If you live in the city with a dog, you have to accept certain limitations. Or do you? What if we told you that some of the most dog-friendly cities in the US are all about enjoying precious time with your dog without sacrificing comfort? Would you consider moving there?
According to a survey from Mayflower, pet-friendliness plays a massive role in deciding where to move if you’re a dog owner. The interviewed dog owners who had moved recently said that choosing a better environment for their pets influenced their home choice by 39 percent.
It’s challenging to provide a general definition for something as subjective as dog-friendliness. But here are the factors we considered for our list of the top 10 most dog-friendly cities in America:
- dog parks per 100,000 residents
- dog-friendly restaurants
- dog-friendly shopping centers
- percentage of landlords allowing pets
- size of pet deposits
- concentration of pet stores and veterinary offices
Most Dog-Friendly Cities in the US
Let’s go on a tour around the US and make a stop in the best cities for dogs the country can offer. We’ll start from the far northwest, drive south, and reach the east coast.
1. Seattle, Washington
Do you know how many dogs there are in the world? Well, their number changes day to day, but some cities have more dogs than children.
Seattle is known as the US rain capital, but it could easily claim the title of the country’s most dog-obsessed city, too. According to the US Census Bureau and Seattle Animal Shelter data, dogs outnumber children in Seattle by about 46,000.
If your mind is still stuck on the word “rain,” don’t worry. With city bus lines, light trains, and ferries allowing pets on board, you can still get everywhere without an umbrella. For people who don’t own a car, the best cities for dogs have accessible public transport.
And if your destination is one of the two indoor dog parks, bad weather won’t affect your mood. For a reasonable daily fee of $10–$15, your puppy can play while you enjoy your coffee. With a monthly or yearly membership, you can get unlimited visits at a discount.
In Seattle, you’ll find many dog-friendly hotels and restaurants. If you’re in the mood for a leisurely ride with your dog, you can also rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. And don’t forget the dog-friendly cruises on Elliot Bay.
2. Portland, Oregon
If there’s one thing that puts Portland high on the list of the most dog-friendly cities, it must be its 33 dog parks. That’s the biggest number of dog parks per capita in the US.
In Portland, you can attend plenty of dog events, like the Pit Bull Parade and Pug Crawl. Hundreds of dog owners of the same breed gather there to have fun. Another place to meet like-minded people is Portland’s social network for dog lovers.
One of the best places in this city is the Dogs Gone Swimming Wellness Center. Here, your dog can swim in warm water and get a relaxing massage. The whole experience is entertaining and helps dogs with health issues, such as arthritis, injuries, or surgical recoveries.
3. San Francisco, California
San Francisco is among the most dog-friendly beach cities California can offer. Quite a few beaches allow dogs, but some require a leash. Also, dogs are allowed on trolleys, in 185 restaurants, and several gyms.
Right behind New York, San Francisco is the second most walkable city in the country. This everyday opportunity is reason enough to place San Fran among the most dog-friendly cities in the world. You can freely stroll with your dog, run some errands, or just enjoy the sights.
And don’t forget to include the famous Golden Gate Bridge in your itinerary. Pedestrians and dogs can stroll the East sidewalk of the bridge, which offers a spectacular view of the city. Open hours are from 5 am to 6:30 pm. To avoid some traffic, we recommend going after 3:30 pm, when the sidewalk is closed to bicycles.
Another perk of San Francisco is the lowest average pet deposit in the US.
4. San Diego, California
With many pet services and fashionable dog boutiques, San Diego is one of the most dog-friendly cities in southern California.
Not enough outdoor play can cause your dog to misbehave, influencing many dog owners to move to another city. After all, the environment is often key to many dog behavior problems and solutions.
And the real reason why we named San Diego a dog-friendly paradise is its sunny beaches, where you and your four-legged friend can even go surfing together. Plus, if you attend the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon annual competition held at Del Mar Dog Beach, you can expect live music, free kids’ activities, attractive vendor booths, and lots of fun!
The almost perfect weather and many off-leash dog parks make San Diego one of the most dog-friendly cities to visit.
And when you think it can’t get any better, San Diego proves you wrong. One of its most famous tourist attractions, the Balboa Park, houses two dog parks. So, you could explore this historic location, enjoy the stunning Spanish architecture, and visit museums and plazas, all with your dog near you.
5. Tucson, Arizona
In 2020, SmartAsset rated Tucson the most dog-friendly city in the US. Of course, with as many as 350 sunny days, Tucson has a clear advantage, but that’s not the only thing dog owners enjoy in this city.
With 246 restaurants and four shopping malls where your dog can tag along, Tucson is one of the most dog-friendly cities in Arizona. It also has more than 86 pet stores and vet offices per 10,000 establishments — the highest score in the US.
Plus, if you’re a nature enthusiast, there are many parks and trails near Tucson that offer breathtaking scenery of deserts or snowy mountains.
The famous Loop that goes through the Tucson area is a 131-mile-long path for pedestrians and bicyclists. No vehicles are allowed, but dogs are more than welcome. The route connects to many parks, restaurants, motels, shopping areas, and sports venues.
6. Denver, Colorado
According to a survey from the pet care service Rover and the real estate website Zillow, Denver seems the most dog-friendly city in the US where dog owners have moved or would consider moving to.
Their data shows that 24% of US dog owners have changed their address since March 2020, and finding a better place for their furry friends played a significant role in that decision. Homes with fenced-in yards and parks nearby sold five days faster than others.
So, what makes Denver one of the most dog-friendly cities in Colorado, and what fun things can you do there with your pup?
Stapleton Dog Park is among the most popular off-leash parks in Denver. It’s sandy and has water fountains. Most breweries here are dog-friendly, and some have patios and fire pits at night, which will make your stay extra enjoyable. Also, places like the Good Times serve Pawbender — frozen treats just for dogs.
7. Austin, Texas
According to SmartAsset, Austin has the highest number of dog-friendly shopping centers (28), and it’s almost the top city for dog-friendly restaurants (495) in the US. What’s more, WalletHub states that Austin ranks first in percentage of pet-friendly hotels, too. All this proves that Austin is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the south.
Here, you can take your pup to a yoga class at Austin Doga. Red Bud Isle, a swimming spot for dogs, might be a good option on hot days. Or you could go for a relaxing walk and get your puppy some natural treats from Bow-Wow Bones, a local food truck.
Also, Austin is the home of 35 pet photographers, so you can easily arrange to capture your fun-time memories at their best.
8. Tampa, Florida
According to Forbes Advisor, 81% of Tampa apartments allow pets, and only 44% of landlords require pet rent. This ranks Tampa, Florida, among the most dog-friendly cities. It also offers about 226 dog parks, and about 17% of the apartments have an area where dogs can play.
Dog-friendly bars like Pups Pub allow your dog to wander off-leash and watch the outside through doggie windows. You can even host your dog’s birthday party here.
What’s more, your dog can run off-leash at Davis Island Dog Beach. It has fountains, benches, and a hose-off station to clean your dog.
9. New York City
Much to many people’s surprise, New York is one of the most dog-friendly cities on the east coast.
It’s the most densely populated of all major cities in the US, and perks like pet play areas are practically unheard of. But you can enjoy other places. For example, it has 534 restaurants, 12 shopping malls, and many shops and cafes that welcome pets, not to mention the highly developed pet-oriented infrastructure.
And no New York visit would be complete without a stroll through Central Park. Some parts allow dogs to run and play off-leash at certain hours. With lots of grassy areas, rocks to climb, and 15 dog fountains, Central Park is a dog’s heaven.
10. Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is the third-largest US city and certainly one of the most dog-friendly big cities in the country.
You’ll quickly learn how dog-loving the locals are when you see the ice water bowls that restaurants and bars leave for strolling dogs on hot days. Also, according to SmartAsset, 558 restaurants in Chicago are dog-friendly — more than any other city in the US.
You shouldn’t miss out on the Montrose Dog Beach during your Chicago visit. It’s an excellent place for dogs to cool off and play in Lake Michigan.
Twice a year, the Chicago White Sox baseball team holds a Dog Day, where their fans get to bring their pets to the ballpark. So there’s no doubt Chicago is one of the most dog-friendly cities to visit in the US.
There are more dogs worldwide than people living on the entire continent of Europe. Amazing, isn’t it? But that didn’t make our list of the most dog-friendly cities an easy task.
Some dog-owners are happy enough to live near a store that provides the best dog food for their Shih Tzu. Others spend more time in nature than in cities, which makes them seek more adventure opportunities nearby. And you can follow their example if you get a great dog ramp for your car. So just grab your camping kit and forget all about city life.
Still, in some cases, it’s best if you move to a place where your dog will be happier. To most dog owners, the number of urban places they can visit with their pets has a massive impact on their life quality.
If you’re one of them and you’re looking for a city to move to, we hope our list of the most dog-friendly cities in the US will help you make the best decision.