Dog-friendly Sydney

Walking the same streets every day can be as boring for your dog as it is for you, but finding parks and beaches in Sydney that allow pooches can be annoyingly difficult. To get some new ideas of where to exercise with our canine, we asked Sydneysider Dr Katrina Warren to share the places her dog Riley loves.

Rowland Reserve, Bayview
This fully off-leash park is paradise for all pooches, no matter what they’re into, and all owners wanting to be active and run around with their dogs. There is a great grassy area, sandy beach and shallow swimming area making it perfect for dogs of all shapes, sizes and ages. There is even a dog-friendly café to relax with a coffee – it’s often filled with very tired pooches! Remember, paralysis ticks are prevalent in this area, so use a preventative and search your dog daily.

Camperdown Memorial Rest Park
A popular spot with the Inner-Westies, this park is big and popular, but don’t let that stop you having some great fun with your four-legged friend. There’s a nice flat grassy area, making it ideal for older dogs, and there are always plenty of other canines running around for nose-sniffing. It’s also great for owners that want to run around and get some exercise with their dog.

Sirius Cove, Mosman
This is an off-leash area all day on weekdays, and before 9am and after 4pm on weekends and public holidays. With plenty of shade and a great beach for a splash and a dip (for both owners and dogs), it’s the ideal place to bring your pooch during the warmer months. There isn’t a huge amount of shade so make sure you watch your dog for sunburns and sunstroke.

Dan Mahoney Reserve, North Parramatta
This reserve has more than three hectares of off-leash flat terrain, making it a perfect running spot for you and your four-legged training buddy There’s big shady trees surrounding the area, providing shade (and sniffs) for your pooch and it’s popular place with runners and families.

Centennial Park
This is one of my favourite places to go with Riley as it has some great off-leash tracks. These are not only great fun for him to explore, but are easier on his paws than bitumen or concrete pavements. For those not comfortable with off-leash walks just yet, there are plenty of options in this 158-hectare area. Why not pack a picnic, and spend a bit of time in green surroundings? It’ll be therapeutic for you and your dog.

A word of warning on heatstroke
Dogs can overheat after too much exercise and over exertion, which can result in heatstroke – a very serious condition caused by a marked elevation in body temperature. Brachycephalic breeds (those with short muzzles) such as bulldogs, pugs and staffys have short airways and develop heatstroke more easily than other breeds. Special care must be taken to prevent these dogs from overheating during summer.

What to look out for:

  • Elevated body temperature – greater than 39.5°C
  • Panting persistently and quickly
  • Looking stressed and agitated
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Weakness and muscle tremors
  • Bluish purple or bright red gums
  • Collapsing or having a seizure

What Should You Do?
If you suspect that your dog has suffered heatstroke and has an elevated temperature, you should try to cool them down and take them to your vet asap. Offer them cool water, wet their coat with a cool shower or hose (not ice), place a chilled wet towel over them for transport and turn on car’s air conditioning to maximum.

How to avoid it
Exercise in morning or evening – Avoid exercising your dog during the heat of the day when the sun is beating down. Be aware that the pavements can also get extremely hot and burn your pet’s feet.


Dr Katrina and her pup, Riley.

Dr Katrina Warren is a veterinarian and best known for her work in the media as a presenter and spokesperson. She has worked across all media platforms, including TV, radio, print and online. She has also authored four books, hosted many events and most recently created an online education program for dog owners. Her real passion is helping pet owners enhance the special bond that is shared with pets. She is a proud ambassador of PAW by Blackmores. You can catch Katrina Warren via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, her YouTube channel. Visit for more information.