There's nothing quite as fulfilling and special as the relationship between an owner and their dog. However, taking care of a dog is a bigger responsibility than many people understand until they're overwhelmed by the mischievous energy of a new puppy. And things can become even more difficult depending on where you live. Big cities, for example, are especially challenging places to have a dog—so much so that 62 percent of dog owners would consider moving to a new home to better accommodate their dog, according to a new survey conducted by real estate site Zillow and pet sitter and dog walker database Rover. With those people in mind, the two sites teamed up to find out the most dog-friendly cities in the U.S.
The top 15 emerging dog-friendly cities of 2021 were determined by evaluating trends in new dog accounts on Rover combined with Zillow data on the share and year-over-year growth of rentals listed as pet-friendly. In addition, Zillow included the change in frequency of pet-friendly features mentioned in listings for all homes sold in 2020. Read on to see which major metropolitan destination claimed the top spot on the list of the most dog-friendly cities in the U.S.
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida began establishing itself as one of the country's most dog-friendly cities in 2019, when it launched PAWS, a program for businesses to become pet-friendly certified. These businesses then "receive recognition on a pet-friendly map, a window decal, shareable social media content, and resources for hosting pets," the city's Channel 9 News affiliate reported.
According to Forbes, one reason Nashville is attractive to dog owners is the ease of finding living accommodations that allow pets. In fact, "about 86 percent of apartments allow pets and 26 percent have a pet play area," the outlet reported in April 2021.
Miami is a mainstay on lists of the most dog-friendly cities. Among the many reasons that is the case, according to EllimanInsider, is the city's countless dog-friendly shops, beaches, hotels, and parks.
Fort Worth, Texas
When it comes to pet budget, pet health and wellness, and outdoor pet-friendliness, Fort Worth ranked No. 25 out of 100 cities on WalletHub's most pet-friendly places in the U.S. It also was the highest ranking Texas city on the list—beating out Plano, Arlington, Garland, Dallas, and Irving.
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Consult any travel site for information on dog-friendly activities in Fayetteville and you'll find no shortage of breweries, beaches, and hotels to visit with your pooch by your side.
According to the local NBC affiliate, Tampa is a dog's paradise due to its "15 dog parks, 52 pet-friendly breweries, and six dog-friendly beaches nearby with a few allowing dogs to frolic in the water and roam off-leash."
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans must be doing something right when it comes to accommodating people with pets, as it earned the No. 8 spot on WalletHub's ranking of the 100 most pet-friendly cities in the U.S.
With no shortage of outdoor activities, hiking trails, and public parks, Glendale is a great place for pets—that is, if they can handle the heat.
According to Maid Sailors, Boston has become increasingly dog friendly in recent years due to a growing number of parks, off-leash areas, and landlords willing to allow tenants to have pets.
According to the WalletHub report, Atlanta ranked No. 6 in the "pet health and wellness" category, meaning it has a high number of veterinarians per capita, pet business per capita, and an extremely pet-friendly rental market.
Not only does Birmingham have the fourth most veterinarians per capita and nationally renowned pet-care facilities, but Alabama is also in the process of approving a bill that would allow dogs at all outdoor dining environments.
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Charlotte, North Carolina
According to the website Charlotte, a resource for all things to do and see in the North Carolina metropolis, the city's dog-friendly reputation is based on scenic off-leash trails, pet-friendly cafes, outdoor watering holes, and even a dog-friendly art gallery.
One thing that helped Anaheim stand out on Rover and Zillow's 2021 ranking of the most pet-friendly cities was that it had "among the highest share of for-sale listings that feature a dog run."
Orlando has more than 110 dog-friendly hotels (most of which allow your pet to stay for free), at least 20 dog parks (all with equipment to entertain and exercise with your dog), and more than 30 restaurants that are dog friendly. What more could you ask for?
Denver is one of the best cities for outdoor activities, including those you can do with your dog. In addition to that, the large number of new Rover accounts created by people in Denver played a key role in the capital city earning the No. 1 spot on the list.