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It’s official: These are the most dog-friendly cities

Your dog is more than just a furry companion; he’s also a member of your family, and you want to spend as much time together as possible. Unfortunately, some cities make bringing your dog along for the ride much more difficult. From a lack of dog-friendly trails to poorly maintained dog parks, not all cities will earn the prestige of being known as a dog-friendly city. Whether you’re thinking about relocating or planning a vacation, we’re here with a list of the most dog-friendly cities in the country. Does your city make the cut? Let’s find out.

A close-up shot of a Golden Retriever with a crowd of people in the background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The top 5 most dog-friendly cities in the US

Dog parents, rejoice! If you visit one of these cities, you’ll find plenty of things to do with your dog. (And every single city has at least one Amtrak line that allows pets. Score!)

1. Oakland, California

With a population of over 450,000 residents, Oakland also boasts the highest number of pet-friendly dining options, offering a whopping 923 dog-friendly restaurants. An impressive walkability score, over 300 pet shops and animal hospitals, 322 dog trails, and 128 dog parks are all reasons why Oakland is the best place for dog parents.

2. Sacramento, California

While Sacramento is the least walkable city on the list, 22% of the city’s hotels are pet-friendly. You’ll also find 413 restaurants that will welcome your pup, and if you feel like playing a game of Frisbee, you have over 100 dog parks to choose from in this city of over 530,000 people.

3. Seattle, Washington

Home of incredible coffee and stunning nature trails, Seattle is a dream destination for many. If you have a dog, we can think of several hundred reasons why you’ll love Seattle even more. You’ll be able to take your pup into over 550 restaurants, and you’ll also find over 300 dog-friendly walking trails, stores, and pet hospitals. It’s safe to say that most of Seattle’s over 770,000 residents love dogs.

4. Portland, Oregon

Not only is Portland one of the most eco-friendly cities in the world, but it’s also one of the most dog-friendly, too. With a bustling population of around 660,000 residents, Portland is home to over 640 dog-friendly restaurants, 215 dog trails, and over 300 pet stores.

5. Washington, District of Columbia

As the most walkable city on the list, Washington, DC, a city of over 700,000 people, makes it easy for you to explore the sights of the nation’s capitol with Fido in tow. You’ll find pet-friendly accommodations in 22.4% of the city’s hotels, and when you’re bored of exploring the city, you can relax in one of over 130 dog parks for a leisurely game of fetch.

An adorable, parti-eyed corgi wearing a coral-red harness walks near a fountain.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What makes a city dog friendly? 

According to a Wanderu study, several criteria needed to be met in order for a city to land a coveted spot as one of the most dog-friendly cities in the United States. Wanderu’s methodology consisted of in-depth analysis of the following categories:

  • percentage of dog-friendly hotels and restaurants in a city
  • overall population
  • per capita number of #dogsof (insert city name here) uses across various social media platforms
  • city’s walkability score
  • number of dog trails and dog parks in a given city
  • number of pet stores, pet hospitals, and pet-friendly public transit

Adding better accommodations, such as pet-friendly dining options, permitting pets on public trains, subways, and buses, and providing access to dog-friendly trails (with waste disposal stations) all create a more pet-friendly environment. Not only does improving accessibility for pets result in happier dogs, but it will also benefit your community at large. An impressive 82 percent of pet parents claim their fur babies have improved their lives for the better, say researchers at Mars Petcare

Where to find dog-friendly dining

While you couldn’t necessarily bring your pooch to a Michelin star restaurant, some dining establishments offer pet-friendly seating options. But how is a pet parent supposed to find out where their beloved pooch is welcome? We’ve got you covered. There are a few ways you can go about finding new restaurants to try with your pup, including:

Yelp

When in doubt, you can rely on good, old-fashioned Yelp. Just check the “dogs allowed” filter on the left-hand side of the menu, search your current location, and all the available options will turn up in your search bar. Cool, right?

K9 of Mine

Have you ever wondered which chain restaurants are pet-friendly? (No judgment from us; nothing hits like hot fries from McDonald’s.) Well, dog-centric website K9 of Mine has compiled the ultimate list of restaurant chains where your pup is welcome to join you.

Bring Fido

Looking for pet-friendly restaurants, hotels, or events? Bring Fido is your new favorite resource. Use their intuitive search menu to find exactly what you’re looking for, and that’s one less hassle you have to worry about.

A woman holding a black and white Australian cattle dog while sitting on top of a mountain.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Traveling with your dog is an outstanding bonding activity, whether you’re sightseeing in another state or taking a staycation in your hometown. But it’s not always easy to find pet-friendly accommodations. Fortunately, some cities pride themselves on welcoming fur babies with open arms. It’s easier now than ever to find a pet-friendly hotel, numerous dog parks, and even restaurants that will seat your dog. Hopefully, we’ve made finding your next dream destination a little easier.

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Mary Johnson
Contributor
Mary Johnson is a writer and photographer from New Orleans, Louisiana. Her work has been published in PawTracks and…
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