Canine code of conduct
- Keep your dog under control in all places at all times. Dogs must be leashed, unless in a designated off-leash area or on a designated leash-optional trail.
- Scoop your dog's poop and deposit the bag in a designated container (not the forest). Leave all trails as clean—or cleaner—than when you arrived.
- Respect wildlife and their habitat—you and your dog are in their home.
- Keep your dog out of streams, creeks, ponds, wetlands and shorelines. A variety of wildlife lives in these areas including fish, frogs, salamanders and birds.
- Keep your dog from digging or causing damage.
- Yield the right-of-way to other hikers. Keep your dog close and under control as others pass by. Yield the right-of-way to equestrians. Say hello so riders know you are there, and keep your dog close, quiet and under control as horses pass by.
- Always be courteous. Don't give other trail users any reason to complain. Set an example by being a conscientious owner with a well-behaved dog enjoying the trails.
The scoop on poop
Dog poop is not fertilizer. It’s full of bacteria, nitrogen and salts which don’t dissolve and can be harmful to plants, aquatic life and people.
Since dogs are meat eaters, their feces can carry pathogens including coliform bacteria, salmonella and giardia which can contaminate soil and water (and make people sick). Some parasites can linger in soil for years. This can put young children at risk if they inadvertently eat contaminated dirt or grass. Persons confined to hand-activated wheelchairs and active sports participants may also be at risk.
What about horse poop?
Horses are herbivores (eat grasses, plants). Their manure (in small amounts) is organic and biodegradable, and tends to dissolve quickly. Horse manure does not contain the contaminates, bacteria and salts that dog poop does.
It adds up!
In 2010, 10 million visits were made to Metro Vancouver Regional Parks. It’s estimated that 24% (2.4 million) of these visits included a dog. A medium sized dog (e.g. cocker spaniel) discharges 0.34 kg of feces and about 720 ml of urine each day. Using these averages, that means about 961 half-ton truckloads of feces and 513 oil drums of urine are deposited in Metro Vancouver regional parks each year.
... And it gets around
Dogs typically defecate along the first 100 to 150 metres of a trail. Two or three days’ worth of poop from about 100 dogs can contribute enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay to swimming and shellfishing.
Safety tips for you and your dog
Ensure both you and your dog have an enjoyable visit in regional parks. Here are a few tips: