If you’re planning to move sometime soon with your four-legged friend, you, of course, want to be sure your pooch will be just as pleased with the move as you are. Not all cities are equal in terms of how warmly they welcome Fido, so take a look at our list of the most dog-friendly cities in America to help you choose your next hometown.
What are the criteria?
Here are the aspects of each city that were examined to help determine their dog friendliness.
- Pet-friendly rental market – When scouring the home and apartment listings, how many of them permit dogs? This criteria seems to be a cultural thing, with some city’s inhabitants — dog lovers, perhaps — recognizing that the market is better when the landlords allow pets. Are dog-friendly homes affordable?
- Average home size – Let’s face it: dogs need space. If a city tends towards minimalist, small housing, and apartments, it makes life a more challenging place to navigate for dog owners. Cities that provide a higher quality of living for both pet and owner received higher scores.
- The number of single-family detached homes available – How likely are you to find a house with a yard for your pet within city limits? In other words, would you need to live in the suburbs in order to have enough space?
- Cost of veterinary care – Is it reasonable, considering the national average costs, to pay for your dog’s regular checkups and medication if necessary?
- Local animal protection laws – A city’s legislation says a lot about its perspective on canine residents.
- Availability of dedicated off-leash dog parks and other outdoor spaces that welcome dogs – Your pup will need outdoor time! Is there easily accessible room to run on grass or dirt? More walkable cities got higher points.
- The number of pet-friendly restaurants and other businesses – How many local businesses understand your desire to have your pup with you everywhere you go? Pet-friendly restaurants gave a city a higher score.
The best cities for dogs are:
- Scottsdale, AZ
- Phoenix, AZ
- Tampa, FL
- San Diego, CA
- Orlando, FL
- Birmingham, AL
- Austin, TX
It may not surprise you that the most highly-ranked cities are in more temperate climates. Although Scottsdale has fairly high veterinarian costs, the overall abundance and accessibility of outdoor space and high walkability ratings put it high on the list. Residents can also find homes with yards, and although you may not want to bring your Malamute to this kind of climate, he’d be more than welcome at the doggy daycare centers. Middle-of-the-list San Diego has a fantastic 187 dog-friendly restaurants. And though it may come in at #7, Austin’s Green Belt Parkway means open space (and a river!) is never far away for Austin residents.
On the other end of the spectrum, cities like New York – despite an actually high number of outdoor spaces – comes with a significantly higher cost for grooming, vet care, and doggy daycare, making it fall much lower on our list.
When you’re ready to make the leap, be sure to properly assemble a moving kit for dogs!