We are a country of dog lovers. In fact 44% of U.S. households have at least one dog, according to a 2016 American Pet Products Association (APPA) survey.
Americans are also more mobile than ever, with 17% of Americans planning to move in 2016 according to a survey by American Express, a significant increase over 2015 (12%).
At SpareFoot, we’re lucky to live in one of the most dog-friendly cities in the country –– Austin –– and we’re curious about what other cities we (and our dogs) might enjoy either living in or visiting.
To compile our list, we consulted recent research from WalletHub, Zumper, and Realtor — all released in 2016. We then created our list based on number of mentions for a particular city, average rank, and then used a bit of subjective ranking for tie breakers based on a city’s dog-related charms.
For those of you roving with Rover, here are the ten cities we believe are the best of the best. Did we throw your city a bone?
10. Colorado Springs, CO
I FOUND A DOG PARK IN COLORADO SPRINGS pic.twitter.com/pzYK1wke11
— Daniel (@Dghollenback) August 5, 2016
Many local breweries welcome dogs on their patio, and some of them even allow dogs indoors. There’s Bear Creek Dog Park — 25 acres for dogs to explore including a small-dog section, multiple swim areas, an agility course, and more. Pub Dog Colorado, opening in 2017, will be the only restaurant in the state where dog owners can legally eat indoors with their dogs.
9. Albuquerque, NM
With nearly 50 acres of public parkland for every thousand residents, a high density of dog parks, and some of the lowest pet insurance premiums in the country, Albuquerque is a great place to have a dog. Many local brewpubs allow dogs into the taproom as well as on the patio. Animal Humane New Mexico even offers a class called Perfect Pub Pet to teach bar room manners.
8. San Diego, CA
— U.S. News (@usnews) October 21, 2016
San Diegans love their pups, and 63% of households include at least one dog. Year-round good weather, beaches, and hiking opportunities are perfect for enjoying with a four-legged companion. San Diego also hosts an annual dog surfing competition. There’s over 1,000 pet-related businesses and plenty of professional dog-walkers.
7. Portland, OR
Did you know Portland is one of the few places outside of France where it’s okay to take your dog inside a tavern? #PDXfacts pic.twitter.com/MdBmRdECp5 — Two Men And A Truck (@twomenbeaverton) October 5, 2016
Portland offers the highest number of dog parks per capita — 5.4 parks per hundred thousand residents, a high density of pet stores and veterinarians, as well as a welcoming attitude among the city’s breweries to four-legged friends.
6. Atlanta, GA
— Room Escape Atlanta (@RoomEscapeATL) September 14, 2016
Atlanta stands out for having a high number of pet-friendly restaurants per capita, a high number of animal shelters per capita, and a large proportion of pet-friendly apartment listings. There is Piedmont Park — a 3 acre dog park, and the Atlanta Braves allows dogs to attend games twice a season. Bellwoods Social House is a swanky pub with a dog bar where they serve fresh water and treats.
5. Austin, TX
This #TravelTuesday take a trip to the dog-friendly city of Austin, TX w/ @Sallee_D. Get ur Austin travel tips here! https://t.co/mHtra1dYST pic.twitter.com/kWS3hhV763 — #GoGetItLIFE (@GoGetItLife) September 27, 2016
Austin has over 250 dog-friendly restaurants, a high density of dog parks and public parkland, and the highest proportion of pet-friendly apartment listings of any major city. Well-loved pooches enjoy birthday cakes from Groovy Dog Bakery, and dog treats from Bow-Wow Bones — the city’s first mobile food truck for dogs. Dogs and their owners swim at Red Bud Isle, kayaking on Lady Bird Lake, and find their zen at Doga classes. Austin is also the largest no-kill city in the U.S.
4. Las Vegas, NV
— Minnie & Max Pugs (@MinnieMaxPugs) May 8, 2016
Las Vegas does everything big — and their commitment to pets is no different. They have a high number of pet-friendly businesses and dog parks per capita. There is even a local pet-themed radio show — Vegas Rock Dog Radio. However, Vegas has a small number of pet-friendly restaurants per-capita so leave the dogs at home when you head out to the all-you-can-eat-buffet.
3. Scottsdale, AZ
With a large and well-off retirement community, Scottsdale has the highest percentage of households with a dog on the list — 69%. There are also a lot of pet businesses per capita, and an abundance of pet shops for the tiny dog set. Perhaps because many of its residents can afford it, the city has some of the highest dog insurance premiums. Dogs are welcome at many outdoor dining establishments and there are 20 bars that allow dogs as well.
2. Seattle, WA
— Norm Gregory (@NormGregory) October 15, 2016
With over 8 acres of public parkland per thousand citizens and a mild climate, Seattle is a lovely place to spend time outdoors with your dog. The majority of apartment listings allow for some type of pet and there is a high density of pet stores per capita. Pets outnumber children in this young city, and there are plenty of dog-friendly restaurants with outdoor seating, and off-leash dog parks within the city limits and beyond. Dogs can actually ride the public buses in Seattle if they are well-behaved and many look forward to Dog Day on Elliott Bay — a day-cruise for pet owners and their pups.
1. Tampa, FL
Tampa was the only city to make the top 10 on all three lists we consulted. It had one of the highest proportions of pet-friendly listings, as well as dog parks per capita. There are plenty of off-leash dog parks and beaches for dogs and their owners to play, as well as lots of dog-friendly shops and boutiques. The Tampa Bay Pet Expo is a free event that attracts thousands of pet lovers looking to enjoy a day out with their pet companions.