A dog out for a walk

In Maine it is “unlawful for any dog, licensed or unlicensed, to be at large, except when used for hunting.”

Of course, “at large” refers to a dog not under the immediate control of an owner in public places. Sure, there are many dogs that don’t get into any trouble while away from home. But to ensure their own health and safety – not to mention the wellbeing of the public – it is imperative to leash your pet dog while outdoors.

Beyond the Fence

Beyond simply abiding by the sense of responsibility to the community, there are significant risks to their safety if you don’t leash your pet dog in public places. 

For starters, dogs can run far away from you in pursuit of a squirrel, cat, or other dog. This can quickly take them into the paths of cyclists or pedestrians, but getting hit by a moving vehicle isn’t uncommon. 

Whether you’re at the park, on a trail or city street, training your dog to walk alongside you and on-leash is the best way to ensure their safety.

New Friends?

Your pup may behave themselves at dog parks or other off-leash areas. But many dogs that aren’t leashed seem to forget their manners when they encounter another dog. 

When they are close to you, your dog is (hopefully) more likely to contain some of their enthusiasm, and respectfully introduces themselves to a potential new friend. Off-leash dogs can go from friendly to aggressive in a quick moment.

Speaking of Friendliness

Some dogs that experience freedom from their leashes may be so happy they cannot help but jump up on other people. Sure, this could make someone’s day, but if they are elderly or small children this could really place them in danger of falling. This can be incredibly scary for many people, and can get you and your dog in trouble with the law.

Stayin’ Clean

Have you ever taken your dog to the park or beach in the hopes that they’ll stay clean and dry? Well, when they are leashed and responsive to your commands you can enjoy nature together without the need for a full-on bath!

Plus, leashes help keep your dog free of contaminated surfaces that harbor and spread diseases like Parvo, Leptospirosis, or Distemper. 


Dogs have a high prey drive and cannot help going after ducks, geese, rabbits and various other wildlife. For their sake alone, it’s important to leash your pet dog (unless, of course, they are accompanying you on a hunt).

Other Considerations

When you leash your pet you are also reducing the risk of eating something they shouldn’t, such as poop, discarded food, wrappers, toxic mushrooms, and other potentially hazardous items. You can also keep them out of areas known to be risky for ticks and other parasites.

Spaying or neutering your pet can minimize their desire to run away, and prevent unwanted litters. 

Leash your Pet Dog, It’s the Law

When you leash your pet dog you are influencing their overall health and safety, and reducing the chances of accidental separation or loss. Responsible dog owners know that their pup’s leash is an indispensable part of the puzzle. Indeed, a well trained dog is a pleasant companion.

If you have additional questions about your dog’s safety and wellness, please let our veterinarians and support staff know.