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Dogs and Plants

Our pets can negatively impact park plants in various ways.


Trampling and Erosion

When we venture off of official trails, or allow our dogs to do so, plants are damaged and die over time, leaving soil exposed and creating new trails where vegetation cannot grow. Due to the sandy soils in High Park which erode easily, this effect is amplified and a TRCA report noted that off-leash dogs were a major contributor to trampling and erosion in High Park.

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Animal Waste

Dog urine can burn plants and inhibit the growth of young trees. When we fail to find and pick up dog feces, ground water and water bodies may become contaminated, in some cases giving rise to algal blooms which can be harmful to both wildlife and people. Dog waste contains nutrients that may not be found in the ecosystem where it is deposited and is high in nitrogen and phosphorus which benefit invasive plants but can impede our native plants.

Image by T J

Spread of Invasives

Dogs running off-trail can pick up seeds of invasive species and spread them throughout the park, making life more difficult for our native plants on which our wildlife rely for food and shelter.

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