Dog owners want the very best for their fur babies, and when they're looking to make a move, they look for areas of the country where their pets will feel most at home. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for folks who want to relocate to dog-friendly U.S. cities. From coast to coast and states in between, there's a place just right for you and your pup.
America isn't the only country that's good to its pooches, of course — for instance, there's an abundance of cities in the UK that pamper dogs — but we still have a lot to brag about. There are more than two million acres of parkland in the country's 100 largest cities, according to City Parks Blog, which means a lot of ground for dogs and their owners to roam. Add to that more than 57,000 dog-friendly restaurants (per BringFido), an ever-expanding number of luxe grooming and boarding options, boutiques with the latest in pet clothing and accessories... who could bark for anything more? And not only do we give our dogs a place of honor in many of our sports arenas (such as the in-house dog park at EverBank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars), we let them compete in their own sports, like diving and disc dog.
Dog owners contemplating a move should put these cities on their short list. Consistently ranked among the best by pet and lifestyle organizations, they offer perks that make it easy to enjoy the good life with your fur baby by your side.
1. Tucson, AZ
Tucson gets high marks from Dogtime for its climate (sunny and warm is its default setting), as well as for its desert trail walks that both dog and human can enjoy. Plus, it has nearly 60 patio restaurants that welcome dogs, according to Tuscon Foodie; while you dine, your pooch can relax next to you, often with a complimentary bowl of water and perhaps a biscuit or two.
2. Portland, OR
The Rose City is also high on Dogtime's list of cities that are a dog's best friend. For one, it has 33 dog parks, the most per capita of any city in the U.S. It also caters to dog health with services such as Dogs Gone Swimming, a warm-water swimming facility and massage service for pups who need more exercise, socialization, or a gentle way to relieve muscle pain. Check out the Sniff Dog Hotel, which features sunny private rooms with comfy beds; premium services include TVs set to the DOGPLAY channel and one-on-one playtime with staff members.
3. San Francisco, CA
The Golden Gate is wide open to our best friends. It ranks third in the country for most dog parks at 27, according to Estately, and pooches are even welcome on board the city's celebrated cable cars. When your pet needs a break, you can make an appointment at The Dog Spa for a bath, complete grooming, and massage.
4. Seattle, WA
Seattle made WalletHub's top 10 list of dog-friendly cities for its accessibility; you can take your pet on the city buses, ferries, light rail, and seaplanes. The city is so pet-centric, in fact, that there are actually more dogs than children in Seattle, according to Seattle magazine. Recognizing this, many businesses and restaurants here allow dogs. Among them: Norm's Eatery & Alehouse, which not only welcomes four-legged clients, they even offer a special dog menu which includes chew sticks, meat bowls, and a cake that serves up to six canines.
5. Chicago, IL
Another city cited by Dogtime as best for our four-legged friends, Chicago ranks high for its walkability, pet-friendly restaurants, and outdoor amenities such as the Montrose Dog Beach, where dogs can enjoy sand and water fun during the warm weather months. Knowing how much Chicagoans love their fur babies, apartment buildings in high-end neighborhoods are offering incentives such as dog runs, grooming services, and doggy concierge services in hope of attracting new tenants, according to the Chicago Tribune.
6. San Diego, CA
The climate and beaches alone would be enough to justify San Diego's standing as one of the country's most dog-friendly cities (per Estately). But the city also offers a slew of pooch-welcoming restaurants and pubs, not to mention Petco Park, home of the Padres, where you can watch the game at The Barkyard, a section for dog owners. It offers five semi-private areas, each of which accommodates up to four people and two dogs. Amenities include in-seat menu service, umbrellas and artificial turf for pets' comfort, and a convenient rest station for walkies.
7. New York, NY
It stands to reason that the most walkable city in the U.S. (according to Walkscore) would be a top spot for dogs. In addition to the miles of city streets and walkways, you'll see pooches aplenty romping around Central Park (not to mention the more than 1,700 other parks in the city). This is also the home of the annual Westminster Dog Show, where pedigrees the world over compete for the coveted Best in Show title. When they're not exploring the five boroughs, dog owners can take a yoga class with their pets and shop in upscale boutiques, including Dog and Co. and Zoomies, which features homemade treats.
8. Las Vegas, NV
Perpetually sunny weather and an abundance of dog parks (four per 100,000 residents) make Vegas a winner in SmartAsset's list of dog-friendly cities. Plus, high rollers don't have to leave their pets behind when they travel; according to Dog Jaunt, 10 hotels now allow dogs. They're not permitted on the casino floor, but they can go to certain common areas. Plus, they're supplied with perks such as food dishes, treats, poop bags, and a map of prime walking areas. Las Vegas is also the headquarters for the United Flyball League International, a governing organization for flyball, a competitive dog sport that's a sort of mash-up of relay races and fetch.
9. Denver, CO
There's a lot for a dog to love about the Mile High City. In addition to its outdoor vibe and sunny climate (300 days of sun on average), it includes 200 parks within the city alone, plus 14,000 acres of parkland in the mountains. WalletHub also ranks it seventh in pet wellness. Pampered pooches will feel at home here, too, with numerous groomers and boutiques to keep pups looking their best. At Lil' Angel Pet Boutique and Gallery, you can even commission a custom portrait of your pet, painted from your favorite photo.
10. Atlanta, GA
This popular Southern capital city offers its hospitality to its four-legged residents by planning activities where dogs are either the stars or welcomed guests, according to Atlanta magazine. Among them: Bark in the Park Day at the Braves' stadium; the annual Disc Dog Tournament for skilled Frisbee catchers; the Reindog Parade each December at the Atlanta Botanical Garden; and the end-of-season Splish Splash Doggie Bash at Piedmont Park, where dogs have the run of the pool.
11. Austin, TX
DogFancy named Texas's capital the most dog-friendly city in America in 2014, and it still holds a position on other top 10 lists today. It's not hard to see why: Austin has the most off-leash park dog areas in the state, more than 200 dog-welcoming restaurants, plus pooch-serving businesses galore. And when you can't be with your dog, you can take advantage of Camp Bow Wow, a daycare and overnight boarding facility where your pet gets plenty of attention, love, and playtime with trained staff.
12. Cincinnati, OH
The Midwestern hub made the Thrillist list of most dog-loving American cities. Its affordability makes it easy to pay rent or mortgage and still have enough left over for chew toys and vet bills. Plus, you can take your pet just about everywhere without anyone blinking an eye. Among them: Fifty West Brewery, where your pup can relax next to you on the patio while you sip your IPA. Or buy a dog treat at gourmet bakeries like MaiRo and Co and Daniel's Dog Treats.