Survey Finds America’s Most Dog-Friendly Cities, You May Be Surprise

by Britt
Photo credit: Benevolente82 /

The number of Americans embracing a pet-friendly lifestyle is on the rise, and we’re here for it! We read announcements and news articles daily about businesses introducing pet policies and welcoming our furry friends into their establishments.

However, if you’ve been traveling with your pup, you know that not all cities are created equally. Some locations truly shine—not only welcoming dogs but also creating an environment where they can live their lives to the fullest. From dog-friendly patios and shops to beautiful park spaces, these cities are rolling out the red carpet.

Interested in finding the best locations for our best friends? MarketWatchGuides studied the country's 98 biggest cities, ranking them based on seven dog-friendly metrics, including:

  • Number of pet activities per 100,000 people
  • Number of dog-friendly restaurants per 100,000 people
  • Number of dog-friendly apartments per 100,000 people
  • Number of dog-friendly weather days (days where the high did not exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the low did not drop below 0 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Number of dog parks per 100,000 people
  • Number of vet offices per 100,000 people
  • Average vet costs

Using these findings, they gave each city a ranking out of 100 in 3 categories—Dog Friendliness, Dog Walkability, and Pet Health—as well as an overall score out of 100, allowing them to rank the cities from most dog-friendly to least dog-friendly. The findings may have you reconsidering what part of the country you call home!

According to the study, Raleigh, North Carolina, was the most dog-friendly city in the United States, with an impressive overall ranking of 80.3. While the city did rank low on a couple of factors (namely, the number of dog-friendly weather days and the number of dog parks), it scored high enough in the other metrics to earn the top spot.

Most impressively, the city scored 91.2 on the Pet Health Score, which considered the number of vet offices and average vet costs.

Other cities that managed to earn a spot in the top 10 most dog-friendly cities included:

  • Nashville, Tennessee (78.2)
  • Madison, Wisconsin (77.4)
  • Lexington, Kentucky (76.7)
  • Boise, Idaho (76.5)
  • Austin, Texas (74.3)
  • Portland, Oregon (73.9)
  • Cincinnati, Ohio (73.4)
  • Seattle, Washington (72.6)
  • Greensboro, North Carolina (71.1)

Of course, ranking these cities on an overall score may not appeal to every dog parent. While one may prioritize finding a city with the lowest vet costs, another may be willing to pay a little more to enjoy a location with more dog-friendly restaurants.

Recognizing this, they then broke down a few fun stats to consider:

The city with the most dog-friendly restaurants per capita was Orlando, Florida. Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, North Las Vegas, Nevada, took the title of the fewest dog-friendly restaurants per capita.

The most accessible pet health care in the United States can be found in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Does your dog love heading out for a “Pup Cup” on a warm day? The Starbucks chain first popularized this tasty treat, referring to the small cup of whipped cream as “Puppuccinos.” If the very mention of a Pup Cup has your dog’s tail wagging, you may want to visit Atlanta, Georgia, where you can find the most locations offering pup cups per capita.

Wherever your pet-friendly travels take you, check out our list of Dog Travel Essentials to set you (and your dog) up for success!

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Britt Kascjak is a proud pet mom, sharing her heart (and her home) with her “pack” which includes her husband John, their 2 dogs – Indiana and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx. She has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. In her free time, she enjoys traveling around the country camping, hiking, and canoeing with her pets.

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