & Protective Services approved the plan. The plan was then approved by Council at its meeting on Feb. 14, 2011. Please note that theproposed new and fully fenced off-leash sites are subject to stakeholder consultation and future City of Calgary capital budget allocations.

Off-leash area rules

  • Dogs must be on-leash in all public spaces in Calgary unless otherwise indicated by a posted sign that the area is an off-leash area. If a listed off-leash area and posted sign differs, the posted sign is considered correct.
  • Dogs must be under their owner's control at all times. In off-leash areas, this means dogs must be able to respond to their owner's voice, sound or visual commands. This will help protect your dog from unforeseen hazards such as cars, unfriendly dogs or coyotes.
  • In on-leash and off-leash areas, dog owners must pick up and properly dispose of their pet's feces. Dog owners are also required to carry a "suitable means" (e.g. plastic bag) for picking up their pet's feces.
  • All parking lots are on-leash, including parking lots for designated off-leash areas.
  • Dogs are not permitted within five meters of "No Dog Areas" whether a sign is posted or not. No dog areas include: play structures, school grounds, wading pool/swimming areas, sports fields, golf courses or cemeteries.
  • All areas within natural environment parks, including asphalt pathways, are on-leash unless designated as an off-leash area with a sign.
  • No dogs are allowed in Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Inglewood Wildlands, or off of the pathways in the Weaselhead Natural Environment Park, in order to protect sensitive wildlife habitat.
  • For more details on key rules for pet owners, please view this summary of Animal & Bylaw Services' dog and cat bylaws. For in-depth information, please view the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw.

Taking your dog on Calgary's pathways

  • Dogs on pathways must be on a leash no greater than two meters in length.
    Please stay to the right of the pathway at all times.
  • It is against the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw to ride a bike or in-line skate with your dog. This could be unsafe for your pet, yourself and other pathway users.
  • Dogs may not interfere with, or obstruct, other pathway users.
  • Dogs considered to be extremely aggressive must be muzzled, and harnessed or leashed. The leash should be no greater than one meter in length, and the dog handler should be over 18 years of age.

Wildlife and your dog

It is illegal for dogs to harass wildlife encountered in our parks and natural areas - this includes barking at and biting, other animals.

Be cautious if a wild animal is sighted and leash your dog immediately. Exit the park if you feel a threat to yourself or your dog. To report the sighting of a wild animal or a problem with wildlife within the Calgary city limits, please contact Alberta Fish & Wildlife at 403-297-6423.

Although coyotes mainly feed on small mammals such as mice, they have on a few occasions attacked and killed pets. If you want to ensure the safety of your dog, keep it on a leash at all times (even in a designated off-leash area). Coyotes are generally no threat to people but should be treated with respect and never approached or fed. For more information on coyotes, visit Living with Coyotes.

Porcupines do not shoot quills; they actually need to touch their targets. Keep your dog away from porcupines as it can be an expensive and painful process for you and your pet to have the quills removed.​​