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.
- Pet-Friendly Housing: Looking for an apartment that will accept you and your cat or dog? The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals website has resources for finding pet-friendly housing and realtors.
- Pet Specialty Services: In the city that has everything, there’s almost everything for pets!
- Holistic pet stores: Check out grain-free, organic, vegetarian, and more good-for-your-pets options at Whiskers Holistic Pet Care, in the East Village and Astoria.
- Pet spas: For one, the Salty Paw, with services for cats and dogs, offers trendy dog hair-dying. New York Dog Nanny serves up hot oil treatments, reiki, and mani/pedis. Then there’s self-service dog washing found at Unleashed Spa. For swimming sessions and water rehab, check out Water4Dogs Rehabilitation Center.
- Unique boutiques: Like the counterparts for humans, boutiques like Trixie + Peanut with its eco-friendly pet beds abound in this city!
- Vet Services: Want to find a vet for your pet? In the city that never sleeps, there are several 24-hour vet services, hospitals, and animal behaviorists to help your cat or dog.
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