UPDATED Advice on Pet Transportation New York City
Summer is going to be here soon, that means trips to Long Island, New Jersey, and points upstate for many New Yorkers.
Dog-owning Gothamites want to get out of town, but you don’t know how.
Fear not! Figuring out pet transportation in New York City can be a lot simpler than you think. With just a little research (and sometimes a little more cash than you’d like to spend) you can get your pooch around the city, and in and out of town, pretty easily.
Bodhi Trying to Hail a Cab
Getting Out of Town
Most New Yorkers don’t have cars, and renting autos can be costly. That means city folk are generally reliant on trains for getting in and out of New York City.
On the LIRR you can travel with any animal that is properly confined for shipment. Working service dogs are exceptions and don’t need to be contained. (Scroll to the bottom of this post for more on service and working animals.)
The LIRR website specifies:
Small domestic pets are permitted provided they are carried in kennels or similar containers that can be accommodated by you on your lap without annoyance to other passengers. No part of the animal may protrude from the container and pets should not occupy seats. Service animals properly harnessed and accompanying people with disabilities are always welcome in MTA’s network.
That said, I’ve seen people bring large dogs in carriers going out to Fire Island. Big dog owners, proceed at your own risk.
Can I Bring My Dog on Metro-North?
Metro-North is slightly different. Dogs can be leashed instead of crated, so long as they behave.
Metro North says:
Small domestic pets are permitted provided they’re carried in kennels or similar containers, or are securely controlled on leashes throughout the trip and do not annoy other customers. Pets should not occupy seats and are subject to approval by the conductor. Service animals properly harnessed and accompanying people with disabilities are always welcome in MTA’s network.
Can I Bring My Dog on the PATH and New Jersey Transit?
If you’re heading west to New Jersey, New Jersey Transit trains allow dogs in crates or containers and PATH trains allow dogs in crates or containers.
Can I Bring My Dog in Rental Cars?
Another option is using short term car rental services like Zip Car. When Bodhi was in physical therapy at the Animal Specialty Center in Yonkers, we took him back and forth using a Zip Car. The company allows dogs, but they must be crated or put in containers.
Other car rental companies, like Hertz, Alamo, Budget, and Avis, are pretty accommodating as well. Typically dogs are allowed, but very frequently the cars we’ve rented come with a warning that transporting pets can result in extra cleaning fees. Sometimes those charges can be pretty hefty. Transport a dog in a rental car at your own risk! Or just make sure the car is EXTRA clean when you return it. Usually we try to vacuum our rentals when we’re done. So far, we’ve never had to pay any cleaning fees and we rent cars a lot! We must doing something right. Of course, renting cars in New York City, especially Manhattan, can be very expensive. Give some thought to renting a car in New Jersey or at La Guardia.
There are also many “dog taxi” services in New York City. These are basically vans that can be hired to taxi you and your dog anywhere you want to go. We’ve used them a few times. They can vary widely in price. If you Google “pet transportation new york city” you’ll find plenty of options. They also leave their business cards in vets’ offices. I think if you need transportation for medical reasons, you should definitely consider one of the pet taxis. Some of them specialize in transporting animals to and from the vet’s office; at the very least, the pet taxis are going to be sensitive to the needs of a sick animal and its owner. They are also good for longer jaunts; we used one once to get to Sayville, out on Long Island.
Can I Bring My Dog on the Hampton Jitney?
And another option for out-of-town travel is the Hampton Jitney. They say pets are okay…
… as long as your pet is in a D.O.T. approved carrier that you are able to carry onboard with you. Pets must remain in carriers at all times. There is a charge of $10 to travel with your pet. Keep in mind that your pet, in its carrier, will have to travel on your lap if the coach is full.
I called Hampton Jitney’s North Folk office to see if there was a size restriction. The charming lady I spoke to said there’s no weight restriction, but “you can’t bring your Saint Bernard on!” She reiterated the policy that you need to be able to easily carry your dog on board in a carrier.
Traveling Around Town
Traveling in the city presents a completely different set of challenges. But, between private companies, like Uber, and public transportation, you should be able to come up with plenty of usable options.
Shared Car Services: Can I Bring My Dog on Uber?
Awhile back, our Weimaraner Bodhi had surgery on his foot. Like all owners of large dogs in New York City, we were suddenly confronted with the problem of how to get him back and forth easily from the vet’s office. We quickly learned that Uber was probably the best option for us at the time.
Bodhi After Surgery, Waiting for his Uber
Uber’s policy on carrying dogs is left to the driver. Here’s the company’s official line:
In accordance with local and federal laws in your area, service animals are permitted to accompany riders at all times.
If you’re planning to ride with a non-service pet, it’s good practice to contact the driver who accepts your ride request. Use your app to send a text message or call to let the driver know you’d like to bring a pet.
Please help drivers keep vehicles clean for all riders by bringing a crate or blanket to reduce the risk of damage or mess. Some drivers may keep a blanket in the trunk.
Basically you order an Uber, call the driver and ask if he or she will take dogs, if they say yes, you’re on your way. No Uber driver turned us down. The fares were reasonable. We brought towels with us. We tipped all our drivers handsomely!
Lyft has a similar policy: “Unless the passenger has a service animal, it’s entirely up to the driver whether or not to allow the passenger’s pet in the vehicle. We advise passengers to call their drivers right after their requests are accepted to confirm that it’s okay to bring their pets.”
Other People’s Experiences with Car Services
We do want to stress that our experience with Uber was more than a year ago. Since then we have heard from readers who say that their experience wasn’t quite as easy as ours. One Urban Dog reader told us:
“I own a relatively small and easy-to-handle Basenji. I called Uber ahead of time to make sure my dog had the okay.’ Once I was turned down by three drivers, finally accepted by the fourth. A second time trying to use Uber, it took five drivers to find one who approved of her! More drivers are less willing, but don’t get discouraged. If it’s not business hours. Uber will eventually say yes. Just keep calling!!”
We also want to direct you to this recent article about how some dog owners are having trouble with Uber.
Can I Bring My Dog on NYC Taxis?
Taxis are allowed to pick up dogs, but it’s left to each driver’s discretion. Our advice: try to hail a cab with your dog visibly leashed and behaving by your side. We’ve had success that way, but it sometimes takes awhile for a taxi to stop. We also brought a towel with us to put on the seat for Bodhi to sit on. Again, we always tip generously.
You can also try to use any of the old school car services like Carmel or Dial 7. They generally require that your dog be in some type of container.
Can I Bring My Dog on NYC Ferries and NYC Water Taxis?
New York Waterway, on the Hudson and the East rivers, says “Only service dogs or small dogs in pet carriers are allowed on board.”
Pets, other than service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, are not allowed in the facilities and/or onboard the ferry boats, unless they are caged and/or muzzled.
Can I Bring My Dog on NYC Busses and NYC Subways?
Public transportation is the cheapest option for traveling with pets, however, it’s not as easy using public transportation within in the city as it is on the private enterprises.
Dogs are allowed on New York City busses and New York City subways, but they have to be in containers and can’t be a nuisance to other passengers. That’s relatively easy if you have a small dog, with large dogs it’s a bit more challenging!
Service Animals and Pet Ambulances
The restrictions on dogs on all MTA -governed transportation do not apply to service dogs. (The MTA pretty much governs all public transportation in NYC: subways, busses, trains etc.) Here is how the MTA defines “service dog”:
“Service animal” means a guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability that such person is unable to perform due to such disability, such as guiding persons with impaired vision, alerting persons with impaired hearing to sounds, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped items or providing rescue assistance. The term service animal does not include a therapy animal or animal used for emotional support.
Seeing Eye Service Dog on the L Train
We mentioned above that you should want to consider a dog taxi for medical issues. In the case of an emergency, you might want to go one step further and call a pet ambulance service like Ambuvet. For more, read their FAQ.
If you’re reading this and need ambulance service immediately, here’s their number: 800-AMBUVET (800-262-8838.)
We here at Urban Dog hope you and your pooches have great adventures on the road!
In 2016 I volunteered to work at New York City’s Animal Care Center. The ACC is the “city pound” for NYC. The experience taught me a lot. Here are five lessons I learned.
Don’t judge a dog by its breed. Before starting my volunteer work at the Animal Care Centers of NYC’s shelter in Manhattan, I was somewhat afraid of Pit Bulls. This fear came from my own experiences at the local dog run; a few dog fights involving Pit Bulls caused chaos and panic among the other dog owners. Most of the dogs at the ACC are Pitt Bulls or Pitt mixes. I’ve been so fortunate to walk and handle some awesome “Pitties” with whip-wagging tails and lap-dog dispositions.
Sergio and Bambi
Spending time at the shelter is better than “chilling with Netflix.” Imagine a room full of cats and kittens meowing and purring. Or a dog pulling you to the park to rub its nose through the grass. Volunteering gives me a sense of satisfaction by helping others and it makes me feel appreciated. On my last walk, I was out with a happy pup and a woman turns to me and says: “Wow that’s one excited dog… it’s amazing what you volunteers are doing.” The best thing about my efforts is it will help increase an animal’s chances for a new home. It’s a great place to meet new people who share a similar affection for animals. And I’ve rediscovered that doing something new is actually so much fun.
Blondie at Animal Care Center
You have a front row seat if you’re looking to adopt. If you’re looking to add a new family member, then there’s no better way to get to know your potential pet. Did you know that 20-30% of shelter animals are purebreds? So that Labradoodle or Persian cat that you’ve always wanted but couldn’t afford may be waiting for you at a local shelter. I’ve been tempted on numerous occasions to walk up to the adoption office and take a pooch home. When the time is right; my new found knowledge and network of friends will enable me to take on the challenge.
You learn a lot about yourself. When I shared my decision with my friends to volunteer, many of them responded by saying: “I could never do that; it would be too heartbreaking to see all those homeless animals.” I felt that way for years, but after starting my journey, I now realize how truly blessed I am to be part of a kind community of caregivers and loving animals. I learned to be more compassionate with the less fortunate. Just the other day in my neighborhood, I stopped a woman to say hello to her happy Pittie. I asked her how the big guy got that huge scar on his back. Apparently, the previous owner tried to burn the poor boy with acid. With tears swelling, I thanked the woman for sharing her story and realized how resilient dogs really are.
Animal shelters need more of us. Animal shelters cannot survive without volunteers. Most of their funding comes from the number of volunteer hours logged in a year. So more volunteers and resources means more animals getting adopted. On one occasion, as I was finishing my shift, one of the dogs was incessantly barking at me. I walked up to say hello to try and calm her. I looked at her log sheet, and realized that she hadn’t been out for a walk yet. I straddled on her leash, and as we swiftly walked through hallway, she crouched and relieved herself in the elevator. I learned that there was a shortage of staffers and volunteers that day. With a few hours of your time or a few bucks out of your pocket, you can also share in the joys of spreading love to some admirable animals.
To learn more about the Animal Care Centers of NYC, click here.
Sergio Urciuoli is the owner of Mila, one of Urban Dog’s Rhodesian Ridgeback models. He is a frequent collaborator here at Urban Dog and as evidenced above, a volunteer at the ACC.
Of course the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is all about the dogs.
But there’s no ignoring the handlers. They’re both out the in ring and they can’t be missed.
Some however, are easier to spot than others. There are definitely two trends in what to wear: Bling … or Business Attire.
The Mental Floss website chatted with dog handlers Sharon Rives and Karen Mammano. These were their thoughts:
When deciding what to wear for the big day, handlers have to make sure they’re not overshadowing the dog with fancy flair. “You want to dress to compliment the dog’s colors,” says Rives. “If you’re showing a black dog you don’t want to wear a black skirt because then you’re obscuring the dog.” The more prestigious the show, the better the handlers dress. “We always joke that last week was fashion week for us because we were all trying to get suits for Westminster,” says Mammano. And for the bigger shows, they invest in nice footwear, not only because they’re on their feet all day, but because their feet and ankles are going to be on TV. Rives is wearing the shoes she wore to her wedding. “They’re little silver ballet flats that have sparkly crystals on the toes,” she says.
Urban Dog spoke with handler Ashley Walter about what she thought was appropriate wear. Ashley is full-time dog handler, traveling most weekends each year to shows. She showed two dogs at Westminster this year, including Belgian Shepherd Flame (seen below.) She definitely came down on the side of sober, business attire. She said you shouldn’t draw attention away from the dogs.
Most men wore pretty serious suits as they jogged their charges around the ring. Female handlers generally also wore suits — typically with conservative knee-length skirts and flat shoes, the better to run in. But there can be more to the choice, some women told me. Debra Metcalf, the handler of a bear of a dog called a Leonberger, said she thinks it’s best to coordinate and not clash with the dog, but also to not draw attention from it.
But not everyone agrees with Ashley and the Post.
Sequins were seen everywhere.
And not just on the ladies!
And it’s not limited to clothes! This handler dyed her hair to match her outfit!
There are tons of crowd-pleasers at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. You should have heard the crowd go bananas during the Labrador Retriever Best in Breed competition! Trying to get ring-side during the French Bulldog Best in Breed event was nearly impossible!
But there is one group of dogs that beats them all. It’s not an official competitive group: it’s the “Dogs with Dreads” group! It includes Pulis (Preston the Puli won the AKC Dog Show last December), Bergamasco Shepherds, Spanish Water Dogs, and Komondors. Want to know why these dogs are so popular? Just take a look below.
Standing still, this Komondor looks pretty normal, no? Sort of like a messy-looking English Sheepdog.
While wandering around the benches at Westminster on Monday, I came across the area where the Chinese Crested dogs were getting ready for their Best in Breed competition. I chatted with the handler of BenE — AKA GCH CH Kulana’s Stand By Me — and decided to follow him into the ring. Photographer Natalie Siebers joined me and got some great shots of the Cresteds competing.
The Chinese Crested is an alert dog that enjoys human companionship. They are funny little dogs that like to please their owners, and upon finding something that amuses you, are likely to do it again to get your attention. Chinese Cresteds are said to be “cat-like” and enjoy sitting in high places, the back of a couch or arm of a chair. Their activity level is medium to high but they enjoy quiet times with their family and adjust well to apartment living.
These dogs come in two varieties: hairless and “powderpuff.”
The AKC has this fun fact about the breed: “The Crested is believed to have accompanied Chinese sailors on the high seas, hunting vermin during and in between times of plague; today the breed can still be found in port cities worldwide.”
There are two kinds of dog shows: “benched” and “unbenched.”
In unbenched shows, dogs need only be present for the judging of their breed or obedience class. Once their competition is over, they may leave.
Benched shows, however, require that dogs entered in competition stay on their assigned benches the entire time of the event, unless they are being shown, being groomed, or exercising. This is so exhibitors, breeders, spectators, and other show attendees can consider the qualities of the dogs entered in the show (Remember, dog shows are all about evaluating breeding stock!)
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is a benched show. That means the dogs are out on full view and that’s half the fun! Here are some bench scenes from this year’s competition, starting with Crested Chinese champion BenE getting a shampoo and a blow-dry!
Chinese Crested Best in Breed BenE Gets a Blow Out
Here are BenE’s “before” and “after” shots.
BenE: Before… and After!
Make sure you check out Urban Dog’spost on the Crested Chinese Best in Breed competition with beautiful photos by Natalie Siebers.
This Bernese Mountain Dog gets a last minute tooth-cleaning.
Bernese Mountain Dog Gets his Teeth Cleaned
Here’s a gaggle of Golden Retrievers.
This Standard Poodle is wearing pom pom-protectors.
This gives you an idea how crowded the benching area was.
Welcome to the “Yorkie Beauty Parlor!”
This Yorkshire Terrier is getting a final comb out.
A Gordon Setter gets a bath.
This Shih Tzu is ready to go.
Doberman Pinscher Smooch celebrates Valentine’s Day and her birthday!
A Border Collie from Rhode Island named Trick won the the 3rd Annual Masters Agility Championship at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Saturday.
Trick (Courtesy NJ.com)
Here’s a video of his exciting run courtesy of Fox Sports.
(Does anyone else think it’s weird the announcer is giving Trick’s owner and handler John all the credit?)
Day one of Westminster Kennel Club’s dog show weekend in New York City was dubbed Meet and Compete. It was “two events in one”: The Masters Agility Championship and the American Kennel Club’s Meet The Breeds dog fair. Meet and Compete took placeat Piers 92 and 94 on Manhattan’s West Side.
Agility Championship Ring
The Masters Agility Championship featured dogs and their handlers attacking an obstacle course of jumps, tunnels, weave poles, and more. It’s a race against the clock. The best time won. Trick took the trophy with a time of 32.65 seconds! He beat out more than 300 other dogs. Unlike other Westminster events, mixed breed dogs are allowed to compete in the agility trials.
The Agility Championship Trophy
The eighth annual Meet the Breeds event gave people an opportunity to get up close and personal with more than 100 different breeds in booths scattered across both piers. Enthusiasts manned each booth to answer questions about each breed’s country of origin, historical purpose, and attributes as family pets. The event was staged by the AKC.
This Cutie Greeted Urban Dog with a Smile at “Meet the Breeds”
As usual, the event was very crowded!
“Meet the Breeds” was PACKED!
Here is a small sample of the dogs we saw at Meet the Breeds. First up, a Keeshond.
Keeshond at “Meet the Breeds”
People got a chance to interact with various breeds. Here are people petting an Akita puppy.
Akita Puppy Gets Lots of Attention at “Meet the Breeds”
Here’s a Bergamasco Shepherd.
Bergamasco at “Meet the Breeds”
This is a Bull Terrier. Famous Bull Terriers include Bullseye, Target’s mascot, and Bud Light’s Spuds MacKenzie.
Bull Terrier at “Meet the Breeds”
This is the Great Pyrenees.
Great Pyreness at “Meet the Breeds”
This is the American Hairless Terrier, newly recognized by the AKC.
American Hairless Terrier at “Meet the Breeds”
An Ibizan Hound.
Ibizan Hound at “Meet the Breeds”
This is a Poodle. Made of flowers. Yes, dog people are weird.
Flower Poodle at “Meet and Compete”
This year cats made their return to the Meet the Breeds event. The International Cat Association gave folks a chance to to meet and play with more than thirty different cat breeds.
Cat at “Meet and Compete”
It was long day for people and the dogs.
Gordon Setter Letting Everyone Know the Day was Coming to an End
The multi-day art extravaganza known as Miami Art Week (or simply “Art Basel” for the art show that started it all) begins tonight in Miami. For the better part of a week, the city plays host to dozens of art shows and hundreds of parties and events. The focal point is the huge Art Basel | Miami Beach show running from November 30 through December 4 at the Miami Beach convention center. Bodhi and I will be roaming the city and if we see any dog-related works to share with you, we’ll post about them.
We’re going to use Art Basel as an excuse do several posts about art and dogs.
To start, we want to introduce you to the artistry of a young photographer from the New York area, Natalie Siebers. We love her work and wanted you to see some great examples of her photographs below.
Photograph: Natalie Siebers
Natalie studied Art and Zoology in college and you can see how her love for animals and art shines in her photos.
Photograph: Natalie Siebers
Natalie says: “The two most important rules to follow when photographing animals are to be patient and to not get frustrated. Another important thing is being able to anticipate an animal’s behavior and position yourself to capture it.”
Photograph: Natalie Siebers
Photograph: Natalie Siebers
Below is a shot of Natalie’s pooch, Sophie. According to Natalie, she’s a mix between a Guinea Pig and Yoda:
“She is the best companion I could ever ask for. I like to say she adopted me. During my second year of college, there was a puppy mill raided near my hometown and my friends took her in. She was only three pounds and six-weeks-old when we met and from that moment on she insisted on being by my side and strongly protested any time she wasn’t. Six years later, not much has changed.”
Photograph: Natalie Siebers
Photograph: Natalie Siebers
Natalie is going to work with Urban Dog from time to time, providing us with photo illustrations for some of our posts. We are very excited to see what the future holds!
Photograph: Natalie Siebers
Photograph: Natalie Siebers
The photo below is a sneak peak from this Sunday’s edition of Clark Beasley’s Breed of the Week column. This week, he and Natalie profile one of the oldest and most beautiful breeds known: the Afghan Hound.
Photograph: Natalie Siebers
To see more of Natalie’s work click here to go to her website.
We’ve been in Miami Beach for about a year now. I think I definitely have a sense of a place now. One thing I’ve noticed is that Miamians and New Yorkers have very different attitudes about their dogs.
Here are some of the things I, and other transplanted New Yorkers, have observed…
Miami Beach dogs go: “Guau! Guau!”
New York City dogs say: “Bow wow!”
Most Popular Breeds
According to the American Kennel Club, New York City and Miami have fairly similar taste in pure breed dogs.
New York City
German Shepherd Dog
German Shepherd Dog
English Bulldogs are Popular in Miami and NYC
New York dogs seem to be better socialized than Miami Beach dogs. I think that’s because outside life for New York dogs occurs on busy city sidewalks and in dog parks where they encounter other canines all the time. Miami doesn’t have the same street life that NYC does, hence dogs here don’t have much opportunity to meet other dogs.
Dog parks in New York are busy!
New York City’s Tompkins Square Dog Run
Miami dog parks always appear to me to be largely empty. The only exception to this so far, is the dog beach / dog park in Haulover. That one is dog heaven!
Haulover Beach Dog Park, Miami
In New York, when people approach me and Bodhi, they ask: “Can I pet your dog?” In Miami, they ask: “Does your dog bite?” I’m like “Wha’?!!?! Who would this cutie-patootie ever bite?”
Bodhi: “I would never bite you.”
Dogs are very welcome in outdoor cafes in Miami. Until recently it was against the law for dogs to sit in outdoor cafes in New York City. A new law went into effect this spring. Rob, a friend of Urban Dog who has apartments in both cities, says about half of the outdoor cafes in his NYC neighborhood are letting dogs share space with humans. He points out that NYC outdoor spaces tend to be much smaller than Miami outdoor seating areas, likely making it more difficult for restaurants in the Big Apple to accommodate dogs.
Dogs appear to be much more welcome in retail establishments in Miami than in New York City. I’ve seen dogs in retailers as divergent as the Apple Store on Lincoln Road to Publix (Yes! I’ve seen dogs in grocery stores on three different occasions so far!) In New York, I pretty much only saw dogs at the hardware store, the bank, and in pet stores. (Rob disagrees with me on this one. He lives on the UWS, we lived downtown. I wonder if that makes a difference.)
Rhodesian Ridgeback Legend at the Miami Beach Apple Store
New Yorkers are much better about picking up their dogs’ poop than Miamians. From what I’ve seen, there are many Miamians who disregard local laws, leaving their dogs’ deposits all over the place. This happens despite the fact that the city provides free poop bags everywhere! Take a look at the picture below and read my earlier post about this topic by clicking here.
What!?!? This Miami Beach dog walker couldn’t be bothered to walk three feet to get a poop bag?
Pit Bulls are against the law in Miami-Dade county. They are legal in New York City.
Miami: DANGER! (Boo!)
Despite that, I see Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes everywhere in Florida. (Hurray for Pit Bulls! They are such sweeties! We had three wonderful Pitties as neighbors in New York. Check out this list of myths about Pit Bulls from PetFinder.)
New York City Pit Bull Bambi
Family v. Pet
New Yorkers seem to treat their dogs more like “family members.” Miamians seem to treat them more like pets or property.
If you are a Floridian in New York… or a transplanted New Yorker in Florida, and you’ve noticed differences please send them to us at Urban Dog. Click here.