Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on SmartAsset.com.
It’s no secret that the United States is totally crazy about dogs. According to a 2019-2020 survey by the American Pet Products Association for pet owners, more than half of all American households, or 63.4 million homes, had dogs.
When it comes to caring for their dogs, Americans spend an average of $1,200 annually on Fido, according to a recent survey. While expenses can certainly add up, where you live can make your canine companionship more enjoyable—not to mention easier. With this in mind, SmartAsset analyzed the data to identify and rank the most dog-friendly cities in the country.
This is the 2021 edition of the SmartAsset study on which cities are most suitable for dogs. Read the 2020 edition here.
We analyzed data from 100 of the largest US cities across the following seven metrics: dog parks per 100,000 residents, dog-friendly restaurants, dog-friendly shopping malls, average home value, average annual days of precipitation, city walkability, and concentration of stores Pets and veterinary offices. For details on our data sources and how we bring all the information together to create our final rankings, read the Data and Methodology section at the end.
Here are the most dog-friendly cities in America.
1. Tucson, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona, has the fifth largest number of pet stores and veterinary offices per 10,000 establishments across our entire study.
The city also ranks in the top 20 in both dog-friendly restaurants (254) and annual rainfall (22.8). Tucson also ranks among the top 40 dog parks per 100,000 residents (1.4).
2. Tampa, Florida
With the sixth largest number of dog parks per 100,000 residents (4.1), Tampa, Florida, is next on our list. The city also has the 18th most dog-friendly restaurant across our study (238).
Tampa is ranked among the top 35 cities for walkability, as well as the number of pet stores and vet offices per 10,000 establishments (64.94).
3. Portland, OR
Portland, Oregon, has more dog parks per 100,000 residents (5.8) than any other city in our study except Boise, Idaho.
Roses City also ranks first near the number of pet stores and vet offices per 10,000 establishments (91.32) and seventh for the number of dog-friendly restaurants (408).
Meanwhile, Portland ranked 18th in the best score for walking across this study.
4. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico, ranks 13th for the number of dog parks per 100,000 residents (2.6) and the 28th best for the number of dog-friendly restaurants (176).
Albuquerque is also in the upper half of cities due to its focus on pet stores and vet offices (more than 66 per 10,000 establishments), annual rainfall days (less than 56) and average home value ($211,800).
5. Madison, Wisconsin
Coming in at No. 5, Madison, Wisconsin, has the highest concentration of pet stores and vet offices in our study (over 111 per 10,000 establishments) and is associated with having the fourth-largest number of dog parks per 100,000 residents, at 4.2.
While Madison ranks 91st out of all 100 cities for the number of days it rains (130.9 per year), the city has the ninth highest number of dog-friendly malls overall (12).
6. Las Vegas, Nevada
Known as “America’s Playground,” Las Vegas, Nevada has the seventh largest number of dog parks per 100,000 residents (3.8), making it a great place for dogs to play as well.
Vegas ranks 17th for relatively few days of rain (25 per year) and 21st for the number of dog-friendly restaurants (220).
7. Saint Petersburg, Florida
Like its larger neighbor Tampa, on the other side of the bay, Saint Petersburg, Florida ranks in the top 20 for the relatively high number of dog parks per 100,000 residents (2.3).
The city also has a relatively high concentration of pet stores and veterinarians’ offices (more than 85 per 10,000 establishments).
8. San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California may have the highest median home value of all the 100 cities in our study ($1.2 million), but it’s also the second most walkable city and tied for Madison, Wisconsin, for the fourth largest number of dog parks per 100,000 Residents (4.2).
San Francisco also ranks in the top 25% of our study for its relatively few days of rainfall (less than 28 per year) and the number of dog-friendly restaurants (193).
9. San Diego, California
With 566 dog-friendly restaurants, San Diego, California ranks second only to Chicago, Illinois, on this scale.
It’s also no surprise that sunny San Diego ranks high for its weather, with only about 19 days of precipitation per year (14th in total).
This Southern California city is also among the top 20 by number of dog-friendly malls, with eight.
10. Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado, which ranked 13th in last year’s study, ranked 10th this time.
This city ranks third in our study of dog parks per 100,000 residents (1.9), walks, dog-friendly restaurants (250), dog-friendly shopping centers (six) and rainy days per year (43).
Data and methodology
To find the most dog-friendly cities, SmartAsset pulled data from 100 of the largest cities in America. We compared cities’ friendliness to dogs across the following seven metrics:
- Dog parks per 100,000 residents. This metric looks at the number of dog parks per 100,000 residents. The data comes from the Trust for Public Land’s 2021 Amenities and Facilities Report.
- Restaurants that allow dogs. This is the number of restaurants that allow dogs in the outdoor seating areas. Data comes from BringFido.com and was withdrawn in July 2021.
- Dog friendly malls. This is how many malls allow dogs. Data comes from BringFido.com and was withdrawn in July 2021.
- Average home value. The data comes from the 2019 American Community Survey conducted by the Census Bureau.
- walking result. This factor measures the walkability of each city. The data comes from Walkscore.com’s 2020 City and Neighborhood Ranking.
- rainy days. This is the average number of days of precipitation per year. The 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 in the county. The data comes from the District’s Business Patterns Survey and is for 2019.
We ranked each city on each scale, double-weighted dog parks per 100,000 residents and weighted one for all other scales. We then found the average ranking for each city using the above-mentioned weights for each scale. The city with the best rating received 100 points. The worst-ranked city got a score of 0.
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