Canine Campers - Bringing Dogs to the National Forest
- The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are dog friendly.
- Dogs can be off leash in the forest in some situations, but must be leashed in developed recreation sites (campgrounds and picnic areas).
- It is best practice to keep your dogs and other pets inside an enclosed vehicle or in a tent at night.
- You must clean up pet waste, no matter where it is.
- Do not leave a poop bag on the trail to pick up later - they are often forgotten or missed on the way back leaving litter on the trail.
Frequently Asked Questions
Dogs must be leashed at a developed recreation site.
- Dogs can be off leash outside of developed recreation areas in National Forests in Arizona as long as you do not have a vicious dog, or female dog that is in her breeding or mating season. Arizona 11-1012(a)
- Any dog over the age of three months running at large shall wear a collar or harness to which is attached a valid license tag. Dogs that are used for control of livestock, being used or trained for hunting or dogs, being exhibited or trained at a kennel club event or engaged in races approved by the Arizona racing commission, and while the dogs are being transported to and from such events, need not wear a collar or harness with a valid license attached provided that they are properly vaccinated, licensed and controlled. Arizona 11-1012(c)
Yes, federal law requires owners to pick up after their dogs. Picking up dog waste is also just a common courtesy. Dog waste can spread disease to wildlife and it can contaminate water. 36 CFR § 261.11b / 36 CFR § 261.11d
Even if your dog poops off trail, the poop can negatively affect the surrounding environment. Most dogs eat nutrient-heavy pet foods and when they leave behind their waste, they are leaving behind nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. Excess of these nutrients in many ecosystems create unstable conditions and throw the ecosystem balance out of equilibrium.
Most trailheads have extra doggy bags available for the public, but if there aren't any, you can deposit pet waste in a 6-8'' deep hole at least 200 feet (70 big steps) away from any water sources.
- No, dogs may not be left alone at your campsite, picnic area or in your vehicle.
- You can confine your dog in a suitable crate or in a portable kennel, but you must remain present. Also, on warm days, remember to place the kennel or crate in the shade.
- Never leave your dog alone in a car; in desert heat, a car heats up quickly and can kill your pet.
- An occasional bark can be expected. But dogs that bark uncontrollably are even more annoying in a quiet wilderness setting than in an urban environment. If your dog barks uncontrollably, don't bring it camping with you.
- In developed campgrounds, excessive noise after 10:00 p.m. is prohibited. A barking dog after hours in a campground will attract the ire of other campers and can get its owner a hefty citation. 36 CFR § 327.12b
While a dog may drink from a stream, you should always carry enough clean water for your dog. It is not advisable to let a dog drink from a stagnant body of water. Don't allow your dog to forage or hunt.
No, the scent of food will attract wildlife. Secure all food in a vehicle with the windows rolled up or in a bear-proof container.
- While your dog may alert to wildlife, their scent may also attract wildlife to your camp.
- Be particularly careful with your dog near pack stock or wild animals.
- Failure to have a dog on a leash can lead to a citation under 36 CFR 261.8(d).
- Within developed recreation sites, you can be cited under 36 CFR § 261.16j.
- Within the rest of the forest, you can be cited under 36 CFR 261.8(d).