How Dog Friendly is Tucson, Really?

If you’re considering a move to Tucson, Arizona, chances are you want to make sure it’s a good choice for all members of the family, including the furry ones.

After all, nobody wants a perpetually panting pet with nervous shedding who has to be left behind when the family is exploring the Old Pueblo. if Rover ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy, right?

It turns out, it’s wags all around for Tucson. The city is counted among the most dog-friendly domains in the United States, according to several sources and studies.

  • WalletHub listed Tucson as the 16th most dog-friendly city among the 100 largest U.S. cities in 2017, across 21 metrics, including pet businesses per capita, insurance premiums and dog parks. 
  • Smartasset listed Tucson as the 9th most dog-friendly city in 2016. In 2017, Tucson jumped to number three.
  • DogVacay, a national pet-sitting website, ranked Tucson the 7th most dog-friendly city in 2016, citing a high quality of dog life.
  • UpNest ranks Tucson #6 in dog-friendly cities in the U.S., with a nod to a lower cost of living than Phoenix (also frequently making dog-friendly lists) and numerous dog parks.


Here are just a few reasons why Tucson consistently gets a rating of four paws up.

  • You can take your pet to dinner, or drinks on the patio. Tucson has a lot to howl about in this category, with more than 50 dog-friendly restaurants to choose from. Only question: which one has the best puppertizers?
  • You and Rover can get your walk on. Tucson gets a high walkability score, which is wag-worthy for both man and beast. That includes numerous hiking trails where dogs are welcome, so you can both enjoy the beautiful Sonoran Desert, or you can join in with a dog-friendly hiking group. The National Park Service recommends several walks in Saguaro National Park (both East and West) specifically for the dog in your life. And even the Tucson Botanical Gardens welcome your pet, with a minimal admission fee. It’s important to note there are also many paved trails and bike paths throughout Tucson, so you don’t have to worry as much about Rufus scaring up a snake or getting a cactus thorn in his paw.
  • Chances are the weather will be nice for your walk too. Tucson averages only about 31 days of rain a year.
  • Your sheltie can go shopping with you. There are four dog-friendly shopping centers in Tucson. Of course, training them to sniff out good deals is up to you.
  • Need a weekend at a local resort? There are several that will give your pet the red carpet treatment.
  • Dog parks abound. Tucson has more dog parks than you can shake a tail at: with 45 in all.
  • Affordable housing, so you can choose the perfect abode for you and your animal companion.

As a responsible pet owner, you’ll want to make sure you always have water on hand for your furry friend as you’re exploring the area; the desert heat can be dangerous for both humans and animals.

Of course, never leave your pet in a vehicle, and if you do take to the trails, be aware of some of the dangers to doggos, including scorpions, snakes, and plants with thorns. A good set of dog booties can help provide some protection on the trail. That said, there’s no bones about it, Tucson is definitely Fido-friendly.

Charish Badzinski