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Are Dogs Allowed on the New York Subway? 5 Important Rules

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By Nicole Cosgrove

new york city subway sign

Traveling by subway is one of the most iconic things to do in New York City. It’s right up there with eating pizza, going to the theater, and lounging in Central Park. The New York City Subway has evolved into one of the busiest transit networks in the world for people from all over the world. If you love to travel with your favorite pooch by your side, you might be wondering if you can bring your pet onto the subway with you.

The answer is yes, dogs are allowed on the New York City subway, but there are specific rules and regulations that dog owners must follow.


What Are the Rules for Bringing My Dog on the NYC Subway?

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) allows dogs to ride the subway as long as they are kept in a carrier or crate that is small enough to be held on the owner’s lap or placed on the floor without obstructing the aisle or seats or being an annoyance to other passengers.1

Here are the most important points to keep in mind when bringing your pooch on the New York subway system:

The 5 Rules for Taking a Dog on the New York Subway

1. Dogs must be in an enclosed carrier.

They must be confined in a carrier or crate at all times while riding the subway. The carrier should be secure and prevent the dog from escaping or causing any inconvenience to other passengers.

jack russell terrier dog inside a travel carrier box
Image Credit: Reshetnikov_art, Shutterstock

2. Dogs must remain quiet and well-behaved during the subway ride.

They should not cause any disturbance or discomfort to other passengers. If your dog becomes anxious around crowds or strangers or is scared by sudden and loud noises, subway travel is probably not a good idea.

If it is absolutely necessary for you to travel by subway, here is a guide to helping your dog feel safe and secure during the trip.

3. Owners are responsible for ensuring that their pets do not create a mess or create unsanitary conditions on the subway.

Any potty accidents need to be cleaned up immediately and thoroughly. Carriers and crates also need to be kept clean and odor-free.

4. Plan your trip with your dog around the MTA’s official peak hours.

On weekdays from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM, dogs are not allowed on the subway unless they are service animals or working dogs. Thousands and thousands of people are commuting all over the city during peak hours; adding dogs into the mix creates a stressful and unsafe environment for canines and humans alike.

black poodle service dog
Image By: grandbrothers, Shutterstock

5. Service animals, such as guide dogs for individuals with visual impairments, are permitted on the subway without a carrier.

Emotional support animals, however, are not automatically granted the same privileges and are subject to the carrier requirement. Please ensure that your service dog is wearing a service dog vest.

It’s important to be considerate and respectful of other passengers when bringing a dog on the subway. Not all subway riders are comfortable around dogs, or they may be allergic to them. It is vital to ensure that your dog is calm, well-behaved, and does not cause any inconvenience or fear to others.

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What About Large Dogs?

Some people see the rule about their dog needing to be in a carrier as a bit difficult to follow if they have a big dog. Are big dogs exempt from this rule? Sadly, no. All dogs must be in a carrier. This means that dogs like Huskies and Saint Bernards must be in a carrier.

While this may seem impossible for a lot of dog owners, some people have gotten creative while bringing their large dogs on the subway. People have used IKEA bags and potato sacks to “contain” their large dogs so they can ride the subway while adhering to the rules. However, it is important to consider the situation before doing this. If the subway conductor is not happy about the situation, it is best not to try to push them.

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In Conclusion

Individual subway stations and train lines may have their own additional rules or restrictions; they may also change temporarily based on the weather, train breakdowns, or special events/holidays. It’s always a smart pet-owner practice to check with the MTA or consult their website for the most up-to-date information and guidelines before bringing dogs on the New York City subway.

With all this information in hand, we hope you and your dog are able to travel often and safely by subway in the Big Apple.

Featured Image Credit: Robert MacMillan, Shutterstock

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