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Guide To Owning A Dog In New York City

We all love our dogs and they, unlike our some of our fickle feline friends, love us back like no other creature on earth.  Of course, the cost of that unconditional love and sloppy wet kisses can be, well, costly. While there's not much we can do about those $300 vet check-ups (why oh why didn't MY mom tell me to be a vet instead of a school teacher?), cooked up this handy guide on how to spoil your pooch without breaking the bank.  Whether you're looking for the best daycare, groomers, play groups or spa treatments, read on. We've also listed services that only focus on walking your dog and providing an entertaining and healthy lifestyle for your city pup. - By Erica Jill Mason

Ten Questions You Should Ask A Potential Dog Walker

In order to find a dog walking service, ask to set up a meeting with your dog walker prior to your first walk.

Here are some important things to find out and blanks to fill in:

1. Do they offer both private walks and semi-private group walks?

2. Do they have a maximum number of dogs allowed to walk in a group?

3. Do they ever leave their dogs unattended outside while they are picking up additional dogs in the group?

4. Are they bonded and insured? (All reputable dog walking services are.)

5. How often does the service turn over employees and do they check references/do background checks prior to hiring their walkers?

6. Will your pooch have the same walker each day? (What is their plan for sick days if your dog walker needs the day off?)

7. What is their cancellation policy?

8. Are puppies handled differently than mature dogs?  Are they given more time to play around?  Are they walked with puppies or dogs of all ages?

9. Do the dog walkers take their dogs to city runs and off- leash dog parks?

10. Are credit cards accepted and are there direct electronic links to the bank to process your transactions or do they use a third party service to process your card?


Our Top Picks For Pooch Pampering

Running Paws

Providing three doggie services plus a dog walking service, Running Paws is the one-stop shop for Dog Running/Fitness sessions, a Dog Daycare facility located on the Upper East Side and puppy services with an emphasis on socialization.  Running Paws was the first dog running company in the world, so their emphasis is on your dog's fitness and overall health.

The Wagging Tail

This doggie daycare service will transport your dog back and forth to take care of your dog for a few hours, the day, or for an overnight stay.  While your dog is there, they have 9 hours in the playground with an average of 70 other dogs to play with.  In addition, The Wagging Tail will groom your dog by cutting their hair, trimming nails, bathing them, and completely grooming your dog to perfection by extremely qualified and experienced trained professionals.

Biscuits and Bath

Biscuits and Bath is a 24- hour doggie daycare with grooming, training, transportation, and vet care services available.  They even have adorable retail products for your pup.  The experienced in- house vet team supervises all services.  Their philosophy is to combine a variety of total wellness activities and a comprehensive lifestyle that includes supervised socialization, cardio workouts, weight loss, puppy play groups, grooming maintenance, vet care, and nutrition consults.  Rabies, parvo and bordetella vaccines are required.  Most NYC vets will administer booster shots, which vaccinates against distemper, parvo, hepatitis, para influenza, and adenovirus.  If your pup is sick, you must notify them and they will make a well- informed decision to determine how to best care for your dog.


Services at Spot include overnight care, training, grooming, transportation, walking, and activities.  The philosophy of Spot is to provide the best and most comprehensive services to your dog with the highest expectations supported by a well qualified, loving staff.  Spot strives to provide entertainment to your dogs while engaging them in healthy lifestyle activities.  You can find Spot on Facebook and Twitter as well as their site.

New York Dog Spa and Hotel

Services include boarding, daycare, grooming, and training.  They are open every day of the year from 7am-10pm and are staffed 24 hours a day.  Located in Chelsea, at West 25th Street and on the Upper East Side at 91st street, the NY Dog Spa and Hotel prides themselves on doggie grooming, daycare and boarding.  If you follow them and become a fan on Facebook, they will send you a $10 gift card.


Petaholics has been in business since 2001.  They offer many services, including dog training, overnight stays, visits for just the day, dog boarding in your own home, grooming, dog party planning, and dog play dates.  They even offer dog massages and walks from 15-60 minutes, ranging in price from $14 to $27 dollars.  Simply fill out an online application and Petaholics will get back to you quickly.


Located in the Financial District, CiaoBowWow is an eco- friendly dog daycare service offering additional services such as grooming and training.  Sara DelLaney, the company's founder, travelled around the country prior to opening up CiaoBowWow to study dog's behavior, communication and off- leash group play.  Her stated mission is, "To enhance the physical and emotional health of every canine client." Visit the Web site for FAQ's and testimonials on this fabulous doggie shop.


Where To Go With Your Dog

With proof of a current dog license and rabies vaccination form, owners can allow dogs to run off- leash in certain designated areas from the time the park opens at 9am until the time the park closes at 9pm.  There is over 29,000 acres of parkland available in NYC.  There are 4 designations for areas in the parkland.

  1. Dogs are not allowed on playgrounds, zoos, pools, beaches (except for off- season), fountains, ball fields, or basketball/handball/tennis courts.
  2. Dogs must be leashed in all designated areas.
  3. Dog runs are fenced- in areas for dogs to exercise and play unleashed.  The runs were created to allow dogs to play in safe locations.
  4. When your dog is unleashed in designated areas, dog owners must obey all rules and regulations, including having their dog under control at all times, licensing the dog, and carrying proof of the dog's rabie's vaccination.

Other Rules You Should Know Before You Go

  1. No person is allowed to let their animal go on any newly- seeded lawn or grass plot
  2. Animals are not allowed to go on or in any area enclosed by fencing, temporary or permanent, where fencing signs are posted, indicating that entry is forbidden.
  3. Nobody within any park may chase, wound, trap, hunt, shoot, kill or remove any animal, nest, eggs or knowingly buy, receive, sell or give away any animal, including any zoo area.
  4. Animals are not allowed to be unleashed or unrestrained in any park unless otherwise indicated.  Unleashed or unrestrained animals in unmarked areas are subject to a ticket.  Properly licensed dogs with a tag who are vaccinated against rabies may be unleashed within a designated park or portions of a park between the hours of 9am and 9pm.
  5. Fecal matter must be removed and disposed of in all areas.

Dog Runs and Off- Leashed Parks in all 5 Boroughs

The Bronx:

Bronx Park: Off- Leash
Union Port and Sagamore on Bronx Park East to 233rd Street

DeVoe Park: Off- Leash
192nd and Jerome Avenue

Ewen Park: Dog Run
Riverdale to Johnsons Avenues; South of West 232nd Street

Frank S. Hackett Park: Dog Run
Riverdale Avenue at Henry Hudson Parkway

Henry Hudson Park: Off- Leash
Kappock Street/Independence Avenue

Macombs Dam Park: Off- Leash
In the shadow of Yankee stadium between Jerome Avenue and the Deegan.

Pelham Bay Park: Off- Leash
Middletown Road and Stadium Avenue; Northwest of parking lot

Riverdale Park: Off- Leash
Palisade Avenue West from West 232nd Street to West 254th Street

Van Cortlandt Park: Dog Run
Broadway and 252nd Street

Williamsburg Oval: Dog Run
3225 Reservoir Oval East


Brooklyn Bridge Park: Dog Run
Adams Street and North/South Plymouth Street

Dyker Beach Park: Dog Run
7th Avenue and 86th Street

Fort Greene Park: Off- Leash
Dekalb Avenue and Washington Park

Hillside Park: Dog Run
Columbia Heights and Middagh Street

Kaiser Park: Off- Leash
Neptune Avenue between West 24th and Bayview Avenue

Manhattan Beach: Dog Run
North Shore Rockaway Inlet

McCarren Park: Dog Run
North 12th Street at Driggs Avenue

McKinley Park: Off- Leash
Fort Hamilton Parkway and 7th Avenue, 73rd-75th Streets

Prospect Park: Off- Leash
Middle and Upper Long Meadow in Park Slope

Sunset Park: Off-Leash
Center of Park at 44th Street through 41st Street at 6th Avenue


Central Park: Dog Run
East End Avenue to the East River from East 85th to 89th Streets

Chelsea Waterside Park: Dog Run
11th Avenue and 22nd Street

East River Park: Off-leash
Delancey and Houston Streets

Highbridge Park: Dog Run
Amsterdam and Fort George Avenue South

Hudson River Park (Greenwich Village): Dog Run
Leroy Street at the northeast corner of Pier 40

Inwood Hill Park: Dog Run
Dyckman Street and Payson Avenue

Madison Square Park: Dog Run
Madison Avenue to 5th Avenue at 23rd Street- 26th Street

Morningside Park: Dog Run
Morningside Avenue between 114th Street and 119th Street

Randall's Island Park: Dog Run
West off the FDR Drive btwn WEast 49th and 51st Streets

Riverside Park: Three Dog Runs
River Drive at West 72nd, 87th and 105th Streets

Robert Moses Park: Dog Run
41st and 42nd at 1st Avenue

St. Nicholas Park: Dog Run
St. Nicholas Avenue at West 128th through 141st Streets

Tompkins Square Park: Dog Run
1st Avenue to Avenue B from East 7th Street to East 10th Street

Union Square Dog Run: Dog Run
15th Street and Union Square West

Washington Square Park: Dog Run
5th AVenue, Waverly Place and West 4th btwn McDougal and Thompson Street, South Side


Alley Pond Park: Off-Leash
Grand Central Parkway

Baisley Pond Park: Off-Leash
Lakeview Lane btwn Foch Blvd and Lakeview Lane East

Cunningham Park: Dog Run
193rd Street btwn Aberdeen and Radnor Road

Forest Park Dog Run
Park Lane South at 85th Street

Landing Lights: Off- Leash
Grand Central Parkway at 81st Street

Little Bay Dog Run
North side of the Cross Island Parkway and Utopia Parkway

Murray Playground: Dog Run
21st Street and 45th Road

Rockaway Freeway Dog Park: Dog Run
Rockaway Freeway and Beach 84th Street

Sherry Park: Dog Run
Queens Blvd at 65 Place and the BQE

Underbridge Playground: Dog Run
64th Avenue and 64th Road on the Grand Central Pkwy service road

Yellowstone Park: Off- Leash
68 Road and Yellowstone Blvd
*6am- 9am only!


Allison Park: Off- Leash
Field at the end of the trail bordered by Prospect Ave and Sailors Snug Harbor Cemetary and the pond

Amundsen Trail: Off- Leash
Amboy Road and Hylan Blvd

Bloomingdale Park: Dog Run
Maguire Avenue behind the athletic fields, closer to Romona Avenue

Clove Lakes Park: Off- Leash
Open field above picnic area near Royal Oak Road and Rice Ave

Cozzens Woods Park: Off- Leash
Page Avenue btwn Hylan Blvd and Amboy Road

Crescent Beach Park: Off- Leash
Tennyson Drive and Glover Ave at the meadow area landing to the beach

Evergreen Park: Off- Leash
Greaves Ave and Evergreen Street

Lemon Creek Park: Off- Leash
Bottom of Seguine Ave at Johnston Terrace, just below the playground

Silver Lake Park: Dog Run
Victory Blvd below the pavilion, across from the Parkview Apartments

South Beach Park: Off- Leash
On sand after Labor Day and before Memorial Day, the beach is open!

Wolfe's Pond Park Dog Run: Dog Run
Run is to the left of Cornelia Avenue

Contact Info/Resources:



Animal Care and Control: (212) 788- 4000

Animal Cruelty (ASPCA): (212) 876- 7000

Pet Adoptions: 252- 2350

All for Animals TV:

New York Parks Department: http:/// In New York, dial 311. Outside the city, call 212-NEW-YORK.

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