Dog-Friendly Cities

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Dog-Friendly Cities in the U.S.

What are the most dog-friendly cities in the U.S.? Answer: it depends whom you ask.

We decided to take a look at some of the more prominent surveys and Top 10 lists, considering the criteria they used to assess dog-friendliness, and seeing if we couldn’t find some patterns. So take a look at the findings. If you’re still confused, we suggest you ask your dog where he would like to go!

Top Ten Pet-Friendly Cities

This list, courtest of, features their top picks for most pet-friendly cities in the U.S.

  1. New York City, NY
  2. Chicago, IL
  3. Boston, MA
  4. Houston, TX
  5. San Francisco, CA
  6. Austin, TX
  7. Washington, DC
  8. Portland, OR
  9. Charleston, SC
  10. Ann Arbor, MI

Best Places for Pet Lovers

US News & World Report has come up with their own Top 10 list of dog-friendly cities. They came up with results that varied the most from all the other Top 10 lists out there. Their report focused on these factors:

  • weather
  • population density
  • availability of green space
  • availability of dog parks
  • pet-friendly housing
  • local laws and regulations

Here’s the US News & World Report ranking of Top Test Best Places to Live for Pet Lovers:

  1. Ellicott City, MD
  2. Rocky Point, NY
  3. Auburn, AL
  4. Butte, MT
  5. Yankton, SD
  6. Lewiston, ID
  7. Glasgow, KY
  8. Aiken, SC
  9. Flower Mound, TX
  10. Wolf Trap, VA

America’s Most Pet-Friendly Cities

According to Forbes Magazine, America’s Most Pet-Friendly Cities report was based on the following criteria:

  • public park acreage, especially dog parks
  • quantity of pet supply and pet service businesses
  • availability of veterinary facilities
  • affordability of veterinary care

All statistics were measured on both a per capita basis and a pet capita basis, figuring in the city’s estimated pet population. After compiling all of the above, Forbes’ list came out as follows:

  1. Colorado Springs, CO
  2. Portland, OR
  3. Albuquerque, NM
  4. Austin, TX
  5. Charlotte, NC
  6. Virginia Beach, VA
  7. Kansas City, MO
  8. St. Louis, MO
  9. Seattle, WA
  10. Denver, CO

Top 10 Pet-Friendly Cities

In the Dog Fancy study of pet-friendly cities, the editors consider over twenty different factors in making their determination. These include:

  • dog festivals and canine events
  • dog-friendly hotels
  • dog-friendly restaurants
  • quality of veterinary care
  • active Humane Society
  • local pet-related laws

The Dog Fancy Top 10 List of Dog-Friendly Cities is:

  1. San Diego, CA
  2. Long Beach, CA
  3. Carmel, CA
  4. Portland, OR
  5. Seattle, WA
  6. Chicago, IL
  7. New York City, NY
  8. Orlando, FL
  9. Colorado Springs, CO
  10. Austin, TX

San Diego may have won their distinction as the most pet-friendly city, but do you know where to take your dog to play? The Examiner has the skinny on all the best dog-friendly places.

Top 5 Pet-Friendly Travel Cities

HowStuffWorks has compiled a list of the Top 5 Pet-friendly Travel Cities in the U.S.

Their criteria:

  • pet-friendly hotels and restaurants
  • green space
  • an active Humane Society
  • high-quality veterinarians

Their Top 5 list:

  1. Portland, OR
  2. New York City, NY
  3. San Diego, CA
  4. Colorado Springs, CO
  5. Orlando, FL

Top 10 U.S. Cities to Visit With Your Dog

The folks at produce lots of Top 10 lists for dog lovers. For 2009, their list is based on the quantity and quality of dog-friendly accommodations, transportation, beaches, parks, attractions, stores, dining and things to do with your dog.

Without further ado, here’s their Top 10 Dog-Friendly Travel Destinations:

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Austin, TX
  3. Boston, MA
  4. Alexandria, VA
  5. Portland, OR
  6. Charleston, SC
  7. Chicago, IL
  8. San Diego, CA
  9. New York City, NY
  10. Ann Arbor, MI

Top 10 Most Dog-Friendly Cities

This Top 10 List of Dog-Friendly Cities from kept its focus on dogs, not the more generic “pets.” Although they didn’t cite their criteria, you’ll recognize a lot of familiar faces – or rather, places – on their list:

  1. Austin, TX
  2. Colorado Springs, CO
  3. Orlando, FL
  4. New York City, NY
  5. Chicago, IL
  6. Seattle, WA
  7. Portland, OR
  8. Carmel, CA
  9. Long Beach, CA
  10. San Diego, CA

Best Cities For Dogs

Men’s Health Magazine has also been ranking the friendliest cities for dog owners. Their list of the best cities for dogs was graded on these criteria:

  • dog parks
  • dog population
  • number of pet supply stores
  • animal shelters
  • pet boarding and dog daycare facilities
  • veterinarians
  • incidence of heartworm (or rather lack thereof)
  • laws against animal cruelty

Putting that all together, they came up with this Top 10 List of Dog-Friendly Cities. Like the Dog Fancy list, you’ll see an overwhelmingly disproportionate number of Western cities gracing the list.

  1. Colorado Springs, CO
  2. Portland, OR
  3. Albuquerque, NM
  4. Tucson, AZ
  5. Seattle, WA
  6. Denver, CO
  7. Austin, TX
  8. San Francisco, CA
  9. Tampa, FL
  10. Sacramento, CA

Interestingly, some of the cities that received their worst marks (i.e. Washington, DC; Boston) show up on several of the other Top 10 lists, which shows about how much stock one should put in these studies!

Humane Index Dog-Friendly Cities

The Humane Society is always working to improve the lives of dogs. Perhaps that’s why they’re the one organization to come out with a Top 12 list of Dog-Friendly Cities in the U.S. But their list is a bit different than the others, as it is meant to be a “Humane Index” based mostly on the pet-related policies of locally-elected federal officials, the use of animals in entertainment, and also such criteria as the number of vegetarian restaurants and fur retailers. (Which really doesn’t matter too much to dogs, who aren’t big fans of vegetarian restaurants, and who sometimes enjoy wearing a little fur – especially the ones in the entertainment industry!)

Their Top 12:

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Seattle, WA
  3. Portland, OR
  4. Washington, DC
  5. San Diego, SD
  6. Los Angeles, CA
  7. Boston, MA
  8. Tampa, FL
  9. Baltimore, MD
  10. Riverside, CA
  11. Atlanta, GA
  12. New York City, NY

Dog-Friendly Cities: Our Conclusion

So how do we make sense of all of these studies and lists? By looking at how often a city appeared as dog-friendly, and weighting where on each list it fell, we come up with the following officially utterly unscientific…

Top 10 List of Dog-Friendly Cities

  1. Portland: 56 points on 8 lists
  2. Colorado Springs: 38 points on 5 lists
  3. Austin: 36 points on 6 lists
  4. NYC: 33 points, on 6 lists
  5. Seattle: 28 points on 5 lists
  6. San Diego: 28 points on 5 lists
  7. Chicago: 24 points, on 4 lists
  8. San Francisco: 20 points on 4 lists
  9. Boston: 20 points, on 3 lists
  10. Orlando: 17 points on 3 lists

And, our parting thought on the subject: we can’t help but add that whether your city appears on one of these lists as dog-friendly or not, we think there’s no better way to instantly transform any city into a dog-friendly city by opening a Zoom Room – sure to be the dog-friendliest place in town!

Learn more about the Zoom Room dog training franchise opportunities.

And please feel free to add comments if you’d like to let us know about your own dog-friendly city!

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