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Dog parks in Palm Beach for furry friends

Dog owners know how important it is to take their pooches on long walks if they're not lucky enough to have a fenced-in yard to allow them to run freely. But what if you can't walk long distances with Fido or Sparky? Answer: You look for a nearby dog park. Here's everything you need to know but were afraid to ask.

Public dog parks are usually fenced-in, double-gated areas where dogs can run and play off-leash. Most have Fido Fountains, cooling off stations and wash-off areas, plus many segregate dogs by size. They can be a great way for dogs to get exercise, socialize with other dogs, and for owners to meet new “dog people” friends. However, there are also some potential risks associated with public dog parks.

First, make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations before letting them mingle with other canines. Remember that dog owners with their pets enter at their own risk and dog parks are considered unsupervised recreational areas. Don't forget to let your dog take breaks to rest in covered or shaded areas, so they don't get overheated. Here's what else we found:

Image by Katrin B. from Pixabay

Cons of dog parks

  • Dog fights: Dog fights can occur at dog parks, even if the dogs involved are normally friendly. This is because dogs are animals and they can sometimes be unpredictable, so be cautious and prepared.
  • Dog bites: Dog bites can also occur at dog parks. This is why it is important to supervise your dog at all times and to be aware of their body language. 
  • Dog diseases: Dog diseases can be spread at dog parks. This is why it is important to make sure that your dog is up to date on their vaccinations before taking them to a dog park. It may also be safer to carry a portable drinking cup and water, than allow them to drink from the communal water trough. You may also want to check for ticks before going home.
  • Dog waste: Dog waste can also be a problem at dog parks. This is why it is important to pick up after your dog and to dispose of their waste properly. And don't forget to carry disposable wipes to clean their paws before getting back into the car.

Pros of dog parks

  • Exercise: Dog parks provide a great opportunity for dogs to get exercise. They can run, play, and burn off energy that they might not be able to burn off at home. A day at the park will probably tire them out, so they sleep better, too.
  • Socialization: Dog parks are a great place for dogs to sniff and socialize with other dogs. This can help them learn how to interact with other dogs and develop good social skills.
  • Meeting new people: Dog parks are also a great place to meet new people who love dogs. This can be a great way to make new friends and get involved in the local dog community.
  • Reduced stress: Dog parks may also help reduce stress in dogs. This is because when they get to run around and play freely, it can help relieve pent-up energy and allow them to feel more relaxed overall.

Know before you go: Dogs are normally not allowed on county beaches, unless there are signs specifically saying they are permitted. Nor are they allowed at county facilities or any other park locations where there are signs posted saying no dogs allowed. Dogs are permitted in most county parks while they are on a leash no greater than six feet. 

Rules & general etiquette for dog parks

  • No food of any kind is permitted in the dog park.      
  • Smoking is not permitted within the fenced areas.
  • Large dogs are not permitted in the small dog area (usually over or under 30 pounds).
  • Dog owners must clean up after their dogs and be respectful towards others.
  • Dog handlers must be in the park enclosure and within view of their dog at all times.
  • Dogs must be leashed prior to entering and upon leaving the dog park and must be restrained at all times at a distance no greater than six feet in length from their handler.
  • There may be a limit of 2 dogs per person.
  • Dogs should be removed from the park at the first sign of aggression.
  • Dangerous dogs are prohibited from park property.
  • Dog handlers must have leash in hand at all times in leash-only parks.
  • Female dogs in heat are prohibited from entering the dog park.
  • Dogs should be under voice control (i.e. come when called).
  • Dogs must be vaccinated and display current licenses.
  • Puppies under 4 months of age are prohibited.
  • Spayed an neutered animals are recommended.
  • Children ten years of age and younger must be closely supervised by an adult.
  • At beach parks, dogs are prohibited from digging in the sand (it's a turtle thing).

The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department can be reached by calling 561-252-1714 if you have questions about dog park regulations or need to report a problem situation. Author's note: We tested the above number and it was answered by a “hooman” on a Sunday, to our delight.

Image by Bruce Emmerling from Pixabay

Following is a list of some popular county, regional, city and neighborhood parks that either allow dogs on leash or off leash. Some are free and some have nominal entrance fees; and some require a special license that is purchased annually for about $35; plus, some community parks may have local residency requirements. We've provided links with further details.

Dog parks

(C) = County Parks & Recreation.

NOTE: This information is presented for your convenience; it is subject to change at any time. We suggest you confirm details before heading out.

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Also read our stories on dog parks in Broward and Miami-Dade: 

Other free & cheap things to do 


Mary Lou Cruz

About Mary Lou Cruz

I worked at the South Florida Sun Sentinel for 21 years, as an Advertising Special Sections Writer; Editorial Systems Editor in Technology; and Editorial Assistant in the Newsroom. Before my newspaper career, I worked in the airline and travel industry and I have lived in Brazil, Puerto Rico and vacationed in more than 25 countries. Originally, I'm from Maryland. I moved to Florida in 1984 and raised my daughter in Miami. Email:

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