Pet Travel. Made Easy.

Pet Friendly Cities – And the Survey Says

We’ve all seen surveys listing the most pet friendly cities in the US – right?  Who performs these surveys?  What makes a city pet friendly – what criteria are judged? Which city is THE most pet friendly?

So far in 2010 six surveys ranking pet friendly cities have been published. And just for the record, although the surveys all say “pet” friendly, we’re talking “dog” friendly here. Below is a summary compiled by GoPetFriendly, but note these points:

  • In all, 34 different cities were pawsitively mentioned.
  • Benicia, CA? (It’s northeast of San Francisco.)
  • And “N. Virgina” stands for Northern Virginia – it’s not a city, it’s an area.
  • No city was named in all 6 surveys.
  • New York City and San Diego were both mentioned in 4 out of 6 surveys.
  • Portland, OR was named in 5 out of 6 surveys, including two #1 rankings and a #2 ranking. Does this make it the most pet friendly city in the US?

What do you think of these surveys? Are they helpful? Would you have different judging criteria if you lived in one of the cities or were just thinking of visiting? Leave us a comment!

Cities highlighted in red received a #1 ranking in a survey.

How are these listings and rankings compiled? Here is what each source has to say … and note that some imply you are LIVING IN the city, while others imagine you are TRAVELING TO the city.

BellaDOG MagazineWe collected statistics from the most populated cities in the United States that would make the city “dog-friendly.” We took into consideration a number of factors such as dog parks, outdoor dining areas, public parks, groomers, pet shops and much more.

Dog Fancy MagazineThe criteria used to select the winning city include plenty of dog-friendly open spaces and dog parks, events celebrating dogs and their owners, ample veterinary care, abundant pet supply and other services, and municipal laws that support and protect all pets.

DogFriendly.comWant to find the best cities to visit with a dog for vacation? The rankings are based on the quality of dog-friendly accommodations, transportation, beaches, parks, attractions, stores, dining and other things to do with your dog.

TopTenzLooking to travel and not sure where you and your family, including your four legged family member, should go? Picking places that will welcome your dog with arms as open as those that welcome you can be tricky, so here’s a list of the top 10 dog friendly cities in the United States.

How Stuff WorksWhat qualifies a town as being pet friendly? It not only needs to have many hotels and restaurants that welcome furry friends, but it also has to have a lot of open space for pets (and their owners) to r­oam, as well as an active Humane Society and high-quality veterinarians.

Sure FitLeading Slipcover and Home Solution company Sure Fit has released a list of the Top 10 Pet-Friendly Cities around the U.S. [Yes, that’s it. In fact, this survey appeared on the website; I couldn’t find anything on the Sure Fit website.]

  • Karin Crehan says:

    especially big black dog discrimination :-(

  • Karin Crehan says:

    Amy, yeah the issue was that she is large and black, she is a Labrador-mix. And in Portland most apartments or management companies just don’t want big breeds, mostly 30 lb or less

  • Karin says:

    Portland, OR always get top ranking as dog friendly city and in lots of ways it is, but when you have a labrador-mix and you are looking for a decent rental in Portland than the city isn’t very dog friendly. We were lucky with our landlord, but we had a though time to find something decent and under 1000 dollar for a 2 bedroom house. Apartments have very often very bad ratings, so we skipped them. So, Portland isn’t really that dog friendly when it comes to rentals with a big dog.

    • Hi Karin! Sometimes the most pet-friendly cities to visit are not the most pet-friendly cities to find a home to rent. We had the same feed-back about Aspen, CO. Was the issue that your dog was large? I know that pit bull owners often have a hard time finding places to rent, but labs are the most popular breed of dog there is!

  • Dale says:

    Well that's sad to see that Minneapolis did not make the list. What can we do to improve that?

  • […] were looking forward to exploring Salt Lake City because it was #8 in’s listing of pet friendly cities. Problem was, temperatures in the valley were approaching 100 degrees when we arrived! Much too […]

  • […] Sioux Falls was just a brief stopover for us. As much as we liked what we saw, we did not see anything that would warrant Dog Fancy magazine making it a top 10 pet friendly city. […]

  • […] blog post looked at those pet friendly cities surveys. Sure, those surveys can be entertaining, but we showed that they have different judging criteria. […]

  • I'd love to see an international list at some point- the Dutch bring their dogs everywhere in Holland.

  • Peggy says:

    Thank you for all the work you've put into researching this and presenting it clearly and thoroughly. It's a great list to consult when considering your destination. I guess my neighboring community, Saratoga Springs NY, wasn't populous enough to make the lists, but it is dog friendly.

    • You live near Saratoga Springs?! Did we know that?! We visited there for a couple of days back in May. Love it! I wrote 2 blog posts about the town – see my Destinations category. The Dog Friendly Downtown initiative launched by the Arts Council and Sloppy Kisses seems to be a great success for pet owners and businesses alike.

      • Peggy says:

        We didn't get to “know” each other until right after the time you passed through. I remember reading all your posts about Saratoga and thinking, darn, I just missed you guys! Next time we should definitely meet up, ok?!

  • michelechollow says:

    I can speak about NYC, since I'm a native and lived there for most of my life. Parts of it are wonderful for dog owners. There are a great many parks and a lot of outdoor cafes. Some parts are a bit hectic for some dogs–like mid town at rush hour. Personally, it is a bit overwhelming for me too–even though as a whole, I love NY.
    As for Sure Fit, their slip covers are one of my favorite home items because they protect furniture from cat claws.

    • We have some mixed feeling about NYC as well – some of which you mention. Yes, the parks are wonderful. And I actually walked Ty and Buster through midtown during the middle of the day – I won't do that again! One thing we found off-putting was several restaurants with outdoor seating wanted us to tie the dogs to a railing and have them sit on the outside of the outdoor seating area. We just can't do that with Ty and Buster.

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