Elmwood Park Zoo is excited to announce its new “Dog Friendly” series of select dates and events that will allow guests to bring their pet dogs with them to the zoo. While permitting dogs in zoos is a more common practice in other countries, Elmwood Park Zoo would be the first zoo in the United States to create regularly scheduled access for non-service animal dogs and their owners.

Beginning in March, the zoo’s “Dog Days” will welcome guests and their furry friends to visit the zoo together. The zoo is also planning a series of “Yappy Hours” evening events that will feature food and drink specials for guests and their dogs to enjoy at EPZ’s Zoo Brew Beer Garden. “Dog Days” and “Yappy Hours” are presented by Metropolitan Veterinary Associates. Tickets for select dates are on sale now at the zoo’s website – www.elmwoodparkzoo.org/dog-friendly.

Plans for the zoo’s Dog Friendly events have been in the works for over a year. After months of consultation with the zoo’s animal care and veterinary teams, a series of rules and regulations were crafted to help ensure that any visit by a pet dog would be safe for it and its owner, as well as the zoo’s animal collection and staff members.

A trial visit featuring dogs owned by zoo employees proved successful. Canines of all shapes and sizes got an up close view of the zoo’s giraffes, zebras, jaguars and more. The zoo’s animals showed a bit of interest, and overall it was a harmonious meeting.

“It is very exciting for Elmwood Park Zoo to be the first zoo in the country to have a year-round dog program,” said Eric Donovan, Elmwood Park Zoo’s Director of Operations. “That being said, there are a number of requirements that must be met in order for the owners to bring their dogs inside our gates. The zoo is also limiting the number of dog guests in the park at any time (just as we do with humans) so that it’s a comfortable experience for all.”

Details on the zoo’s requirements for a visiting dog and it’s owners are available at www.elmwoodparkzoo.org/dog-friendly.

“We recognize that if you have a love of wildlife, there’s a good chance that you’re a pet owner too,” said Al Zone, Elmwood Park Zoo’s Executive Director and CEO. “We are excited to encourage a deeper appreciation for all animals by inviting owners to bring their dogs to visit the zoo. We also greatly appreciate Metropolitan Veterinary Associates for supporting our efforts.”