In 2021, over $100 billion was spent on the pet industry in the U.S. alone. While that figure includes pets of all kinds, dogs make up the majority of pet ownership in the U.S. with 48 million households caring for a four-legged friend. While spending on dogs continues to climb with each passing year, more and more cities have also grown in their dog-friendliness, even allowing patrons to enjoy the company of their dogs while they dine or shop.
To uncover the cities that are more accommodating to dogs and their owners, we analyzed data for 97 of the largest U.S. cities across topics reflective of dog-friendliness and livability. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, read the Data and Methodology section below.
This is SmartAsset’s seventh study on the most dog-friendly cities. Check out the previous version here.
- Top-ranking cities offer considerably more dog parks. Across the top 10 cities there is an average of 3.5 dog parks for every 100,000 residents. Comparatively, across the bottom 10 cities, that figure is 0.5 dog parks for every 100,000 residents.
- Western cities claim four of the top 10 spots. These cities stood out in two of the seven metrics we considered. More specifically, they placed in the top 25 for the number of dog-friendly restaurants available and in the top third for dog parks per capita.
1. St. Petersburg, FL
For the ultimate dog lover in search of the most dog-friendly city, look no further than St. Petersburg, Florida. For pet care, residents have access to the fifth-highest number of pet stores and vet offices (84.5 for every 10,000 establishments). You’ll also find roughly 18 dog shops (third-highest among all cities in the study) and 134 dog-friendly restaurants (39th-highest out of 97 cities).
2. Tucson, AZ
In Tucson, Arizona, pet owners can expect the 16th-lowest average annual number of rainy days (22.8). While out and about, residents and their loyal furry companions have access to 182 pet stores and vet offices (or 89.2 for every 10,000 establishments, ranking third-highest). Additionally, there are 253 dog-friendly restaurants in the city.
3. Tampa, FL
Dog owners have access to the fourth-highest number of dog parks per capita (4.9 parks for every 100,000 residents). There are also 242 dog-friendly restaurants in Tampa, Florida (18th-highest), as well as 62.5 pet stores and vet offices per 10,000 establishments (39th-highest).
4. Portland, OR
Portland, Oregon ranks second-best for both the number of dog parks per capita (5.8 for every 100,000 residents) and the number of pet stores and vet offices per capita (94.2 per 10,000 establishments). The city also ranks seventh-best for its total number of dog-friendly restaurants (412).
5. Madison, WI
This Midwestern city takes the No. 1 spot for the metric: pet stores and vet offices per 10,000 establishments (104.6). Madison, Wisconsin also ranks seventh-best for its access to dog parks per capita (4.1 parks for every 100,000 residents). Residents looking to bring along a shopping companion also have access to 15 dog-friendly shops (10th-highest).
6. Las Vegas, NV
Despite the hustle and bustle of city life, dog owners in Las Vegas, Nevada have access to 3.8 dog parks (for every 100,000 residents), which is the ninth-highest across all 97 cities in our study. Las Vegas also boasts just 25 days of precipitation on average (17th-lowest). Additionally, residents looking to enjoy a meal alongside their dog have access to 223 dog-friendly restaurants (22nd-highest).
7. Arlington, VA
Not only does Arlington, Virginia have the eighth-highest number of dog parks per capita (3.9 for every 100,000 residents), but it also boasts the 14th-best walk score, a measure of city walkability. Dog owners in the city also have access to 14 dog-friendly shops, which is the 13th-highest figure for this metric.
8. Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis, Minnesota has the 13th-highest walk score and ranks in the top 25 cities for the total number of dog-friendly restaurants (196). Residents with furry friends looking to get outdoors have access to 1.6 dog parks (for every 100,000 residents), which ranks in the top third of all cities included in the study.
9. San Francisco, CA
The Golden City is the most walkable of all 97 cities in the study, meaning that many errands can be completed on foot, providing plenty of opportunity to bring out four-legged friends for a walk. While out, dog owners have access to the fifth-highest number of dog parks per capita (4.5 for every 100,000 residents). Additionally, San Francisco also has an average of 27.9 rainy days (the 22nd-lowest in this metric).
10. St. Louis, MO
St. Louis, Missouri ranks 20th for both walkability and access to dog parks per capita (2.3 for every 100,000 residents). The Midwestern city also ranks in the top third for the number of dog-friendly restaurants (157) and dog-friendly shops available (6). For dog lovers looking to move to the area, St. Louis has the lowest average sales price for a home among the top 10 ($197,500).
Data and Methodology
To find the most dog-friendly cities, SmartAsset pulled data for the 100 largest cities in America, 97 of which had available data. We compared cities across the following seven metrics:
- Dog parks per 100,000 residents. Data comes from the Trust for Public Land’s 2022 Amenities and Facilities Report.
- Dog-friendly restaurants. This is the number of restaurants that allow dogs in outdoor seating areas. Data comes from BringFido.com and was pulled in July 2022.
- Dog-friendly shopping centers. This is the number of shopping centers that allow dogs. Data comes from BringFido.com and was pulled in July 2022.
- Average home sales price. Data comes from RedFin and is an average across the 12-month period spanning July 2021 to June 2022.
- Walk score. This factor measures the walkability of each city. Data comes from Walkscore.com’s 2021 City and Neighborhood Ranking.
- Average annual days of precipitation. Data comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and represents 20-year averages from 2001-2020.
- Concentration of pet stores and veterinary offices. This is the number of pet stores and veterinary offices per 10,000 establishments. Data comes from the 2020 County Business Patterns Survey and is at the county level.
We ranked each city in each metric, double weighting dog parks per 100,000 residents and single weighting all other metrics. We then found each city’s average ranking. The city with the best average ranking places first in our study while the city with the lowest average ranking places last.
Tips for Handling Pet Expenses
- Manage your budget so you can keep your dog’s tail wagging. The costs of owning a dog can add up quickly. Annually, Americans spend well over $1,000 on basic expenses for their dogs. If you’re struggling to fit those expenses into your budget or simply want to squeeze a little money out to pick up a few new dog toys, use our budget calculator to help visualize your current spending, compare it to a local benchmark and see where you may have opportunities to save.
- Maximize your money with an expert’s guidance. A financial advisor can help you make important financial decisions to support your family and your pooch. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
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