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Pets in the City: A New York City Guide for Pet Parents

Where Everything Pet Parents Need Is Just A Block Away!

By Mary Kearl. October 11, 2013 | See Comments

Pets in the City: A New York City Guide for Pet Parents

New York City is truly a "hustle and bustle" type of place where you can find just about any and everything for your beloved pet! Here are some great places to go, things to do, and unique services for your pet right here in the Big Apple.

What’s the scene like for NYC pets and pet owners? According to number crunching from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), there are roughly 1.1 million pets in the city --600,000 dogs and 500,000 cats. That amounts to about one pet in every three homes. It may sound like a lot, and it can look like a lot on the streets of the densely populated five boroughs, but it’s lower than average for the United States, which is at 60% pet ownership.

The best neighborhoods for pets? Well, we can say with certainty, based on data from the American Veterinary Medical Association as reported by NYCEDC, that the highest concentration of pet families can be found on either side of Central Park, near the East River-bounded Astoria Park, in the East River waterfront neighborhood of Williamsburg, in the more suburban Staten Island, and in a quieter corner of Queens called Middle Village.

Pet Services in NYC

NYC is a place to shop, and that’s no different for pets and their people. According to NYCEDC, in 2010, spending in the pet-related industry totaled $1.5 billion in NYC, or $1,350 per pet. And the first thing you should pay for when you and a dog move to New York? A license—it’s the law! And it’ll cost you approximately $8.50 for spayed or neutered dogs, or $34 for unaltered dogs, each year. 

Where to Find Low-Cost Pet Necessities in NYC

Things to Do with Pets in NYC

  • Go to the Park: New Yorkers and their pets have access to nearly 29,000 acres of park space. How dog-friendly are the parks? There’s a Dogs in Parks guide from the City of New York Parks & Recreation for pet parents.

  • Go to the Beach: From October 1 to May 1, leashed dogs are allowed on the sand and boardwalk areas of NYC’s top beaches: Rockaway Beach, Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Midland Beach, and South Beach, as well as the boardwalks/promenades of Orchard Beach, according to the City of New York Parks & Recreation.

  • Go Off Leash: With the proper proof of dog license and rabies vaccination, abiding by the Parks Department rules, dogs can roam leash-free in marked parts of city parks from when the park opens until 9 a.m. and from 9 p.m. until the park closes. Visit NYCGovParks.org to search for dog-friendly parks and off-leash areas in New York City. Fun tip: Many city parks have ground-level water fountains designated for pets.

  • Go for a Ride: Pets are welcome aboard the Metro-North Railroad (on a leash or in a case), on MTA buses and subways (in a case), and the Long Island Railroad (in a case), according to the MTA.

  • Annual Events for Pets in NYC: While there are several annual NYC events that happen to be fairly pet-friendly, like the Easter Bonnet Festival and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, there are plenty of dog-centric and cat-centric events, too. Some give you a chance to celebrate your pet and some allow you to interact with other cats and dogs. Check out the annual Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade (in its twenty-third year), the annual American Kennel Club Meet the Breeds (with the International Cat Association), and the Westminster Kennel Club Annual Dog Show.

  • Pet Adoption Fairs: The annual Broadway Barks event brings top entertainers and adoptable cats and dogs together. Adoptapalooza, from the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, is another annual event where you can find adoptable cats, dogs, and rabbits.
More on City Pets

The Best City Dog Breeds
Which Dog Breed Is Best for You?
How To Find the Right Pet Salon

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