The 10 Most Dog-Friendly Cities in America

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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on SmartAsset.com.

It’s no secret that the U.S. is absolutely dog crazy. According to an American Pet Products Association survey of pet owners from 2019-2020, more than half of all American households, or 63.4 million homes, had dogs.

When it comes to taking care of their pooches, Americans spend an average of $1,200 per year on Fido, a recent survey found. While the expenses can certainly add up, where you live can make your canine’s companionship that much more enjoyable — not to mention easier. With that in mind, SmartAsset analyzed data to identify and rank the most dog-friendly cities in the country.

This is the 2021 version of SmartAsset’s study on the most dog-friendly cities. Read the 2020 version here.

We analyzed data for 100 of the largest U.S. cities across the following seven metrics: dog parks per 100,000 residents, dog-friendly restaurants, dog-friendly shopping centers, median home value, average annual days of precipitation, the walkability of a city, and the concentration of pet stores and veterinary offices. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, read the Data and Methodology section at the end.

Following are the most dog-friendly cities in America.

1. Tucson, AZ

Tucson
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Tucson, Arizona, has the fifth-highest number of pet stores and veterinary offices for every 10,000 establishments across our entire study.

The city also ranks in the top 20 for both dog-friendly restaurants (254) and days of precipitation per year (22.8). Tucson also ranks within the top 40 for dog parks per 100,000 residents (1.4).

2. Tampa, FL

Tampa, Florida
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With the sixth-highest number of dog parks for every 100,000 residents (4.1), Tampa, Florida, is next on our list. The city also has the 18th-highest number of dog-friendly restaurants across our study (238).

Tampa ranks 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 skyline
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Portland, Oregon, has more dog parks for every 100,000 residents (5.8) than any other city in our study except Boise, Idaho.

The Rose City also ranks near the top for 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 has the 18th-best walkability score across this study.

4. Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Albuquerque, New Mexico, ranks 13th-best for the number of dog parks per 100,000 residents (2.6) and 28th-best for the number of dog-friendly restaurants (176).

Albuquerque is also in the top half of cities for its concentration of pet stores and vet offices (more than 66 for every 10,000 establishments), days of precipitation per year (less than 56) and the median home value ($211,800).

5. Madison, WI

Madison, Wisconsin, over Lake Monona
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Coming in at No. 5, Madison, Wisconsin, has the highest concentration of pet stores and vet offices in our study (more than 111 for every 10,000 establishments) and is tied for having the fourth-highest 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 with precipitation (130.9 per year), the city has the ninth-highest number of dog-friendly shopping centers overall (12).

6. Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas neighborhood with desert hills beyond.
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Known as “America’s Playground,” Las Vegas, Nevada, has the seventh-highest number of dog parks per 100,000 residents (3.8), making it a great place for dogs to play, too.

Vegas ranks 17th-best for relatively few days of precipitation (25 per year) and 21st-best for the number of dog-friendly restaurants (220).

7. St. Petersburg, FL

St. Petersburg, Florida
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Like its larger neighbor Tampa, just across the bay, St. Petersburg, Florida, ranks within the top 20 for its relatively high number of dog parks per 100,000 residents (2.3).

The city also has a relatively high concentration of pet stores and vet offices (more than 85 for every 10,000 establishments).

8. San Francisco, CA

Open park area in San Francisco
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San Francisco, California, may have the highest median home value of all 100 cities in our study ($1.2 million), but it’s also the second-most walkable city and tied Madison, Wisconsin, for the fourth-highest number of dog parks per 100,000 residents (4.2).

San Francisco also ranks in the top 25% of our study for relatively few days of precipitation (less than 28 per year) and the number of dog-friendly restaurants (193).

9. San Diego, CA

The skyline of San Diego, where median rent is well below median mortgage payments
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With 566 dog-friendly restaurants, San Diego, California, ranks second only to Chicago, Illinois, for this metric.

It’s also no surprise that sunny San Diego ranks high for its weather, with only about 19 days of precipitation per year (the 14th-fewest overall).

This Southern California city is also in the top 20 for the number of dog-friendly shopping centers, with eight.

10. Denver, CO

Denver skyline
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Denver, Colorado, which ranked No. 13 in last year’s study, fetches the No. 10 spot this time around.

This city ranks in the top third of our study for dog parks per 100,000 residents (1.9), walkability, dog-friendly restaurants (250), dog-friendly shopping centers (six) and days of precipitation per year (43).

Data and Methodology

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To find the most dog-friendly cities, SmartAsset pulled data for 100 of the largest cities in America. We compared the dog-friendliness of cities across the following seven metrics:

  • Dog parks per 100,000 residents. This metric looks at the number of dog parks per 100,000 residents. Data comes from the Trust for Public Land’s 2021 Amenities and Facilities Report.
  • Dog-friendly restaurants. This is the number of restaurants that allow dogs in outdoor seating areas. Data comes from BringFido.com and was pulled in July 2021.
  • Dog-friendly shopping centers. This is the number of shopping centers that allow dogs. Data comes from BringFido.com and was pulled in July 2021.
  • Median home value. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Walk score. This factor measures the walkability of each city. Data comes from Walkscore.com’s 2020 City and Neighborhood Ranking.
  • Days of precipitation. This is the average number of days with precipitation per year. 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. Data comes from the County Business Patterns Survey and is for 2019.

We ranked each city in each metric, double weighting dog parks per 100,000 residents and single weighting all other metrics. We then found each city’s average ranking using the above weights for each metric. The city with the best average ranking received a score of 100. The city with the worst average ranking received a score of 0.

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