Living in NYC is amazing, but it can present a few challenges, especially when it comes to being a pet parent. If you live in the city and are considering getting a dog, or if you are thinking about picking up and heading to The Big Apple with your dog, there are some things you should know about living in NYC with a dog.
You don’t have to worry about the things you don’t know. We’re here to help guide you through the ins and outs of life with a dog in NYC. We’ll let you know about dog ordinances that are unique to NYC and give you advice about how to live your best dog friendly life in the city that never sleeps.
Important Dog Ordinances In NYC
It might sound like NYC is less than dog friendly. But nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, there are an estimated 600,000 dogs that call NYC home! The various dog ordinances in NYC are meant to keep people and their dogs safe in the close confines of the city. Being aware of the laws around living with a dog in NYC is necessary before planning a move or adopting a dog.
All Dogs Must Be Licensed and Have their License Displayed On Their Collar- To apply for a license for your dog, you need to contact the NYC Health Department. You can apply for a license that is renewable yearly or opt to pay to renew your dog’s license every 5 years. License fees vary based on if your dog is spayed or neutered.
Licensing helps prevent the spread of contagious and dangerous canine diseases since, to be licensed, dogs must have proof of vaccination. The licensing fees are used to help provide funding for NYC animal shelters and spay and neuter programs.
All Dogs Must Be Vaccinated Against Rabies- This is a law in most cities since it protects your dog, you, and other people and animals from one of the worst diseases out there. Proof of rabies vaccination is required for licensing, parks, and play groups.
Dogs In Public Must Be On A Leash No Longer Than Six Feet- This ordinance is strictly enforced, and ignoring it can mean paying some hefty fines. Don’t worry! Your dog is not doomed to a life on a leash. There are designated off-leash hours in some parks and special off-leash dog runs.
Dogs May Not Be Tethered For More Than 3 Hours In A 12-Hour Period- Heavy chains, choke collars, and pinch collars are also prohibited on a tethered dog. This law was passed to help prevent animal abuse and dog bites. Dogs who are tethered with little to no interaction are more likely to become reactive and bite.
Clean-up After Your Dog- In NYC, cleaning up your dog’s waste has become an actual law, the first of its kind, though other cities may soon follow suit. Failure to comply can result in a $250 fine.
Tips For Living In NYC With A Dog
If you’ve never experienced city living, there are some aspects of dog ownership you may have never had to consider. Here are some tips to make life easier for you and your canine companion.
Vet bills are more expensive- You’re probably already aware that NYC has a much higher cost of living than the national average. This goes for vet bills as well. While you should always make sure you have an emergency vet bill fund, if you are in NYC, it’s also a good idea to consider options like pet insurance.
Find out your building’s pet policies- It’s so tempting just to rush right out and try to find the perfect dog. If you live in an apartment or co-op, make sure you review the building's policies so you can focus on finding a dog that meets the size and breed limitations.
Invest in training your dog- No matter where you live, you should always make training your dog a priority. In a city like New York where there are always new sounds and smells, it's of the utmost importance. Training helps prevent separation anxiety, teaches your dog manners, and keeps your dog safe. If you don’t have the time for one on one training, there are always virtual options that can work with your schedule.
Make walks a priority- Sometimes you just want to toss your purse in your chair and get off your feet when you get home from work. In the city, this is generally not an option. Since you can’t let your dog out back to do their business, you’re on walk duty! Make it a part of your routine to throw on your comfy shoes and head out for a walk. It helps that New York is extremely walkable and filled with places to stop for a coffee or grab an after work snack.
Get familiar with the dog parks in your area- It can be a little more difficult to get your dog the exercise they need in an urban setting. Fortunately, most NYC neighborhoods have dog parks and runs where you can take your dog to run off that energy.
Research dog friendly neighborhoods- Some neighborhoods in the city are better suited to life with a dog than others. Before you plan a move or sign a lease, make sure there are dog friendly amenities nearby such as pet supply stores, parks, groomers, and veterinarians. Research ahead of time will save you taxi or Uber costs later.
Don’t let these small challenges scare you away from getting a dog in NYC! Living in New York City with a dog is fun and rewarding. There are plenty of dog friendly activities and dog oriented businesses. Plus, you’ll always have someone to walk with you, and walking with your dog will encourage you to get out and explore!