7 Best Dog Parks In Raleigh (2023)

Raleigh is one of the biggest cities in North Carolina, with a variety of things for you to experience. For your furry friend, the city has many dog parks nearby, great for letting your pooch have some off-leash fun. This article will cover 7 of the best dog parks in Raleigh, and the fun amenities each one has to offer.

A good dog park has plenty of space for your pup to run around and is filled with other friendly pooches ready to socialize. Before going to a dog park, it is recommended your pup is fully vaccinated and well trained, which helps keep other visitors safe. The rules put in place by the dog park should also be respected, as they are there to help create the visit enjoyable for everyone.

Going to a good dog park can tire out any high-energy dogs, and gives them a fun experience for the day. Let’s take a look at 7 of the best dog parks in Raleigh, so you can decide the best one for you.

1. Dix Park Dog Park

7 Best Dog Parks In Raleigh (1)
Dix Park Dog Park
Location1800 Umstead Dr., Raleigh, NC 27603
Hours7 AM- 9 PM

Dix Park Dog park is a large space great for any dog to play in. This dog park has 3 fenced sections dedicated for your pup to run off-leash. Two of the sections are for larger dogs, and one area is just for small breeds, giving them a safe place to run off-leash. The fields rotate their use, allowing for time for the dog park to stay maintained. The surfacing is grass with dirt, meaning it may get a bit muddy during the wet season.

This dog park is located in Dix Park, and all dogs must be on a leash unless they are in the designated area. In the off-leash area, there is a water fountain to help fill up your dog’s bowl for when your pooch gets thirsty. Dix Park is the park the off-leash area is located in and is the biggest city park in Raleighs, around 308 acres large. It is found near the heart of the city and is a fun attraction for you and your dog to visit.

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2. The Alley Dog Park

The Alley Dog Park
Location511 N Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27604
Hours24 Hours

The Alley is a small dog park for letting your pup run around and burn some excess energy. It is a community dog park useful for those living in the City Center apartments. This dog park is located near downtown Raleigh and is a great way to safely exercise your pup in the city. It is open 24/7, allowing you to take your dog out at any time. The Alley is a simple dog park with dirt surfacing. There are a few trees and benches in the area. At night it is lit with the surrounding street lights so you can still keep an eye out for your pooch after dark.

(Video) Best Dog Parks in Raleigh. Triangle Parks. Dorothea Dix and Oakwood Dog Park. Dog friendly Cities

3. Millbrook Park Dog Park

7 Best Dog Parks In Raleigh (3)
Millbrook Exchange Park Dog Park
Location1905 Spring Forest Rd, Raleigh, NC 27615
Hours7 AM- 10 PM

Millbrook dog park is the oldest dog park in Raleigh, first opening its gate in April of 2003. This dog park is located in Millbrook Exchange Park. The park is a beloved community attraction, with sports courts, a pool, a dog park, and a community center. The dog park is the only area where dogs can roam free, and everywhere else they must be on a leash.

Wide and spacious, Millbrook dog park is separated into three play areas. One section is very open and for breeds of all sizes. There is a section for smaller breeds to run around, and the last area for relaxing, with picnic seating, spread about. Agility equipment is located in the dog park to help tire out your pooch.

Any dog will love a day at this dog park, but before going it is recommended your dog is fully vaccinated. While water is provided, it is recommended you bring extra since the fountain may be turned off. On hot days the dog park has ample shade, and even a mister to cool down you or your pup. Being the oldest dog park in the city, it has provided endless pleasure to the people and dogs who have visited over the years.

4. Buffalo Road Dog Park

Buffalo Road Dog Park
Location5908 Buffaloe Rd, Raleigh, NC 27604
Hours6 AM-8 PM

Buffalo Road dog park is a perfect place to go for draining the energy out of your high-energy pooch. This dog park can be found on the 165.6-acre park, Buffalo Road Athletic Park. The dog park is just one of the amenities of the park, as there are also biking trails, a track, softball and baseball fields, a pool, and trails that take you on a peaceful walk. Dogs are welcomed in the park, but they must be on a leash unless in their designated off-leash area.

Buffalo Road dog Park is a huge area where your pup can run and frolic about. It is split into two areas, keeping large and smaller breeds separated. In the dog park, there is running water for thirsty dogs, but you will have to bring your own poop bags to clean up after your pup.

Open space, plenty to sit, and the cleanliness of this park are why you and your pup will want to check out this dog park if in the area.

5. Carolina Pines Dog Park

7 Best Dog Parks In Raleigh (4)
Carolina Pines Dog Park
Location2305 Lake Wheeler Rd, Raleigh, NC 27603
Hours8 AM-8 PM

Located in the Raleigh neighborhood of Carolina pines, the Carolina pines dog park is a free off-leash area you can visit if nearby. Common in many dog parks, there are small and large dog areas, so pooches can be with breeds of similar size. The dog park is covered in shade by the tall trees nearby. With vast space, the pup will love getting off its leash and running around at this park. It is regularly visited by the residents and their pooch, so there are usually other dogs here ready to socialize.

You will have no problem finding somewhere to sit at this dog park, as there are seats spread across the park. Water is also provided so you can fill up your dog’s bowl when they get thirsty. The surface of this dog park is dirt, and it is set in a forested-type habitat. It is a great place to retreat from the city, and let your pooch get some fresh air.

6. Jack Smith Park Dog Park

Jack Smith Park Dog Park
Location9725 Penny Rd, Raleigh, NC 27606
Hours8 AM-8 PM
PriceDaily Pass: $5

At Jack Smith park there is a members-only dog park, perfect for letting your pooch run off-leash. The dog park is around 2 acres, and a membership is required before being allowed to visit. For residents of the area, a day pass is $5, but for those from out of town, it costs $10. You can also purchase a yearly pass for $40 for one dog, or $60 for multiple, and it is double the price for those who are non-residents.

The Jack Smith dog park is fully fenced off, with woodchip surfacing on the ground. Water fountains are in the park, as well as poop bags to help pick up after your dog. This dog park is split into two areas, keeping large and smaller breeds separated.

This dog park is found at Jack Smith Park, which has a variety of other things to enjoy. The park has playgrounds, a water park, a rock wall, walking paths, and other sections enjoyable for every family member.

7. Oakwood Dog Park

7 Best Dog Parks In Raleigh (5)
Oakwood Dog Park
Location910 Brookside Dr, Raleigh, NC 27604
Hours8 AM-7 PM

Oakwood Park is a 12.7-acre park, with an off-leash area for your pooch to roam free. This dog park has two areas. One is for large dogs, while the other section is only for smaller breeds to play. Oakwood dog park is a large open space for your pup to go wild, with plenty of trees for shade.

The dog park is just one of the amenities found at Oakwood park, as there are also picnic areas, and sports fields nearby. Dogs must be on a leash unless they are in the off-leash section. Water and poop bags are available for your use at the dog park. Plenty of benches and seating are also in the dog park so you can relax while watching your pup. If the weather is hot, there is even a small doggy pool, if your pooch likes to get its paws wet.

(Video) North Raleigh Dog Park

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About the Author

Emilio Brown

Spiders, snakes, and lizards are my favorite types of animals, and I enjoy keeping some species as pets. I love learning about the various wonders nature has to offer and have been a writer for 5 years. In my spare time, you can find me getting out into nature.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

(Video) Raleigh - Dog Park / GoPro


What is the best Dog Park layout? ›

The best layout is one that is fenced in with a gate and an accessible path back and forth from the parking lot to the park itself. The best separation concept is to create separate areas for small dogs and large dogs and placing size appropriate equipment in those areas.

Are dog parks good or bad for dogs? ›

But taking your dog for a romp at a dog park does involve some risks, including contracting diseases or parasites and encountering aggressive dogs. It can be especially risky for puppies that aren't fully vaccinated and don't yet know the rules of interacting with strange dogs.

Is a walk better than the Dog Park? ›

On-leash structured group dog walking is by far the best way for dogs to socialize and bond while working together as a team, rather than competing. Off-leash romping at the dog park can be fun, but only IF the dogs are behaving well.

What time are dog parks most busy? ›

Most dog parks are extremely busy in the evening after work, very early morning before work and especially on the weekends. Try and avoid peak times until your pup becomes familiar with the process of entering, exiting and greeting other pups either from his or others' arrival.

What are the cons of dog parks? ›

These parks aren't recommended. It can be a dangerous place at times: you may witness fights between dogs, or your dog may be preyed upon by more aggressive dogs. Your dog can pick up bad habits like fear, aggression, rough play, and he may begin to ignore his commands. Illnesses can be passed from dog to dog.

What is the best surface for a dog area? ›

Choose the right materials

Instead, you should consider a stone like pea gravel, limestone or gravel chips, as well as screenings as the base of the dog run. These materials are not only soft on your dog's paws, but it also provides the right amount of drainage needed for the area.

How long is too long at the dog park? ›

Even if your dog is having the time of his life, don't overstay your welcome. A 30-to-60-minute visit should allow your pooch time to run and play without getting overtired.

Can dogs pick up bad habits from dog parks? ›

Dog parks are also great places for exercise. However, just like playgrounds for our kids, dog parks hold hidden dangers, such as opportunities to catch whatever sickness might be going around, to get bullied, and learn bad habits.

Is it bad to keep dog on leash at dog park? ›

Your dog should be wearing a flat buckle collar and remain leashed until safely in the park. Remove your dog's leash as soon as you enter the off-leash area. Mixing on-leash and off-leash dogs can cause stress in the leashed dogs, which may lead to aggression.

Is 30 minutes at the dog park enough? ›

This is how much I should exercise

Typically your dog should spend anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours on any type of physical activity whether it be walking, chasing a toy, or sprinting in the backyard or dog park,” says Dr.

What age is best for dog park? ›

“Dog parks are not a safe place to socialize a puppy under 6-12 months old,” he continued. “During our puppy's early months, they are more sensitive to experiences, so a rambunctious greeter at the park may be enough to cause our puppy to be uncertain of all dogs,” Mr. Hof explained.

Do dogs get bored of same park? ›

Yes. Like humans, dogs need the mental stimulation that new sights and experiences bring. Repeating the same walking routine tends to get boring after a while, and as a dog walker, you probably feel the same way.

What is dog park etiquette? ›

According to DogPark.com, the most common dog park rules include the following: Pet parents are responsible for their animals. Take responsibility for your dogs' behavior at all times. Make sure he's properly socialized and non-aggressive toward strangers and the dogs they're playing with. Pick up after him.

How long should I let my dog run around? ›

Start off with an easy 10- to 15-minute run, upping your time by no more than 10 percent each week. If your dog is overweight, stick to longer walks. “Start them slow,” Ruiz advises. “Humans can tell you when something hurts or when you are going too fast or too often.

Why do some dogs not like dog parks? ›

Undiagnosed pain: Your dog might be wary of high-intensity playtime because of aches and pains. Dog park play can be strenuous, and if your dog is coping with an injury or age-related pain, he'll be less likely to want to mix it up with buddies.

Are dog parks stressful? ›

However, dog parks can cause stress and anxiety for pets because it is an outlet where your dog cannot fully control the situation. The lack of control at the dog park can cause stress for some dogs and can cause some dogs to develop negative behaviors when left alone at home.

Why do people like dog parks? ›

Advantages of Dog Parks

The advantages are simple and powerful. Dog parks provide a safe space in which people can exercise their dogs, and watch them play (something I love to do!) Our culture is becoming less and less tolerant of our canine companions, and often they are not welcome elsewhere.

What is the most relaxing spot for dogs? ›

Many dogs enjoy petting from trusted people in the following areas:
  • Lower back near the base of the tail.
  • Belly and underside of the chest.
  • Top of the head and neck.
  • Under the chin.
  • On the front of the neck.
  • On the sides of the thighs.
Aug 27, 2021

Should dogs walk on grass or concrete? ›

Since grass is typically safer and cooler for your dog to walk in, you may not need to put your booties on your dog unless you really want to.

Where is the most sensitive spot on a dog? ›

While the areas of the human body most sensitive to touch are the fingertips, the most sensitive part of the canine body is the muzzle. Dog's paws are much less sensitive than the human hand, and with good reason. Dogs use their paws to walk.

What time are dog parks least busy? ›

Parks are usually busiest after work on weekdays and on Saturdays. Try early in the morning, mid-day, or late in the evening on a weekday. Take your pup for a walk first to help her burn off some energy. Survey the park before entering.

Why do people bring balls to dog park? ›

Dogs are instinctive, and when you throw a ball they are just as likely as your dog to run after it. This doesn't make them bad dogs, just happy dogs having fun! If you do bring a ball or toy, be sure to take it with you when you leave (even if that means asking for it back from another dog!).

How often should I take my dog out to the park? ›

On average, dogs need to go outside at least 3 to 5 times per day to have the opportunity to relieve themselves. Veterinarians recommend that adult dogs go no more than 6-8 hours between trips outdoors.

Should I let my dog hump at the dog park? ›

Mounting ("humping") is often a way by which one dog expresses dominance over another. Do not allow your dog to mount another dog, as this behavior is very likely to lead to a fight. Even if your dog means no harm, the other dog is very likely to take offense.

How do I know my dog will behave at a dog park? ›

Read the signals. Not only should your dog play well with others if you plan to take them to the park -- you need to be able to read canine behavior, too. Dogs at play have relaxed ears, wagging tails, and may "play bow" with their front end down to the ground.

Are dogs affected by clutter? ›

Clutter. Living in a mess can be just as much of a nightmare for your pet as it is for you. Sure it might seem like fun for your dog, when they have to jump and walk around items that are sprinkled all over the floor, but it's actually a potential safety hazard for them.

What to do if your dog humps at a dog park? ›

When your dog is calm, let him play again. Stay close by at all times so you can intervene any and all times he is about to mount. Another option would be to teach him a leave it cue and tell him to leave it when he is showing signs he is about to mount. Reward with treats heavily when he leaves the other dog.

Why you shouldn't pick up your dog around other dogs? ›

For small dog owners, it's instinctual to pick up your dog to protect them but don't. Picking your dog up could trigger the approaching dog to jump up and possibly attack. While in your arms, your dog will not be able to defend themselves or run away.

Why doesn't my dog leave my side at the dog park? ›

Separation Anxiety Can Cause Your Dog to Not Leave Your Side

Some dogs even try to prevent you from leaving. Dogs with separation anxiety will sometimes start barking, pacing or exhibiting other distressing behaviors after a short time after being left alone.

Do dogs need 2 walks a day? ›

Most dogs need at least 1-2 walks per day (unless otherwise specified by your vet). A brisk walk is a great opportunity for your dog to burn off extra energy, and a slow, meandering walk – where you let your dog sniff and explore for as long as they want – is great for their mental health.

Is 3 walks a day enough for my dog? ›

We recommend that you walk your pooch, on average, 3 to 4 times a day for about 15 minutes. However, frequency also depends on the particular dog's: Breed.

Is walking enough exercise for dog? ›

Most dogs need to be walked at least once each day, though some dogs, particularly very active dogs, may require more. The breed of dog you have, as well as its level of fitness and age, will also determine how long and how vigorous your walk should be. A walk can make a dog very happy.

Can dogs have pork? ›

Plain, cooked pork is safe for dogs to eat, as long as you keep it simple and leave off the bells and whistles people tend to cook with.

What age can dogs free roam? ›

Generally the dog should be fully mature (1–2 years old), and it's a process. Start by leaving the dog loose in a small area for a very short period of time. If the dog gets into stuff, he's not ready. If he behaves, very slowly increase the time he's allowed out and the amount of space he has to roam.

What makes dogs bark? ›

Dogs may bark when calling out to other dogs, expressing emotion, being territorial or when trying to grab their owner's attention. Any noise, no matter how slight, can stimulate a barking response – for example rustling leaves, a banging window, lightning or thunder, or a ring of the doorbell.

What is the easiest dog to train? ›

Top 9 easiest dogs to train
  • #1: Border collie. No couch potatoes, border collies are athletes bred to work. ...
  • #2: German shepherd. ...
  • #3: Labrador retriever. ...
  • #4: Golden retriever. ...
  • #5: Australian shepherd. ...
  • #6: Standard poodle. ...
  • #7: Doberman pinscher. ...
  • #8: Papillon.

Are there dogs that are not trainable? ›

First off, there is no such thing as an untrainable dog. “But,” you argue, “If there were such a thing, surely my dog would fit into that category!” You can believe what you want, but all dogs are trainable; it just depends on how you go about it and how much time and energy you're willing to invest.

Is it bad to take my dog to the dog park every day? ›

While there are dogs that go to dog parks and have a great time, there are sometimes behavioral problems that can arise from too frequent visits. The big issue with the dog park is dogs are engaged in “over-arousal” play and for long periods of time.

How do I know if my dog doesn't like the dog park? ›

Your dog appears uncomfortable

While at the park, pay close attention to your dog's body language, particularly their stance and the position of their head and tail. If your notice your dog hunkering down, bowing their head, or tucking their tail, chances are they're uncomfortable and want to go home.

Why does my dog poop so many times at the dog park? ›

Unfamiliar surroundings. Many times, dogs can not adjust to unfamiliar surroundings. If you have recently moved to a new place or are on a vacation, you might notice that the number of times your dog poops has increased.

Do you have to pick up dog poop at the park? ›

Many communities and municipalities require cleaning up after your dog. While this might be obvious in parks and public spaces with posted signs telling you to clean up after your pup, it's not uncommon for neighborhood homeowners associations and neighborhood covenants to require picking up poo even in your own yard.

Why do dog parks have 2 gates? ›

The main entrance for guests and their dogs should have a dual-gate entrance, allowing a dog owner to bring a dog into a confined space, on-leash, where the dog can be unleashed before entry to the park.

How should I introduce my dog to dog park? ›

How To Socialize Your Dog Before Heading To The Dog Park
  1. Get Them Out There Young. ...
  2. Change Up Your Dog's Walks So They Get Used To New Things. ...
  3. Don't Be Afraid To Bribe Your Dog. ...
  4. Choose The Right Dog Park, Not The First One. ...
  5. Organize Smaller Dog Playdates For Practice. ...
  6. Start Slow When You Arrive At The Dog Park.
Jun 26, 2020

What dog needs the most exercise? ›

Sporting and Herding Dogs

Bred for jobs that require endurance, these groups have the greatest need for a daily workout. They include Retrievers, Spaniels, Collies, Pointers and German Shepherds. Include training along with exercise and vary routines to keep the attention of these robust dogs.

Is it better for dogs to walk or run? ›

In order to have a strong heart and lungs so as to live a long and healthy life, your dog needs to run for extended periods of time every few days. Most owners do not do this, either because they are unwilling or unable to provide it. Walking your dog is not enough exercise for them.

Is a 20 minute walk enough for a dog? ›

Most dogs can tolerate a daily 20-30-minute walk if they have a relatively good body condition. Dogs in great physical health can tolerate walks for up to two hours or go hiking for hours at a time.

What makes a dog park successful? ›

One or more acre of space for dogs to run and play. Four- to six-foot fencing around the park. Double gate system to keep pets safe as they go in and out of the park off-leash. Separate large and small dog areas.

What is the best floor for an indoor dog park? ›

Artificial turf is an excellent surface for dogs to run around on as it performs much like grass underfoot and allows for good traction and low impact for the dogs.

What is a positive of a dog park? ›

Dog parks may provide a safe place for older people or people with disabilities who may not be able to walk their dogs. Dog parks provide areas where dogs can exercise and run freely while their owners can socialize. In addition, spending time with their dogs at the dog park reinforces the dog-owner bond.

Why do dog parks have two gates? ›

Most enclosed parks have a double gate to come through; there is a reason for this! The two gates are there to make sure no dogs accidentally get in or out, so when coming in you open the outside gate, let your dog through, close it, open the inside gate, let your dog through, and then close it.

What makes a great park design? ›

A park should be “nearby” for everyone. Public open space, such as a square or “commons” should be at the center of a neighborhood; no more than five minutes' walk from most residents. Public buildings, shops (a corner store at minimum) and a transit stop should be near the center too.

Do dogs need to be on a lead in a park? ›

In public places, you must keep your dog 'under control'. Generally, this means close to you and ideally on a lead. If they're not on a lead, they need to be under control in another way, such as paying attention to your voice commands.

What are aspects of good park design? ›

Not only should the best parks be inclusive but also accommodating to all visitors. To accomplish this, a great park design should offer many amenities and accommodations such as park benches, picnic tables, trash cans, shade structures and bike/scooter parking.

What color floor is best for dogs? ›

Lighter floors are the best hardwood floors for dogs and cats as they hide pet hair better, while dark floors reveal scratches and hair from shedding pets far more obviously.

What flooring is dog pee proof? ›

Without a doubt, vinyl flooring is the best option for pets that have accidents. Luxury vinyl floors from Mannington come in a wide range of designs. Its slate and stone patterns look just like the real thing, as does its wood-styled laminates.

What is the best flooring for dogs that pee? ›

The Best Floors for Dogs that Pee Often

Tile or LifeProof laminate are two of the top contenders. Vinyl plank flooring has come a long way and can look just like hardwood. Plus it's waterproof and simple to wipe down if there are any accidents.

What is the best way to face a dog house? ›

Face the doghouse door away from the wind, and cover the floor with straw for comfort and a clean smell. Always keep the doghouse clean and free of parasites.

Is it OK to lock a dog in a room at night? ›

Prolonged solitary confinement is indisputably catastrophic to your dog's well-being. Your dog is NOT a toy that you can put away whenever you are done or want out of sight. Don't get a dog just to confine him for long periods.


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