A Dog’s Guide to Central Park

Visiting Central Park with your dog? There are a few rules in place to help everyone enjoy their time and stay safe.

Central Park may feel like one big dog park, but there are a few rules to help everyone enjoy their time and stay safe. Don’t worry, it’s nothing more complicated than “Sit, stay, fetch!”

Why are these regulations in place? The Conservancy staff is dedicated to protecting wildlife as well as essential ecosystems found in the Park’s garden beds, root zones around trees, and lawns from heavy foot (and paw) traffic.

We appreciate your thoughtfulness and consideration as we work together to keep Central Park a safe space for all species.

The following are City-wide dog rules and regulations, outlined by NYC Parks.

  • Dogs must always be under the control of their owner.
  • Dogs must have a NYC license tag and valid rabies tag.
  • Dogs must not dig, chase, or harm wildlife; damage Park property; or interfere with other Park users.
  • Always clean up after your dog, including dog hair that you brush off in the Park.
  • Please respect signs, fences, and red flags that may indicate temporary closure due to restoration, maintenance, or weather conditions.
  • These rules are part of the NYC legal code; dog owners may be fined for any violation.

If you find a lost dog or if your dog is missing, please contact the Animal Care Centers of NYC.


Dogs must be leashed in Central Park from 9:00 am–9:00 pm daily. Off-leash hours in Central Park are from 6:00 am–9:00 am and 9:00 pm–1:00 am.

Please note: Dogs must always be leashed in the following locations, even during off-leash hours.

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The Only Places Your Pup Isn’t Allowed

While there are plenty of places in the Park (it’s an abundant 843 acres, after all) that are fair game for fetch, the following locations are always off limits to dogs for the safety of our visitors, wildlife, and landscapes.