With a half million dogs calling New York City home, our canine companions weave into to the fabric of the city, adding color, kindness and personality to the neighborhoods of the Big Apple. Living with an urban dog can be fun, exciting and sometimes frustrating.  Here is a guide to help you find everything you need to know for the best in city living with your pooch.

Finding Home Sweet Home

The legal mumbo jumbo:

The first challenge for an urban dog is finding the right place to live. Be ahead of the game by knowing the laws and expectations of landlords and co-op boards. Check out this list of Legal Resources provided by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’S Animals. They can provide answers to any questions you may have, it would also be helpful to browse this full report on the legality of living with companion animals in New York. Know the laws regarding any restrictions that housing communities have on particular breeds.

Dig the vibe:

Do you and your pooch prefer quiet afternoons under a bench or at the local coffeehouse? Chasing balls at the local run? Hanging out with friends at the corner pub catching a raucous Knicks game on the tube? Meeting up with dogs and peeps at the local parks is a terrific way to find your place. Outdoorsy types? Plenty of great spots to find greenbelts and shoreline trails for long walks and early morning jogs. Always on the go? Got a compact canine and a legit carrier? Find a spot close to the subway.  

Where the dogs run free:  

Curbed NYC recently delivered a list of the top 6 New York dog parks, found in a variety of notoriously pooch friendly neighborhoods.  Alphabet City’s Tompkins Square Dog Run, host to the mother of all Halloween pooch parades. The recently renovated Washington Square Park Dog Run  is popular not just in the Village, but throughout Manhattan. Jemmy’s Run is found on the west side of Madison Square Park, serving Midtown.  The Upper West Side lays claim to Carl Schurz Dog Runs, a place that many call “The nicest dog run in Manhattan” located in the heart of pet-friendly Yorkville. Hillside Park in Brooklyn Heights offers a 2-acre run that feels like a romp through the woods; with trees, sloping hills and bark chipped play areas. Long Island City’s Hunter’s Point South Park runs along the East River waterfront is the newest dog park on the scene, offering picturesque views of the Manhattan skyline.

Dog lovin’ locals will have the 411 on pet friendly buildings, cafes and bars, and the scoop on the best vets, groomers, and dog walkers.  Check for meetups in many different neighborhoods throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island City and the Bronx.  

Bragging Rights:

How awesome is your dog exactly? Inquiring minds really do want to know. Much like your own meeting and interview with a potential landlord or co-op board, telling your dog’s story may be the key to finding the perfect home.

Drafting a pet resume to present to potential landlords shows that you are a responsible pet owner who makes the effort to keep your companion cared for and well behaved.  Provide pictures showing the personality of your sweet and lovable pooch. Support the cuteness with a fun, light read and ‘testimonials’ from past landlords and pet sitters.  It’s a great way to introduce your pet as part of the family.

Be sure to include proof of licensing, wellness, vaccinations, flea control and a verified local veterinarian. Curbed whipped up an easy guide to drafting the perfect pet resume, offering this helpful tip “If possible, bring your pet along when you view the apartment for the landlord to meet them. Forcing your landlord to see how sweet and lovable your pet is will help with concerns about aggression. A tip though – if you have a super high-energy dog, take them for a long walk or play session in the park first so they’ll be tired and mellow, or else this could backfire big time!”

Top Dogs in the Big Apple:

In the comfort of your own home:

Mobile and in-home services make living with an urban hound a breeze. With an abundance of pet taxi services around NYC, you may be able to afford to reach across town to find the right services for your pets needs, or find on-call veterinary and grooming services that come to you.

Hair of the Dog is a fabulous mobile grooming service, with a menu of spa treatments available.  Repeat customers rave about the services provided by owner Laura Sabbah, and her assistant Cristina. Hair of the Dog currently serves Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. Committed to improving the chances of New York’s diplaced dogs finding homes, Laura donates grooming services to a variety of local shelters.  

Veterinarian Dr. Quagliata sees her patients in the comfort of their own homes with Village House Call Vet. With a string of great reviews, Dr. Quagliata proudly offers traditional medicine as well as acupuncture and alternative treatments to customers in New York City and Brooklyn as well as Hoboken and Jersey City, New Jersey.

Getting Around:

What is the #1 way New Yorkers get about town? On the subway, of course!  Dogs of a certain size are welcome to join their fellow New Yorkers. Animal Tourist published a handy guide to navigating canine companions through the NYC subway and commuter rails, stating: “Unbeknownst to many dog people, the MTA allows dogs: you can bring them as long as they are in a crate or carrier. That means if you have the right carrier, you can get your dog on a subway, Long Island Railroad, or even New Jersey Transit (not part of the MTA) train. The happy exception is Metro-North Railroad, where you don’t even need a cage.”  

If the subway isn’t your scene, a car for your canine is only moments away. A mobile pet service pioneer is still going strong, with a dedicated army of loyal customers.  David Lang’s Pet Chauffeur has been shuttling furry New Yorkers and their people around town for 17 years and counting, with a loyal customer base. Check out a short film about Pet Chauffeur’s story on Dog Park Tales.  Canine Car offers a wider range of options, serving the boroughs and beyond, and providing emergency transport. Canine Car also provides pet sitting and small dog boarding.

Working Class Dog:

You certainly don’t have to spend a lot of money to provide a healthy and happy life for an urban pooch, from low cost vaccinations to do-it-yourself dog washes and grooming stations.  The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals is dedicated to finding homes for, and properly caring for the pets of New York. Resources for affordable veterinary care, vaccinations, microchipping, free spay/neuter clinics, and low cost/free pet food and supplies can all be found here.

In the largest city in America, a half million canines roam a variety of streets, parks and homes – adding to the cultural fabric of our communities. The Dogs of New York celebrates the connection of New Yorkers and their pets, chronicling their lives and telling their stories in the Big Apple. Celebrate your companion, and share your story. Dogs love New York!