Bringing Your Dog to Central Park - The Best Places to Play with Your Pooch

CP Dogs

With 843 acres of land in Central Park, it's a natural magnet for dog owners and their furry little friends. In fact, thousands of dogs come to the park every day to run around in the open areas and enjoy the trails with their owners.

While the park is dog-friendly, dog owners need to be aware of certain rules about where they can take their dogs, when they need to be leashed, and much more. Let's take a look at a few of the most important rules when it comes to bringing your pooch to Central Park.

To Leash or Not to Leash?

CP Dogs
by MYUpperWest

The most important rule of which you must be aware is when your pet needs to be leashed, and when he can run around in the wide open. According to park rules, dogs can run off-leash before 9:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. Between those hours, your dog needs to be leashed up. There are nine places where you must always have your dog on a leash. They are: Arthur Ross Pinetum, Bridle Path, Cedar Hill, Conservatory Garden, Kerbs Boathouse Plaza, Shakespeare Garden, Strawberry Fields, Turtle Pond Lawn and Woodlands.

Dogs are never allowed at: Ballfields, East Green, Elm Islands at the Mall, Great Hill Glade, Lilac Walk, any of the ornamental fountains, all playgrounds, Reservoir Running Track, Sand Volleyball Court, Sheep Meadow and any bodies of water.

Areas That Are Friendly to Fido

CP Dogs
by Bring Fido

The Central Park Conservancy, the group that manages and maintains Central Park, says there are 23 dog-friendly areas around the park. These are areas where dogs and their owners often gather to participate in events, often in the early morning or evening hours when dogs are allowed to run off-leash. Some of these areas include Harlem Meer, East Meadow, Cedar Hill and Mineral Springs. You can get a map of these dog-friendly areas from the Conservancy.

In addition, there are 21 dog fountains throughout the park, with plans to build more. It's important to keep your dog well-hydrated when you visit the part to prevent dehydration, and it can also help in terms of keeping your pet's skin elastic, regulating body temperature and treating constipation in dogs. If you are bringing your pet to Central Park, the Conservancy asks that you have your dog drink from the specially designated fountains instead of from regular water fountains.

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5 More Important Things to Know

CP Dogs
by NY Times

There are a few more special considerations if you are bringing your dog to Central Park:

  • » If your dog relieves himself within the park, you are requested to pick up after him.

  • » The Conservancy also requests that you not let your dog urinate on tree pits within the park.

  • » While dogs are able to play on the lawns, they are not allowed to dig on them.

  • » Do not let your dogs chase other animals - even wild ones - in the park.

  • » Be sure to keep your dog on a short leash when crossing drives to avoid any accidents.

Special Group for Dog Owners

The Central Park Conservancy runs a program called Central Park Paws catered specifically for dog owners. There are several special programs for dog owners and their pets, including:

  • Monthly Bagel Barks: These events are held at different locations throughout the park in early mornings or evenings.

  • My Dog Loves Central Park Country Fair: An event each fall that includes competitions, micro-chipping, entertainment, fun activities, and much more.

  • Dog Tales Archives: A collection of stories about dogs in Central Park.

You can subscribe to Central Park Paws on the Central Park Conservancy's website.

If you are bringing your dog to Central Park, you are urged to have fun, but still have respect for other park-goers. That includes keeping your pet from disrupting people or their pets, and making sure your dog does not endanger others or property within Central Park. As long as you stay within the rules, there’s no reason why you and your pet can’t have a great time in the park.

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