Central Texans are particularly fond of two things: pets and an outdoor adventure. As our area grows and more people discover our public parks and trails, we each should pitch in to ensure our parks stay beautiful and safe for our fellow explorers.
Below are some top off-leash dog parks in Austin and Central Texas, followed by tips to make your next outing as fun–and safe–as possible.
Off Leash Parks
While the city of Austin requires your dog to be on a leash, there are many great off-leash dog parks around town. Here are some of our favorites:
- Red Bud Isle
- Walnut Creek District Park
- Emma Long Metropolitan Park
- Shoal Creek Greenbelt
- Davis White Northeast District Park
- West Austin Park
- Zilker Park
- Cedar Bark Park
- Georgetown Bark Park
- New Braunfels Puppy Playland
- Auditorium Shores Dog Park
- Onion Creek District Park
- Norwood Estate
- Bull Creek District Park
- Mary Moore Searight Metropolitan Park
- Yard Bar
- Doghouse Drinkery
When relishing the outdoors with your pet, keep these Texas-specific tips in mind:
Hazards to Watch For
Hiking the greenbelt with your pup is a great way to spend the weekend.
When traipsing the trails, watch for these common hazards:
- Strong Currents: Be aware of any currents in the lake, river, or creek when swimming with your dog. Never get too close to a dam. A doggy life jacket is never a bad idea!
- Flood-Brought Debris: Recent, heavy rains, will mean strong currents and lots of tangly debris.
- Stagnant Water: No rain means stagnant water- the perfect environment for bacteria and pesky insects. Fresh drinking water for both you and your pup is of utmost importance.
- Human-Brought Debris: Sadly, not everyone respects our public parks and environment. Be watchful for any broken glass or other dangerous trash. Bonus points for bringing a small bag and picking up any trash that you see!
Scoop That Poop! Be considerate of Mother Nature and other patrons; pick up after your pet! Check out the City of Austin’s Scoop the Poop initiative.
Get the Green Light: Ask permission before you or your pet greets another dog, especially if not in an off-leash area.
Not for Nervous Nellies: While socialization is important, an off-leash dog park is not a good place to socialize a nervous or aggressive dog. Rather, consult a professional dog trainer, and socialize your pup in a safe, controlled setting.
If in doubt, follow the golden rule: treat other pets and pet parents the way you and your pup want to be treated. The goal is to have a good time!
Leash for Safety: Always keep your dog on a leash in parking lots and along major roadways. Even if you can trust your dog, you cannot trust drivers.
Vaccinate: Make sure Fido is up to date on vaccinations.
Fight Fleas: With the abundant water in these areas, pesky insects like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes will be plentiful. Keep your pooch current on these medications to avoid any issues.
Be Attuned: Watch their body language. Some dogs want to jump right into the action, while others prefer to sit on the sidelines and observe. Both are totally fine; just make sure your pet feels comfortable, safe, and is having fun.
Outdoor adventures are fun, and no one ever wants to leave! That being said, it’s your duty as a pet parent to know when to call it quits. If your dog gets tired or becomes uncomfortable, it may be time to head home.