|Bogey Kaler finds a cool spot in a muddy puddle, only to be rinsed off shortly thereafter.|
Last week marked the third heat wave of the year in New York City. The temperature has exceeded 90 degrees over three or more consecutive days. An ordeal just schlepping to work, I have zero leftover
energy for running errands or even hitting the gym in this steamy weather. So, how does a New Yorker stay summer slim in these high temps? One way is to grab a four-legged buddy and head for a dog run, either early in the morning or later in the evening, when temps are tolerable.
Hitting a dog park with your pup, a pack of pooches, or some pet-owning friends, can be a great way to get in a jog, game of tag, or some fastball pitches. Most dog parks have shade, benches, and clean water sources, so you can recharge and cool off in between rounds of strenuous activity. For you and your dog, the built-in exercise bonus also means you two can crash for a midday nap in front of the AC once you two arrive home (one of my favorite high-heat hobbies)
NYC has more than 50 off-leash dog parks. Here’s a selection in various neighborhoods throughout the city.
This historic Manhattan neighborhood boasts two dog runs, Astro’s Dog Run on 10th Avenue and West 39th Street, and DeWitt Clinton Park on West 52nd and 11th Avenue. These are two perfect locations for puppy playing and people watching in Midtown. While DeWitt Clinton is free for all four-legged New Yorkers, Astro is for members only and charges a $25 annual fee.
|Two dogs wrestle at DeWitt Clinton –via Yelp|
Upper West Side
The 105th Street Dog Run, at 105th Street and the Promenade, is for the uptown doggie die-hard. This dog run has a volunteer board and operates under the auspices of the Riverside Park Conservancy.
Tompkins Square Park Dog Run is known as First Run, because it came before all the other dog runs in NYC. Open all year from 6 a.m. to midnight, come early on the weekends, then stroll around the neighborhood for an al fresco brunch spot.
|This Great Dane has had enough play for the day in the Tompkins Square Park dog run.|
D.O.G. (Dog Owners Group) Run at Little West 12th Street and 10 Avenue, founded over 19 years ago. Accessible to members only – yet the public is always free to join. D.O.G. is a private (non-city-funded) space for dogs and owners. To join, submit an application by deadline and pay the annual $75 dues for park maintenance.
Park Long Meadow Dog Beach is a free swim for dogs; take your pup here for a quick dip or some long laps during off-leash hours, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. daily. Beware though, off-leash dogs beyond these hours can warrant a $100 summons. That can be a pretty expensive outing with Fido.
|Your furry companion can swim at Prospect Park’s dog beach. –credit|
And for cautious canine owners, I have some health and safety tips for you and your dog this summer:
At the Dog Run
Do not leave your dog unattended, and in terms of toys, stick to balls. Anything else might cause fights and/or injuries. If you do bring a ball, be prepared that another dog may snatch it, so it might be best to leave your dog’s favorite at home.
Clean up after your dog – and yourself.
Throw waste bags and other bags in the trash.
Other than a few dog treats, don’t bring food into the dog run. Food often causes aggression or fights between canines.
Do not feed treats or play with another dog without that dog owner’s permission.
If your dog and another dog engage in some rough play, watch the other dog’s owner’s reaction. Some don’t mind tough tussling, others overreact. Keep your dog in check at all times.
During Hot Weather
Don’t keep your dog outside too long in the hot temps. Shorter more frequent play sessions are best. Remember, Spot wears a fur coat!
Always carry water with you. Dogs can’t sweat, so look for signs that they might be dehydrated and/or overheated, such as heavy panting, heaving chest/lungs, dangling tongues, etc.
Beware of hot pavements – remember, dogs don’t wear flip-flops!
Keep your dog away from trash and scraps. Brittle chicken bones splinter during chew fests and can cause choking and/or internal bleeding. Also, dogs have difficulty digesting lactose, so give cool dairy
treats in tiny doses.