Hello, my name’s Sara, and I am the proud mum of Bailey, who is – at least to me – the most adorable Labrador in the world. I also write doggie articles for OfficiallyPets, which you may want to check out.
While Bailey goes almost everywhere with me, he has yet to come away on holiday with me. I’ve always entrusted him to the care of our house sitter who gladly takes care of him while I am away.
I got to thinking about taking my furry friend on vacation with me and looked up some places that are ‘pet-friendly.’
Almost 70% of households in the US have pets so it should come as no surprise that many cities are pet-friendly. With some 60.2 million families owning a dog, cities are hard pressed to provide places for pets to walk safely, along with parks where they can run freely.
Dog-friendly cities have more walkable streets, more shops where dogs are accepted and more restaurants where you can take your dog.
So, in doing some research, I found that it is often better to head to the west side of the country to find pet-friendly cities. This is partly due to the sunshine, which means more outdoor time with your pooch.
Unfortunately to live in a dog-friendly city costs more than other places, in fact, the top ten dog-friendly cities are also the top ten most expensive to live in. But for people like me who simply want to take their pooch away with them, there is a great selection from all over the country.
If you plan to get a dog, then it may be worth your while to check out any breed restrictions in the area you want to live in. Here are some “breed restrictions” you may not be familiar with.
So, what makes a dog-friendly city?
Well, the answer is very simple, or at least it should be. Dog-friendly cities pay special attention to the needs of the dog as well as the owner. Every dog owner likes to be with their dog, and often this is not possible.
A dog friendly city will cater to dogs, they will be allowed into restaurants and often into bars, there will be special parks so that dogs can run safely without fear of traffic and accidents, there will be plenty of places for dogs to pee, poop and get fresh water, and most importantly there will be parks where dogs and their owners can play or sit and watch others play, and just enjoy each other’s company.
With so many people opting to live in cities due to their work, it becomes an issue to be able to take your pooch out safely, also knowing that he will be accepted anywhere you go, and not have to be left at home alone.
It would be good to see a good selection of doggie shops in these cities so that owners can take their furry friends out to choose a new outfit every so often, just like humans do.
Dog-friendly cities should have a selection of pet shops where you can buy your pooch a throw and fetch toy on your way to the park.
This city has 4 dog parks for every 100,000 residents. Because of the weather you hardly ever have to check before you head out with your dog. Las Vegas has just 14 days of rain per year.
While the centre of the city gets congested and may not be pleasant for you or your dog, there are so many open places to head for, you will most likely not have covered all of them on one trip.
Whether you prefer eating, walking, shopping or just lounging around, you can do it here with your pooch right beside you! The city is crammed with dog-friendly restaurants and has many good dog-friendly shopping centres.
Unfortunately, it is very expensive to live here, but holidaymakers are well catered for, and pooches are especially welcome. You will find plenty of poop bins along the seafront and several areas where it is safe for your dog to paddle in the sea.
One-third of the city is walkable! Additionally, there are 3.7 dog parks for every 100,000 residents. This city gets top scores for dog-friendly restaurants as well as dog-friendly shopping centres.
Dogs are also allowed on trolleys and even in some gyms. San Francisco is home to the annual festival to celebrate dogs. The proceeds go towards the local elementary school.
You will find that there is more than 50 dog meet groups at any one time, so no excuse for your dog to be lonely or bored!
The cost of living here, is, unfortunately, sky high, which is a pity as it has everything to make it a paradise for dogs and their owners.
An interesting fact about Austin is that it is home to 35 pet photographers! I suppose that will be an indication of how much the city loves dogs!
There is even a local food truck which stops to hand out treats to dogs while they walk. Most restaurants welcome dogs on the patios when the weather is warm – which is most of the time.
There is a swimming spot especially for pooches where they can cool off on a hot day. If you are into Yoga, then you will find several yoga classes where your dog can come along and join you.
With 350 days of sunshine each year, this is a great place for dogs and owners who like walking or hiking. There are plenty of local trails where you can safely trek off with your pooch for the day.
Tucson is home to Pitbulooza which is the annual festival of Pit Bulls and Pitbull Awareness, although all dogs of any breeds are welcomes to this with open arms.
This city has 2.3 dog parks per 100,000 residents. There are over 170 restaurants where you can happily take your dog with you and three dog-friendly shopping centres.
Additionally, the city gets only 28 days of rain per year, making this a great place to plan your next vacation. It is very unlikely that rain will spoil your plans here!
Known as the ‘Mile High’ city, Denver is filled with great hiking trails for you and your pooch. Take some dog toys with you and your pooch will get plenty of exercise!
There are several great dog-friendly shopping centres where you will both be welcomed. This city has one of the best walkability ratings in the US because it has so many trails and paths to hike along.
This city has plenty of trails which run out into the most beautiful spots you can imagine! There are not only plenty of parks, but you can trek through Pike National Forest or Seven Falls which is a canyon with several waterfalls.
The Garden of the Gods is a National Landmark where you can hike to your heart’s content with your furry friend. Anyone who has been here will say that this should be on your list of places to see.
This city has 33 dog parks, which is the largest per capita dog park to residents than anywhere else. You can even join the social network for dog lovers.
There are several pubs where you are welcome to take your dogs while you stop for a beer. This is one of the few cities where you can take your dog into the pub with you.
The Pit Bull Parade takes place every year, and the Pug Crawl is a dog meet where you can let your dog meet other pet owners.
New York City
There are some 455,000 dogs in the City of New York, making the statistics of one dog for every 20 people.
Manhattan leads the way in being the most dog-obsessed borough and in 2017 they had the most licensed dogs in the US.
The city is very walkable with plenty of shops and restaurants where you and your dog are welcome.
Unfortunately – as you would expect – to live there is very expensive, and the weather is not the best with over 76 days of rain per year.
To sum up
Well, I’ve found out a few things about dog-friendly cities that I had not realized before. When I take Bailey on holiday with me, I will be heading for a city that caters to both his and my needs, to a city where I am not afraid to walk down the road for fear of traffic and go somewhere that we can find plenty of parks to explore.
Be sure to take an extra leash in case you need it, then head out with your pooch for a fun day!
While the east coast has the hiking trails, it is the west coast that has the sunshine. Of course, there is far less rain on the east side, so if you are on a short break, it may be worth it to head that way where you are pretty much guaranteed good weather.
There’s a huge choice of dog-friendly cities to choose from, I hardly know where to start!