Keeping a dog
Brisbane City Council aims to keep Brisbane a dog-friendly city by ensuring the keeping of dogs does not become a nuisance to neighbours, destroy wildlife or endanger themselves or people.
Your responsibilities as a dog owner
In Brisbane, there are five important rules you should follow to ensure you are a responsible dog owner:
As a responsible dog owner, you should also:
- choose the right dog for you
- train and socialise your dog
- keep your dog quiet
- desex your pet to avoid unwanted litters
- prevent your dog attacking or frightening people or animals (especially native animals)
- don’t leave uneaten pet food outside as this can attract pest or stray animals
- always keep your pet securely restrained, especially in in natural areas
You are required by law to always pick up after your dog whenever they are in a public area, including dog off leash areas.
Picking up dog waste makes public areas clean and green for people to use. It is also important to clean up after your pet at home as dog waste, unlike horse or chicken manure, is toxic for grass and can introduce diseases, parasites, harmful bacteria and viruses that are dangerous to humans, other animal/ wildlife and harmful to the environment.
You should carry at least 2 dog waste bags whenever walking your dog in public to pick up after them. Remember to bag it, tie it securely with the handles and bin it in a general waste or designated dog waste bin.
A part of caring for your dog is ensuring that it has a safe, secure environment in which to live. Constructing an adequate fence around your property protects both your dog and your neighbourhood. Remember, this is a Council requirement. Failure to provide an adequate enclosure could result in a fine.
Fencing should be:
- adequate to keep the dog contained on the premises (consider the size of your dog and whether they are a jumper, a digger or a climber)
- constructed of materials that are sufficiently strong to prevent your dog getting under, over or through it
- high enough to prevent jumping or climbing
- with gates that can be closed and latched to prevent the dog escaping
- accompanied by a barrier where required to prevent the dog from digging underneath it.
If your dog sleeps outside, ensure it has a covered shelter to protect it from wind, sun and rain and that it has warm bedding for winter.
Loud noises during thunderstorms and fireworks can scare your dog, causing it to run away from home. If your dog is scared of loud noises, Council recommends the following:
- place your dog in a secure enclosed area (for example, inside the house)
- take your dog to another home where the noise won’t be heard
- don’t tie your dog up in the yard as it may injure itself trying to get free
- try not to comfort your dog during storms or fireworks as it reinforces its fear
- ensure your dog is microchipped, registered and is wearing its registration tag in case it flees in fright.
The Queensland Government requires all dogs to be registered with their local council.
In Brisbane you can keep two dogs per residence without a permit. If you want to keep more than two dogs, you will need to apply for a permit. To find out more about applying for a permit, refer to permit to keep dogs or contact Council.
The keeping of more than four dogs over the age of three months is prohibited, unless the keeper is a breeder.
The Queensland Government’s Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 requires all dogs to be microchipped:
- before reaching the age of 12 weeks.
- when sold (seller responsibility)
- if given away (responsibility on the person giving away the animal)
The benefits of microchipping
A microchip is a permanent form of electronic identification. The microchip implant is about the size of a grain of rice and causes no discomfort to your pet. Your local vet can implant the microchip.
The barcode contains your contact details recorded on an animal records database for the life of your pet. If your pet is not wearing a collar with Council registration tag, it can still be identified Australia-wide and returned to you.
Maintaining microchip information
Whenever you move address, it is your responsibility to contact your microchip registry to update your details as soon as possible. This provides an increased chance of reuniting with your pet if it is lost.
GPS dog collars
Council also acknowledges new and emerging technology (such as GPS enabled dog collars) which may also assist reuniting you with a lost pet. Before purchasing any of this technology, Council recommends that you research different products on the market to ensure you find the most appropriate product or collar for your dog. Please note, this technology is not approved to replace the microchip requirement under the legislation.
Whenever you are walking your dog in public they must be on a lead unless in a designated and signed dog off-leash area. The lead needs to be securely clipped to a collar or harness at all times. Council recommends using a flat collar or harness that does not automatically tighten or otherwise cause pain or discomfort to a dog.
When walking a dog in public, you need to be able to control your dog in order to ensure the safety of your dog, other pets, wildlife and people.
Dog off-leash areas
Council has set up special areas in parks across Brisbane so your dog can run around leash-free, without attracting a fine.
While using off-leash areas, dog owners must:
- ensure their dog is supervised at all times
- control your dog for the safety and enjoyment of all users
- follow any conditions displayed on site.
Visit our dog off-leash area page for further details and to find your local dog park.
If you are looking to adopt a dog, advice about choosing the right dog for your family is available when you adopt a dog from a Council Animal Rehoming Centre.
Regular dog training provides your dog with mental, physical and social stimulation. There are a number of dog obedience clubs across South East Queensland that can assist in providing beginner to advance training for your dog.
Some tips for training your dog are to:
- keep a sense of humour and never scold your dog if it makes a mistake
- always use a kind, firm voice and short, simple words such as ‘sit’, ‘come’, ‘down’, ‘heel’
- emphasise rewards not punishment
- never use a stick or raise your hand to your dog
- keep lessons short for puppies. Start with 10-minute lessons and go for longer as the dog grows older
- it is recommended to teach your dog the command 'come'. To teach your dog this command:
- using a pleasant voice, start by adding the word 'come' to the dog's name when you call.
- clap your hands or offer a reward to attract your dog. This can gradually be eliminated as the dog responds to the word 'come'.
As part of Council’s commitment to responsible dog ownership, we often partner with organisations that undertake annual de-sexing initiatives with the aim of reducing the number of unwanted puppies born in Queensland. These campaigns contribute to reducing the impact of unwanted animals in rehoming centres and reduces the population growth wild dogs. It also provides an opportunity to highlight the benefits of de-sexing pets while further encouraging responsible pet ownership.
The keeping of a guard dog does not require a permit, however, the keeper must comply with the minimum standards outlined in the Animals Local Law 2017.
Under the local law:
- a guard dog must be kept in an enclosure which is adequate to prevent the dog from escaping
- a warning sign must be displayed at all times at each entrance to the premises where a guard dog is kept or used, with the words 'BEWARE – DANGEROUS GUARD DOG' and a 24-hour contact number in readily legible lettering that is not less than 50mm in height
- a guard dog must be kept under effective control at all times when the premises are open to access by the public.