We love dogs, so much that when we think about where we'd want to live, one of the biggest factors on our minds is our dog's quality of life. Their health and happiness affects ours, and we've made moves in the past that made having a happy healthy dog much harder than it needed to be. That's why we ran the numbers to analyze America's cities and find the most dog-friendly cities in the US.
Just under 70% of U.S. households have a pet, according to the National Pet Owners Survey. In the US, the survey found that dogs are the most popular pet with over 60.2M households including a dog. The most dog-friendly cities include walkable streets, runnable parks and access to affordable mortgages. According to Wallethub, none of the 20 most affordable cities in the country are a top 10 dog-friendly city.
- West Coast is more dog-friendly than East. Seven of the ten most dog-friendly cities are located in the western United States. The overwhelming representation of cities in this region provides dog-owners with plenty of options. So don’t get stressed, just head west.
- The South ranked least dog friendly of all regions. All Southern cities rank towards the bottom of our list. Aside from Tampa, FL, they scored particularly low in dog accessibility metrics.
- California has 3 of the 10 most dog-friendly cities in the US. Three of the ten most dog-friendly cities in America are located in The Golden State. While California is not the most economical choice for homeowners, it does provide various dog accessible, walkable and weather-friendly options.
Factors We Considered For This Ranking:
1. Number of dog parks per 100,000 residents
2. Number of dog-friendly shopping districts
3. Number of dog-friendly restaurants
Quality of life.
4. Walkability (walkable vs car-dependent)
5. Weather (measured by # of rainy/precip days per year)
6. Housing cost (measured as the median housing cost)
The top 15 most dog-friendly cities in the US in 2020 are:
1. New York, NY
New York is the most walkable city in the US, and was designed with dog parks in mind - with one of the 25-highest dog-park densities by geo. Weather isn't as favorable in NYC as in other cities (it's actually rainier here than the national avg), but the city is packed with dogs and dog-lovers. If you and your dog live in NYC, make sure to check out Boris & Horton in the East Village, and Bond Vet throughout the city.
2. San Francisco, CA
SF is the most expensive city in the US, but is packed with dog-benefits - from being the 3rd most walkable city, to having the 5th highest park-density in the US. It's also top 25 in terms of most dog-friendly restaurants and shopping areas. If you live in SF, check out Fort Funston and George's. If you love hiking, SF is also for you - with hundreds of dog-friendly trails within a 45 min drive from downtown.
3. Denver, CO
If you're debating where to live to give your dog the best life possible, Colorado definitely comes to mind. Not only is Denver a great option for outdoorsy dogs, but its also one of the more affordable options in our top 5. Though it's getting more expensive by the year as more people recognize Denver's desirability - median home prices have increased about 10% every year since 2016. With loads of nearby hiking, camping, and skiing options, your dog will surely have off-leash time. Denver is 25th most walkable (you'll likely need a car) and 7th in terms of dog-friendly shopping areas and restaurants.
4. Austin, TX
Austin, Texas is packed with dog-friendly restaurants and shopping areas, ranked 5th in the US on both fronts. In fact, there are 341 more dog-friendly restaurants here than in the average US city. If you live in Austin, make sure to check out dog-friendly BBQ and breweries, and dog-friendly hot springs!
5. Chicago, IL
Chicago's dog's are known for their love of shopping and attendance on errands. It's the most dog friendly city in the US as measured by restaurants and shopping districts – with over 560 dog-friendly restaurants in Chicago proper. Chicago is also getting more dog-friendly by the year (climbing in ranking year-over-year from 10th in 2019 to 5th in 2020).
6. Seattle, WA
Seattle has twice as many dogs are children, so you're bound to meet other dog lovers if you live here. There are over 15 off-leash dog parks in Seattle-proper, with ten more in the greater metro region. The best off-leash dog park in the city, according to locals, is Magnuson Park with over 9 acres for you and your dog to enjoy. The entire park is fully fenced, with a separate are for small dogs as well as a safe dog-beach on Lake Washington. This is huge for dogs that love to run and for training your dog to be safe off-leash. If you like to hike, Seattle has plenty of trails within 30 minutes of downtown.
7. Tucson, AZ
Tuscon makes this list as one of the most cost-friendly dog cities. With the lowest median home value of any city on our top 10, and one of the best climates for outdoor walking (very very little precip). This desert city is great for dogs who hate the rain. If you're considering Tuscon, check out Rillito River Park Trail, a dog friendly hike with great views.
8. Albuquerque, NM
With affordable home prices and over 2 dog parks for every 100,000 residents (that's the 13th highest in the US), Albuquerque easily slides into the top 10. The downside of Albuquerque is its walkability, you'll definitely need a car here, but you'll be pleased with the number of outdoor activities available and dog-friendly (from hikes to restaurants to shopping).
9. Las Vegas, NV
Vegas has become more and more dog friendly in the last 5-years with an increase in dog-friendly parks, restaurants, and shopping areas. Vegas ranks 5th in the US with tons of dog-parks (tied with SF by park-density). With low precip, affordabe housing, and ranking 17th in the country by density of dog-friendly restarants and shopping district, Las Vegas is attracting more and more dog owners each year.
10. San Diego, CA
San Diego is the second Californian city on the top ten (and ranks above LA), thanks to the number of dog-welcoming restaurants and shopping areas. Humans here love dogs. In fact, according to BringFido.com, San Diego is the second most dog friendly restaurant city in the US, and the 4th most dog friendly by shopping districts.
11. Tampa, FL
Tampa is rising as a dog-welcoming city. It was 17th in 2018, and moved into 11th place for 2020 - primarily thanks to the density of dog parks and dog friendly restaurants.
12. Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta ranks especially high in the “pet health and wellness” category. This is not a surprise considering the city has more than 250 pet-friendly restaurants and lots of off leash parks. We recommend Piedmont Dog Park with its 3 acre dog run and separate areas for small and large dogs.
13. Boise, Idaho
Boise has five off-leash parks that locals rave about as well as designated foothills trails which are available every day from sunrise to sunset. They feature mulch, sand surface materials or green grass that's easy on paws (unlike pavement or gravel). The city also has 10 off-leash dog parks with green grass, restrooms and irrigation. The Ridge to Rivers trail system is popular for pet owners – the majority of Foothills trails are off-leash and easily accessible, according to Visit Idaho.
14. Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis is a great city for dog owners who want a little bit of everything. The city ranks in the top 60 in every metric we considered. Notable scores include 1.7 dog parks per 100,000 residents (a top 25 score) and 172 dog-friendly restaurants (another top 25 score). This city even has the fourth-lowest cost of living in our top 15. Minneapolis also boasts a high walkability score and even comes in below average for housing prices.
15. Sacramento, CA
The third California city to make the list. Dogs and their owners will appreciate the large numbers of dog parks - Sacramento has the 16th-most dog parks per resident in the study, meaning most parks shouldn’t be too crowded. Other metrics in Sacramento’s favor include the low chance of rain and a large number of dog-friendly restaurants.
*Data on number of dog parks comes from parkscore.org. Information on dog-friendly shopping areas and restaurants comes from bringfido.com. Data on a city’s walkability comes from walkscore.com. The city’s weather information comes from currentresults.com. Median sale price for homes comes from trulia.com.