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Best City for Dogs


You’ve pet-proofed your living space. You signed the pet agreement and found the perfect dog. Finding a pet-friendly apartment is a win. But entire cities can be pet-friendly, too. The Rent. research team set out to determine the best cities for dogs
in the United States.

Determining the best cities for dogs (and dog owners)

Researchers counted the total number of dog-friendly services and amenities per capita and per square mile, according to our data sources. Key services include pet-sitting and boarding facilities, grooming professionals and veterinarians. They also counted a city’s total number of dog parks, pet supply stores and animal shelters.

The 10 best cities for dogs

The majority of the best cities for dogs are located in warm and sunny locales. Most (60 percent) are southern cities.

Florida is practically its own category. The Sunshine State is home to 40 percent of the most dog-friendly cities.

Another 20 percent of the best cities for dogs are located in western states. The remaining 20 percent are split between the Northeast and the Midwest. Each region had just one entry.

1. Miami, FL

Sunny Miami is a paradise for pups. A total score of 69.95 puts this cosmopolitan coastal city at the front of the pack. It ranked over four points higher than the next city on the list.

Miami is the third largest city in the top 10, but it has the most veterinarians (227) of any of the top cities for dogs. It also took second place in the total number of groomers (186) and third in both pet supply stores and pet-sitters/boarding facilities.

On top of these amenities, Miami’s excellent walk score of 77 means that most errands can be accomplished on foot. Dogs can easily tag along. Urban green spaces like The Underline and Miami’s many parks and dog-friendly beaches make it easy to get outdoors and enjoy the Florida sunshine. There are also many pet-friendly apartments in Miami to choose from.

2. Alexandria, VA

Alexandria, located in the Washington, D.C., metro, is the smallest city on this list. Just 154,706 people call this Virginia city home. But it punches above its weight when it comes to dog-friendly amenities. And it does it by ranking high in per capita amenities, not sheer quantity.

Alexandria hovers near the bottom in most categories. But when it does move up from the last slot, it beat out larger cities to move up the ranks.

The city’s best showing is at No. 6 for its 78 boarding facilities. That’s more than Fort Lauderdale, Florida (population 181,668) and Knoxville, Tennessee (population 192,648). It’s also more than Pittsburgh, which has almost twice as many people as Alexandria.

It came in seventh for the total number dog parks. Alexandria also took 10th in both grooming and pet supply stores.

3. San Francisco, CA

In contrast, San Francisco topped several categories. The City by the Bay had the most pet-sitters and boarding facilities in the country at 301. It also had the most animals shelters (29). It came in second for pet supply stores with a whopping 403 and took third for the most dog parks with a total of 69.

San Francisco never rated lower than fifth. But it’s the largest city on this list, with a population of 815,201. So when these dog-friendly services and amenities are broken down per capita, it comes in just below Alexandria with a score of 65.16.

With a walk score of 93, San Francisco is rated as a walker’s paradise. And the city’s pooches certainly benefit from that walkability. The American Kennel Club recommends regular dog walking to help dogs stay fit, burn off energy and build confidence. Regular walks can also provide mental and physical stimulation and minimize anti-social behaviors like anxiety and aggression.

4. Orlando, FL

Family-friendly Orlando comes in fourth on the list of the best cities for dogs in the United States. This central Florida community is home to 309,154 people. But it also welcomes millions of tourists to its theme parks and attractions every year. The mild, sunny weather and a plethora of pet-friendly amenities makes this a pleasant spot to relax and unwind with a dog, whether you rent one of Orlando’s pet-friendly apartments or you’re just visiting.

Orlando consistently ranks right in the middle of the pack. It came in third for its total number of dog parks (38), fourth for its total number of veterinarians (165), fifth for pet supply stores (248), grooming facilities (123), boarding and pet-sitters (83) and seventh for animal shelters (9).

5. Fort Lauderdale, FL

Another Florida city, Fort Lauderdale, lands in the No. 5 slot on the best cities for dogs list. With a total score of 47.95, it came in came in just a sliver of a percentage point behind Orlando’s 47.97 rating.

Like Alexandria, this is a community with a population under 200,000. And like its counterpart in Virginia, it doesn’t need to top any of the categories to get a good overall score.

Fort Lauderdale’s best showing came when it tied for sixth for the total number of animal shelters. It ranked ninth for grooming facilities (63) and for pet supply stores with 127 total.

6. Knoxville, TN

The historic city of Knoxville, Tennessee comes in at No. 6 on the list of the best cities for dogs with a total score of 45.69. But it’s another close race. The next city on the list, Tampa, scored 45.18.

Knoxville is another smaller city. Yet it performed quite well in the rankings.

It took fifth place for animal shelters (13) and sixth place for veterinarians (114). It tied for sixth place in the grooming facilities category and took seventh in animal supply stores. It had more pet-friendly amenities than larger communities in these categories too.

7. Tampa, FL

Tampa, Florida is the seventh most dog-friendly city in the U.S. This cultural, business and tourism center had strong showings in many categories.

It recorded the second-highest number of dog parks (48) in the survey. Tampa is also home to the third largest number of vets (176) and grooming services (131). Residents can choose from many pet-friendly apartments in Tampa, which contributes to the quality of life for dogs and owners alike.

The city consistently finished in the middle in the other categories. It took fourth place for both the total number of animal shelters and boarding facilities and sixth for pet supply stores. But Tampa’s larger population (387,050) means that high numbers are to be expected. The city’s per capita numbers tampered its overall showing, placing it lower on our list.

8. Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is the lone Northeastern city on this list. Pittsburgh’s population (300,431) is a bit smaller than Tampa’s. And its rankings in each category are just slightly lower. These factors nudged it into the No. 8 slot on the list of the best cities for dogs in the U.S.

Its best ranking was a third-place showing for animal shelters with 25. Pittsburgh also came in sixth for dog parks and seventh for pet supply stores and grooming facilities. (It tied with smaller Knoxville for the total number of groomers.) It finished eighth for both the total number of veterinarians and boarding facilities.

9. Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas took the No. 9 slot. Its current population is 646,790. That makes it the biggest city in Nevada, the most populous metropolitan area in the Mojave Desert and the second-largest community on the best cities for dogs list.

Residents and tourists will find plenty of dog-friendly shopping and services here. Las Vegas had the most pet supply stores (456) and grooming professionals (259) of any of the best cities for dogs.

It also had the second-largest number of veterinarians (211) and animal shelters (27) on the list. It took third for boarding facilities and ranked fourth for dog parks.

10. Cincinnati, OH

The final entry in the top 10 cities for dogs list is Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s the only Midwestern city to make the cut.

Cincinnati stands out for its number of pet supply stores (262) and grooming professionals (125), ranking fourth in both categories. But this city of 308,935 people wasn’t quite as impressive in other categories. Cincinnati tied Fort Lauderdale (a much smaller city) for seventh place in the total number of animal shelters and ranked last for dog parks.

The takeaway

The best cities for dogs in the United States are packed with pet-friendly amenities and services. As an added bonus, most of them are warm and sunny all year long.