GoPetFriendly.com

Pet Travel. Made Easy.

Readers Tell Us What Makes a City Pet Friendly

the results are in ...

Yesterday’s blog post looked at those pet friendly cities surveys. Sure, those surveys can be entertaining, but we showed that they have different judging criteria. So, are the surveys useful? What attention do you pay to them? Do they make you wish you lived in a “more” pet friendly city?

Today, I want to share with you how our readers answered this question: What makes a city pet friendly? The question grew out of an earlier blog post of the same name, and based on the thoughtful comments received, we turned it into our June pet travel poll. Here are the results.

What makes a city pet friendly? (pick 3)

  • Welcoming hotels, restaurants, and cafes – 25%
  • Dog parks, beaches, and walking trails – 23%
  • Attitude of residents towards people with pets – 17%,
  • Pet friendly business district/shopping – 16%
  • Pet accommodating tourist attractions – 14%
  • Top notch vets and vet facilities – 4%

Notice that we did not ask the question with the phrase “if you own a pet and live in a city” or “if you are traveling with your pet.”

Do you think what makes a city pet friendly could depend on whether you are a resident, or just visiting? As a resident, you may see your city as being pet friendly; as a visitor you may not … depending on why you came to the city and what you intended to do.

Based on our experiences, we believe pet friendly cities are what you make of them.

If you’re a traveler, just passing through, no city is pet friendly if you sit in a hotel room with your pooch.  Get out … explore … have fun! When we’re on the road, we’ve always been happily surprised by the number of businesses that are pet friendly – if you just ask!

If you’re a city resident, there for the long haul, vote with your dollars and patronize businesses that welcome your pets. If it doesn’t already exist, help create a groundswell of pet friendly awareness so that households with pets become an influential market force. (For example, look at the work being done by Sloppy Kisses in Saratoga Springs, NY.) This should persuade more businesses to “GoPetFriendly,” which will make it easier for more people to live/travel with their pets. Woof!

  • Karin says:

    These are important, but I miss one very important point for me – pet friendly rentals for dog owners that have big dogs, like our labrador-mix. Especially nowdays where lots of pets ends up in shelters, because the owners lost there home and they can’t find rentals that allow pets or only under 20 lbs!!! We had big problems to find rentals in all the places we have lived in the US, like Huntington Beach, Las Vegas, Tulsa and Portland, OR. Portland is nearly always ranking at very dog friendly, and it is except for decent rentals that are affordable for us. We can’t afford more than 900 dollars for 2 bedrooms and the apartments that allow dogs don’t have good ratings.
    So in that list of criteria for dog friendly cities it misses “pet friendly rentals, especially with big dogs over 80 lbs.
    1. lots of off leash trails that are safe from roads
    2. dog parks that are BIG and have shade and water and grass
    3. restaurants that let you eat with you dog at outside seating
    4. lots of stores allow you to shop with your dog
    5. state of the art vet clinics
    6. locally owned premium pet food shops
    7. local buses that allow dogs (other than service dogs)

    • Great list, Karin. I agree that 20 lb weight limits are ridiculous – they might just as well say that they’re not pet friendly. I’ve often wondered about purchasing travel insurance that would protect the landlord and open more options for renters. I may have to do a post on that! P.S. I think pet friendly public trans is great!

  • Lifewithdogs says:

    Interesting to get a reader perspective on what makes a city great. I bet the criteria are quite different (and more real) than what large publications choose…

    • Thanks for stopping by. I don't mean to slam the publications, but … well, I guess I do mean to slam them! Some surveys make it sounds like the scientific method has been applied; others, like names were drawn from a hat.

  • Deborah Flick says:

    A city, to my mind, is dog friendly if there are:

    1. lots of off leash trails that are safe from roads
    2. dog parks that are BIG and have shade and water and grass
    3. restaurants that let you eat with you dog at outside seating
    4. lots of stores allow you to shop with your dog
    5. state of the art vet clinics
    6. locally owned premium pet food shops
    7. local buses that allow dogs (other than service dogs)

    Okay. That's a start. :-)

  • mlouie says:

    To me, a city is pet friendly if I can take my dog with me as I go shopping, touring or eating, rather than having to leave her at home or in a hotel room. During the summer, it is too hot to leave her in the car as I go to non-pet friendly establishments. Some cities that tout themselves as pet friendly are not really. For instance, Boulder, Colorado does not allow dogs on its outdoor Pearl Street Mall. And some hotels have a split personality. For instance, the Golden Hotel where I live in Golden, Colorado advertises that they allow dogs in the hotel rooms but they are not allowed on the outdoor patio of their restaurant. So, I guess you're just supposed to leave your dog alone in the hotel room when you go eat? (or leave it at home if you live in Golden). So, we don't eat there. Instead we go to the restaurant across the street that does allow dogs on their outdoor patio.

    • I like your way of thinking! And you'd think the Pearl Street Mall would be a perfect place to bring your dog. But the most important comment you made was in the last two sentences. Vote with your dollars, and patronize pet friendly businesses – even if you don't have your pet with you. And make sure you let the business owners know you appreciate their pet friendly policies!

  • Peggy says:

    How embarrassing. I live about 40 minutes from Sloppy Kisses in Saratoga Springs, and I've never been there. I'm going to rectify that soon!

    • If you go to Sloppy Kisses, say hi to Melanie for us! She's got so many pictures of people and their pets that she started putting photos on the store ceiling. And you'll be surprised at the variety of pet friendly stores … not just “dog” merchandise stores … but jewelry, women's clothing, home furnishings, and kitchen supply stores, just to name a few. Not one business that signed up for the dog friendly initiative has dropped out!

  • EdieJ says:

    I agree — it's more a question of perspective than anything else. A city may not have many pet friendly hotels because that's the policy of the chains in the city, but it may be great for residents.

    So I was only half joking when I tweeting yesterday, aksing why Tucson wasn't included among the top dog-friendly cities. From my perspective, lots of restaurants welcome dogs, there are some very pet-friendly resorts and hotels, parks and other places to take dogs. And we have two of the only 50 veterinary specialist dentists in the country…

    Poop on surveys, I say! And yes on supporting dog-friendly businesses!

    • Honestly Edie, that's exactly the kind of comment I was hoping for. It IS all about perspective. Like I wrote, pet friendly cities are what you make of them. If your city isn't pet friendly, make it so!

      BTW – hope to see Tuscon (and you) in person this winter.

  • Robert says:

    Excellent post. Vote with our dollars. And get out and have fun. I like that.

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