Enjoying Central Park with your dog

There probably isn't a better place to take your dog in New York City than Central Park. Whether you're walking around the Great Lawn or sitting on the benches near the Band Shell watching the tourist pass by, it is a great place to spent the day with your pooch. 

Tug when he was 1 year old striking a pose in front of the Boathouse.

Tug when he was 1 year old striking a pose in front of the Boathouse.

Here are few tips for spending the day with your pooch in New York's largest, and in my opinion, greatest park..... Central Park.

Off-Leash Hours and Locations

From 6 am to 9 am & 9 pm to 1am your dog is allowed off-leash.  There are 23 designated off-leash areas around the park where dogs are allowed off-leash, and those areas pretty much cover a large portion of the park..... with a few exceptions:

No dogs allowed on or off-leash at any time: 

Ballfields
East Green
Elm Islands at the Mall
Great Hill Glade
Lilac Walk
Ornamental Fountains
Playgrounds
Reservoir Running Track
Sand Volleyball Court
Sheep Meadow
Water Bodies 

Allowed with your dog on-leash only at all times:

Arthur Ross Pinetum
Bridle Path
Cedar Hill
Conservatory Garden
Kerbs Boathouse Plaza
Shakespeare Garden
Strawberry Fields
Turtle Pond Lawn
Woodlands

Map of Central Park dog friendly areas and amentities

Water for your Dog

Central Park has 15 dog drinking fountains throughout the park as well as the snack bars, Le Pain Quotidien near Sheep Meadow and at Kerbs Memorial Boathouse, which leave water for dogs in a bowl or bucket even in the winter months. 

These dog drinking fountains are turned off around the beginning of Nov and turned back on around sometime at the end of March or early April, so remember to bring water for your pooch during the winter months.

Don't allow your dogs to drink out of normal drinking fountains, instead bring one of those collapsible water bowls.

Dog Runs

There are no dog runs in Central Park, and from 9 am until 9 pm you are not allowed to have your dog off leash anywhere in the park. The closest dog run to Central Park is Bull Moose Dog Run which is right next to the Natural History Museum on W 81st St..

What happens when you have your dog off-leash at the wrong time

Technically your dog is supposed to be on a leash not longer than 6 ft., but you always see people with those Flexi leashes and nobody says anything. Last time I checked it was a $100 fine for your dog being off-leash on public property, but double check the fines.  

Dog Poop

There are no poop bags available in Central Park, so remember to bring some. Just like having your dog off-leash, it is a $100 fine if you don't pick up after your dog.

Licensing and Vaccinations

New York State law and New York City Health Code require that dogs be vaccinated against rabies and every dog owner carry proof of a current dog license and rabies vaccination while in public.

For more information about licensing and vaccinations, contact the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene through 311, or visit NYC Health Department website's dog licensing page.

Events for Dogs

In the fall make sure you check out My Dog Loves Central Park Country Fair: An annual event that includes competitions, micro-chipping, entertainment, fun activities, and much more.

DOGSTRONG will be rolling out a series of blogs on dog parks/runs in the New York City area. We have visited every dog park/run in NYC, Long Island, Westchester, Northern New Jersey and Southwestern Connecticut. We will be telling you what attributes they have (dog drinking fountains, separate large and small dog areas, ground cover used, etc) and what we think of them. You will be able to comment on your own experiences with a particular dog park/run also......so stay tuned.

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