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Things You Should Know Before Going on a Hike with Dog around Rome

Posted on February 9th, 2024

by Sal

Guest Article written by Sal from Nature of Sal

One question I’m often asked is whether it’s possible to bring dogs on a hike. As usual, the answer is: it depends.

In this article, we’ll specifically explore the situation in Lazio to ensure a positive and safe experience for you and your furry friend, especially when exploring the beautiful parks around Rome!

Many National and Regional Parks have strict rules regarding dogs on treks. These rules aren’t just to inconvenience you (although it may sometimes feel that way), but are often in place to protect you, your dog, and the wildlife.

At the end of this article, I’ll also share a quick way to check if you can bring your dog to a certain park area or not (Regional and National Parks).

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First, why are there restrictions on bringing dogs?

Some of the reasons are:

▪  To protect mammals and birds from stress or death (e.g., if your dog’s hunting instincts kick in).

▪ Health reasons: our pets can carry deadly diseases that are dangerous to the Parks’ fauna (think Canine distemper virus).

▪ To protect dogs from diseases they aren’t vaccinated against, some of which could also be passed on to humans.

▪ Arthropods/parasites are present in some areas, such as ticks and harvest mites, which can be passed on to humans and carry diseases like TBE and Lyme disease.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with each park’s regulations, but as a general rule, dogs are allowed in Regional Parks and in some areas of National Parks, with a few caveats:

▪ They must be on a leash at all times.

▪ They are only allowed on official trails or public roads.

▪ They are not allowed in Zone A restricted areas (typically, parks are divided into four protected areas, with Zone A being off-limits and fully protected).

Some parks can be even dangerous for you and your dogs. In bear country (especially near the border with Abruzzo), you have bears and wolves that can pose a danger to you and your four-legged friend. If left to roam freely, your dog might return with an unwanted surprise chasing it.

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So let’s look at a few do’s and don’ts when visiting a Regional or National Park with your dog:


1. Check Park Regulations:
▪ Before heading out, familiarize yourself with the specific regulations of the park you plan to visit. Each park may have different rules regarding dogs, leash requirements, and designated trails. Some (although very few) parks even have designated trails for dogs. For example,: Here you have a map with trails that are allowed to do in the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise, while it is forbidden to visit the rest of the park with your dog.

2. Leash Etiquette:
▪ Keep your dog on a leash, especially in crowded areas or where wildlife may be present. This ensures the safety of your pet, other hikers, and local wildlife.
▪ Tip: Choose a sturdy, comfortable leash that allows your dog some freedom while maintaining control. As mentioned before, in most areas a leash is mandatory. Even in smaller parks, such as Caffarella Park, which is part of Parco Regionale dell’Appia Antica, you risk a fine if you don’t respect this rule (though there are designated, fenced dog park areas in Caffarella Park).

3. Hydration and Snacks:
▪ Carry sufficient water for both you and your dog, especially on warmer days. Bring dog-friendly snacks for energy.
▪ Tip: Portable dog bowls are convenient for providing water breaks.

4. Know Your Dog’s Limits:
▪ Be mindful of your dog’s fitness level and health. Choose trails that match their endurance and consider their age, breed, and any health conditions.
▪ Tip: Start with shorter trails and gradually increase the difficulty as your dog builds stamina.


1. Off-Leash Disregard:
▪ Respect leash regulations and avoid letting your dog off-leash where prohibited. This helps prevent accidents and conflicts with other park visitors.
▪ Tip: Utilize designated off-leash areas if available.

2. Wildlife Interaction:
▪ Discourage your dog from approaching wildlife. Keep a safe distance to protect both your pet and the local fauna.
▪ Tip: Carry bear bells or make noise in areas where encounters with wildlife are possible. Read up on whether or not there are wolves, or Maremmana guard dogs, or other potential hazards present in the area where you’re planning to hike. While rare, small dogs left running alone in areas known to be inhabited by wolf packs can be dangerous to both you and your dog.

3. Neglect Waste Cleanup:
▪ Description: Always clean up after your dog. Carry waste bags and dispose of them properly in designated bins.
▪ Tip: Pack extra waste bags to be prepared for unexpected situations.

Regulations and Additional Considerations:

1. Seasonal Restrictions:
▪ Description: Some parks may have seasonal restrictions. Check for any closures, especially during wildlife mating or nesting seasons.

So you might wonder: “How do I know if it’s allowed to bring a dog to a Park around Rome?”

There are two ways to do this:

▪  Use the Park Locator , click on the region (at the moment dogs are tracked for Lazio only) and instantly see if there is a dog sign. By clicking on the dog Emoji, you will be forwarded either to a designated dog trail map (if it exists), or in most cases to the Park Regulations. Just search for (“cane”, “cani”, or “guinzaglio” within the document if you want to find more details). You can also use the Park Locator to identify the website of each park, where you can see the latest news of each park. Note that at the moment the Park Locator works best on a Desktop Computer.

▪  Use Parks.it to find more information about specific parks that you’d like to visit.

Things You Should Know Before Going on a Hike with Dog around Rome 3

The Park Locator is a quick way to instantly find maps, links, permits and other useful information.


Keep yourself and your dog safe by planning ahead before heading out into nature with your dog! When in doubt, call the local Park Rangers (the contact numbers are typically found on the website of each Regional or National Park) to double-check.

As always, stay fit, hike a bit!

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