Trying to find a dog park in a hurry can be a recipe for vehicular or holiday disaster. Trying to do it in a place you’re not familiar with is even worse: think chewed car seats, piddle on the upholstery or in your running shoes, and a driver who’s more distracted than a vet with a vampire bat.

Luckily, there are a few easy ways to find an off-leash dog park on the road. Exhale.

First of all, don’t settle for any park and think you can trust your dog off leash… You need to find a proper dog-friendly oasis to use, preferably with a fence or other containment system that keeps you and Fido safe from traffic, and where you won’t pick up a hefty council fine before you even have time to crack out the poo bags.

The search for an off leash dog park begins where most good searches do: online. (OK, we might be biased, but try to find anything useful on your GPS or an old-fashioned road map when the fur friend needs a run and you can’t remember how to spell the suburb you’re in?)

Load up your phone with a good mobile app catering especially for dog owners, or check out the location of a few local parks online before you leave the house.

If you’re stuck in the dark ages and can’t get web access, try the old-school method of stopping and asking somebody. Service stations can be the best spot for this, or we’ve also had some luck asking people in regular parks or simply out walking their dogs on leashes.

Another trick to keep in mind is that most dog parks don’t have actual addresses. This can make it difficult to take your pet there for an afternoon of running around, unless you’re in familiar territory.

It’s helpful to remember that most people associate their local dog park with a landmark of some sort. If the park you select has directions or a landmark listed, half of your job is completed and you’ll be skipping all the way to the carpark.

If you’re already out and about, passers-by should be familiar enough with the dog park to guide you the rest of the way. Take your pet and enjoy the afternoon running off some of that pent-up energy. Or toilet stops. Or seat-chewing avoidance. Whatever the day demands, really.

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  1. Tell us how you find a doggie park away from home!

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