Dog leash sign on beach

Respect all rules posted in parks, at trailheads and on beaches. Sure, you’ll save yourself an expensive fine by following instructions. But you’ll also protect local wildlife, sensitive habitats and your own family—including both people and pups. That “No Dogs Allowed” sign at the lake could be safeguarding a source of community drinking water. It might be shielding a threatened species that lives along the shore. Or, it could mean that the water is polluted with blue-green algae blooms that can be fatal to dogs.

Responsible pet parents also mitigate the risks that jeopardize our favorite recreational areas. In the western U.S., devastating wildfires can grow from just one spark on a hot, dry, windy day. Always follow park rules related to campfires, cigarettes and fire prevention.