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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

Do you live in the beautiful state of North Rhine-Westphalia or are you spending your holidays there and looking for inspiration for your next outing with your beloved dog? In the Ruhr region there are many wonderful and, above all, dog-friendly places that you and your dog want to discover. Dogs in NRW have a lot to explore. 

Here you’ll find all the tips for a stress-free walk, as well as ideas for your next excursion with your dog in North Rhine-Westphalia. 

Excursion with your dog: Where to go in North Rhine-Westphalia?

The following list is intended as a small excerpt of the many possibilities. Of course, western Germany has much more to offer. However, the following recreational areas and the like are among the most popular excursion destinations among dog owners:

Kemnader Lake in Bochum/Witten: Considered a popular destination for nature lovers throughout NRW. Our beloved four-legged friends also get their fun here. A round around the lake (8km) or rather directly to the dog areal (free running, bathing also for dogs) in Bochum Herbede? Here you’re sure to spend a great day together with your darling. 

Kaisergarten (Emperor Garden) in Oberhausen: Desire a visit to the zoo? You can take your dog with you without any problems, just remember that it must always be on a leash. Admission is free and the opening hours can be found on their website. Afterwards, you can take your dog for a long walk along the Rhine-Herne Canal. Tip: In the nearby Riphorst woodland garden in Riphorster Straße, there is a dog meadow where dogs are allowed to run, romp and play freely.

Gruga Park in Essen: This green oasis is another highlight in the middle of NRW. Here you can observe over 500 different park animals, stroll in the botanical garden, marvel at the waterfall or admire Germany’s largest open-air sculpture exhibition. It costs an entrance fee and your dog must be kept on a leash, but it’s definitely worth a visit.

Baldeneylake in Essen: Also located in Essen, this is an esteemed excursion destination. An 18 km long, but also challenging hiking route around the lake awaits you here. But there is also a more leisurely version that is only 4.5 km long. Especially in summer, it’s a great hotspot to cool off. Be aware that leashes are compulsory. There is a dog run in Heisingen. 

Landscape park north in Duisburg: According to the Guardian, one of the ten best city parks in the world. Dogs are welcome here too, but only on a leash. The park is very spacious and the many old industrial buildings are decorated with art. A must for art-loving walkers. However, dogs are not allowed inside during the events themselves. 

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Rheinaue nature reserve in Duisburg: Here industrial charm meets pure nature. There are several dog runs and even a few dog beaches along the Rhine. Here your furry friend  can run, play and cool off freely in summer. 

Westfalenpark in Dortmund: Beautiful gardens such as the Rose Garden and Florian’s Garden await you and your four-legged friend here.  It’s the perfect place to unwind and take a stroll through the park. There is an entrance fee and dogs are only allowed on a short leash, but it’s definitely worth it. 

Phönix-Lake in Dortmund: Here you can either go for a walk around the lake, which is about 3-4 km long, or go directly to the surrounding dog parks (Florianstraße, Benninghoferstraße). 

Nordsternpark Gelsenkirchen: Another great idea for a relaxing outing with your dog. The highlight here is definitely the Europator (europe gate). There’s a dog run on Eggemannstraße where your dog can let off steam.

Archaeological Park in Xanten: Germany’s largest open-air archaeological theatre is definitely a hot tip if you’re looking for an exciting outing with your dog. Your dog is not allowed in the exhibition rooms, but there is still plenty to marvel at in the park. 

Höhenfelder lake Cologne: Depending on the time available and your mood, you can choose from 3 different routes here that take between 30 minutes and 1/30 hours. The special thing about the lake is that it has a closed-off area for dogs only. Dogs can splash around in the lake without a leash. 

Auelake dog beach in Wesel: A real highlight for dogs and their humans. Dogs are allowed to move around here without a leash and can also cool off in the cool water if necessary. 

Excursions for dogs in NRW: What do I have to watch out for?

  • One of the most important rules is that dogs must be kept on a leash and/or muzzled. Your pet is only allowed to move freely without a leash in NRW in signposted dog zones. For so-called listed dogs, the leash requirement is supplemented by a muzzle requirement. In addition, there may be municipal differences in the laws. It’s best to find out in advance about the local specifics.
  • Dogs are allowed to roam freely in forest areas, but only if they do not leave the forest path. However, as there are also other animals in the forest, possibly even in the breeding season, it is better to leash your dog here as well.
  • In contrast to other federal states, North Rhine-Westphalia does not have a general obligation to take out liability insurance for a dog. Only if the dog reaches an instep height of more than 40 cm. 
  • Consider the needs of your own dog, but also of other dogs. Sick and infectious dogs, as well as female dogs in heat, should be kept away from large gatherings of dogs.
  • The needs of your fellow human beings must also be taken into account. If people cross your path, call your pet to you or keep him on a short leash. Not everyone is as big a dog fan as you are. 
  • Your dog should have regular opportunities to drink. A travel bowl and a bottle of water should be carried at all times. Regular breaks should also be taken.
  • Avoid walks in the blazing midday heat. Dogs sensitive to the cold will not enjoy trudging through the snow in sub-zero temperatures. Older dogs, but especially young ones, as well as weakened animals, should logically not have to run a marathon. Simply put, always look out for the well-being of your furry friend!
  • Carry a first-aid kit for your dog with you on your trips.
Hund in der Stadt


As you can see, there are so many ways to spice up your daily dog walk in NWR. Not only is variety good for you, but your dog is sure to appreciate the new sights and smells. Have fun exploring the beautiful Ruhr region.