America's Best Cities to Be a Dog
It's a Dog's World
To those who love dogs, they truly are (wo)man’s best friend. But depending on where you live, people may or may not share your sentiment. If you’re looking for a place to settle down where your pooches can enjoy the same safety, enrichment, and liberties as you then check out the following top 10 best cities in America for dog-lovers.
America’s 10 Best Cities to Be a Dog
1. Austin, TX
Texas as a whole doesn’t have any dog breed restrictions. Hooray! Out of all of the Lone Star State’s cities, Austin is the best for dog-lovers. Its 167 restaurants, 15 dog parks, five hiking trails, three tours, and seven pet-friendly stores that welcome dogs provide a lot of options for visitors and residents to bring their dogs along most places they go.
Our favorite dog-friendly activity in Austin: Want to grab a bite to eat on a gorgeous patio? Want to do it with your doggy? Perla’s serves you seafood and cocktails while your dog sips fresh water and dines on treats provided by the staff.
2. Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix is sunny and warm for most of the year—providing a perfect place for those who love their dogs like family. Dine with your dog in Phoenix's 158 fido-friendly restaurants. Then, check out the city’s nine dog parks, 16 hiking trails, one tour, and 13 pet-friendly stores.
Our favorite dog-friendly activity in Phoenix: Enjoy wildlife and nature with your dog at Phoenix’s Thunderbird Conservation Park. The 1,000+ acre preserve is full of fun smells and adventure for your pup.
3. New York, NY
City dogs seem to have as much style as their trendy owners; walk around NYC and you’ll see doggies with little rubber shoes strolling down the streets. We’re glad their owners suit their dogs up for the hectic urban life because there’s a lot to see and do! According to BringFido, you can take your dog to 118 restaurants, 41 dog parks, one hike, two tours, and most stores in NYC. Even the subway is dog-friendly if they can fit in a carrying case or bag.
Our favorite dog-friendly activity in New York: There are cat cafés in New York City and dog ones too! Stop in The Bean for a coffee (or in many Starbucks that make puppaccinos!) and then take your dog for a stroll around Central Park.
4. Philadelphia, PA
Philly has a lot of passion for its sports teams and pooches. The state of Pennsylvania has 92 no-kill shelters—only second to Texas that has 100. Plus, within Philly, there are 111 dog-friendly restaurants, 13 dog parks, four hiking trails, four tours, and eight pet-friendly stores.
Our favorite dog-friendly activity in Philly: Whether you’re from out of town or want a staycation with your dog, you can stay at the Kimpton Monaco in Philly. These hotels are super fancy, so it’s surprising they allow dogs. Albeit, Kimpton hotels don’t charge any extra fee for dogs and greet them with treats and friendly pets!
5. Boston, MA
The founding fathers wanted freedom and liberty for all—including Boston’s dogs. The urban dogs of Boston and their owners can go on dates at 34 restaurants shop in eight pet friendly stores, and play in/on eight dogs parks, four hikes, and one tour.
Our favorite dog-friendly activity in Boston: This year, Bostonites can get in the car to Walpole for the third annual Dog Days of Summer event. All proceeds go to animal welfare organizations and all your furry (and non) children can join you for food, fun, and socialization. Or, you can stay in the city for fun in the sun at Castle Island Beach.
6. Arlington, VA
Arlington may not be the capital of Virginia—or the nation’s capital a mere five miles away—but it is the dog-friendly capital of the Old Dominion state. Dog owners can take their canines to 42 restaurants, eight dog parks, and three hiking trails.
Our favorite dog-friendly activity in Arlington: Shirlington Dog Park far surpasses the rest with its huge swimming hole for dogs. If your pooch loves to doggy paddle, he/she will adore this park.
7. Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis is seemingly the good twin of the twin cities when it comes to dogs. Here, you can dine at 43 dog-friendly restaurants, shop at pet-friendly stores, and play at seven dog parks and one hiking trail.
Our favorite dog-friendly activity in Minneapolis: Do you and your pup like to jam out to some good tunes? Then you should stroll on over to the fifth annual Nershfest, a dog-friendly music festival in Minneapolis.
8. Oklahoma City, OK
Oklahoma seems to be Oklahome to many dog-lovers. Its 23 restaurants and handful of dog parks make it a friendly and enriching environment for pooches and their humans. Plus, the state doesn’t have any breed restrictions and has 33 no-kill shelters—showing that Oklahomans love their four-legged friends.
Our favorite dog-friendly activity in Oklahoma City: Treat your dog to a walk with hundreds of other pups at Dogfest Walk ‘N Roll.
9. Hoboken, NJ
The third most dog-friendly city in America, New York City, is only a short subway ride away from number nine, Hoboken, New Jersey. This NYC borough has 15 dog-friendly restaurants and four fantastics dog parks nestled in its suburban sprawl.
Our favorite dog-friendly activity in Hoboken: Grab a slice of incredible New York style pizza at Grimaldi’s with your best dog friend. This restaurant and countless more allow pups on the patio.
10. New Haven, CT
New Haven isn’t just for scholars or foodies, but for poochies too. Okay, we made that up but what we mean is New Haven is the 10th best city in America for dog-loving folk. With at least nine dog-friendly restaurants, two dog parks (and tons more in neighboring towns), and 35 no-kill shelters statewide New Haven is a haven for pets.
Our favorite dog-friendly activity in New Haven: Enjoy a marg with your dog on the patio of Oaxaca, a delicious Mexican restaurant in downtown New Haven.
How We Made Our Rankings
Google “best cities for dogs” and you’ll find a slew of answers. What makes our rankings different? Our standards. Our top criteria for a dog-friendly city is the BSL census (Breed-Specific Legislation), a resource that logs which states have dog breed restrictions.
We got started by analyzing state laws to see which have bans on any dog (a lot of states outlaw pit bulls, rottweilers, and other breeds). We only ranked cities in states without breed bans.
The way we look at it is that breed restrictions split up families—people from their beloved pets and dogs from their adored humans. So while some other rankings may list San Francisco, CA and Portland, OR as top places for people with dogs based on animal-friendly shops, restaurants, and parks, those states have breed restrictions which make them exempt from our top 10.
The second criteria in this ranking is the number of no-kill shelters. Our top ten best cities for dog-lovers were only considered if the states have a low amount of kill shelters. Lastly, we used data from https://www.bringfido.com to manually search for each city in our top states to find which has the most dog-friendly restaurants, shops, parks, and enrichment opportunities.
What is BSL?
BSL stands for Breed-Specific Legislation. It is a law that bans or restricts certain breeds of dogs due to their appearances or "aggresive" characteristics. 33/50 states have some form of BSL in place. These laws can range from forcing dogs to be chained up or making it illegal to own these breeds. Some fines for owning BSL restricted breeds can total up to $700.
Most Commonly Banned Breeds
- Bull Mastiff
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Cane Corso
- Doberman Pinscher
- Presa Canario
- American Bulldog
- Bull Terrier
- Chow Chow
- Belgian Malinois
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Alaskan Malamute
- Dogo Argentino
- German Shepherd
- Siberian Husky
- Wolf Hybrids
4 Ways to Live Better with Your Dogs In Any City
No matter where you live, you can make life better for you and your dog. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
If you don’t like what your city has to offer you and your dog, travel! Take a road trip with your pooch to a new place you both can enjoy. Just make sure to pack enough water, treats, food, and toys to keep your dog happy and safe. Keep them on the same schedule too (feeding, drinking, and going to the bathroom), so they don’t feel out of sorts.
Control Odor and Allergies
People are allergic to the saliva, bacteria, and dander on their pets. Give your dog a bath once per week to cut down on the amount of allergens in the air. Also consider using a suite of allergen and odor equipment like our air purifier made specifically for households with pets. These systems air filter out stinky dog smells and the things that make you sneeze, so you can enjoy more cuddles and puppy love.
The power of your voice can change laws. If you live somewhere that doesn’t have strict enough animal cruelty laws or does have a breed ban, talk to your representatives. You can make a huge difference in the lives of animals everywhere.
If you’re considering bringing another pet home, adopt! Look at shelters that euthanize due to overcrowding to truly save a life. Every year, countless animals never make it out of shelters to loving homes because there isn’t enough room to house them. Adopt don’t shop to give an animal a second chance and make room for another who needs help.
Dogs fill our lives with love, silliness, and lots of happiness. If you live in one of the top 10 cities for dog-lovers, you have one spoiled pooch! If not, use some of our tips above to make life better for you and your furry soul mate. And don’t forget to check back again next year to see the 2018 rankings. Who knows, your city might be on the list!