The 25 most dog-friendly cities

Analysis by Dr. Karen Shaw Becker

dog friendly places

Story at-a-glance -

  • A new study has ranked 25 of the most dog-friendly cities across the U.S. with those presenting the highest number of amenities per capita
  • Dog parks, pet salons, training facilities and veterinarians galore all across the U.S. mean you won’t have to travel far, even on vacation, to find everything you and your dog may need
  • From flyball in Las Vegas, Nevada to off-leash romping in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, you and your dog can also see the sights together in Dallas, Detroit and Denver
  • If you want to hit the trail with your pooch, there are a number of parks and trails in California and Arizona, as well as the central parts of the U.S., including Chicago, Charlotte, North Carolina and Kansas City
  • Preparation will include taking copies of your dog’s vet records, arming yourself with phone numbers of veterinarians at each of your stops along the way and a tag on your dog with your identification information

Ask any dog lover which cities in the U.S. are the most dog friendly, and they’ll mention the ones that offer a plethora of dog parks, pet spas, off-leash trails, dog training facilities and plenty of qualified veterinarians.

There are several other cool things that make having a dog in dog-friendly towns enjoyable and convenient for dog owners, and pretty fun for the dogs, too. When you’re traveling and taking your dog with you, especially if it’s a road trip, it’s good to know which cities have taken the time, effort and consideration not only for you, but for the benefit of your canine companion.

For that purpose, a study conducted by Compare the Market1 ranked the 25 cities around the U.S. with the best features for indulging your dog, which will make your trip worth your while, and your dog’s as well. The pet amenities in these cities range from pup protection to play to pampering so you can go, and your dog can, too!

Long Beach, California — Boasting more than 250,000 places designed to unwind with your pup, needless to say there are more than enough beaches so you can take Fido to explore the shore, plus 71 parks and 985 dog training facilities.

Mesa, Arizona — As the third largest city in Arizona, Mesa is close to the Grand Canyon,2 which means that you can take your leashed dog for an adventure on the South Rim, and 12 miles of dog-friendly trails.

Atlanta, Georgia — Besides 661 veterinarians and 65 dog parks, there are reasons why this Southern spot makes the list. Krog Street Tunnel, for instance, features local art for a casual stroll and is safe for you and your dog to stroll on an elevated walkway with rails.

Sacramento, California — Dog parks and hiking trails galore mean you and your pup have options. One great choice is the California State Railroad Museum, where an outdoor path alongside old locomotives will keep you on the right side of the track.

Seattle, Washington — With 96 dog parks and 152 pet salons to choose from, you can get Queenie all dolled up before heading to the Fremont Sunday Ice Cream Cruise, where you can enjoy a boat excursion and the views together.

Denver, Colorado — While you’re checking out the many dog-friendly breweries in town, take your pooch along, or explore several hiking trails within 30 minutes of the city, such as Red Rocks Trail, South Valley Park or Mt. Galbraith Loop.

Portland, Oregon — Oregon’s relatively moderate temperatures make enjoying outdoor activities extra fun. With more than 500 veterinarians in town, Portland3 offers a number of dog-friendly bars, 36 dog parks and eight hiking trails.

San Francisco, California — If you ever worry your dog will misbehave, never worry in this town, as you’ll find nearly 1,000 dog training facilities. Take your favorite canine to Crissy Field to check out the Golden Gate Bridge or the giant, nearby Golden Gate Park for hours of exploration.

San Jose, California — The heart of Silicon Valley is a great spot for a pampered pooch. The town has nearly 800 dog training facilities and 84 dog parks like Saratoga Creek Dog Park. Or go shopping and grab a bite to eat with your pup along Santana Row.

San Diego, California — Beautiful beaches, including Dog Beach and the adjoining park, are an excellent way to include your pooch for some California sun. You know this place is dog-friendly with 487 kennels and 841 veterinarians.

Las Vegas, Nevada — This city happens to be the U.S. dog-loving flyball headquarters. While you may not be able to take your dog with you to the casinos, there’s plenty else to do on the Vegas Strip. You and your pup will enjoy Desert Breeze Dog Park,4 or hike around the city.

Austin, Texas — Austin has a thriving art community for yourself, and for your dog, cool nature walks like the one at Lady Bird Lake, dog-friendly Barton Creek Farmers Market and more than 100 dog grooming shops so you can hit the spa.

Dallas, Texas — Downtown Dallas has a plethora of eateries of every genre for you to dine with your dog. With more than 50 dog parks to visit, you can also head outside the city for trail exploration, and currently, there are 411 kennels.

Los Angeles, California — Celebrity treatment is what you’ll get in this city, and your pet will, too. You’ll find 2,044 veterinarians, more than 2,112 dog training facilities and 1,126 kennels for pet pampering while you take advantage of the Hollywood lights and nearby beaches.

Detroit, Michigan — The Motor City offers a number of dog-friendly parks, including Belle Isle Park5 which allows for leashed strolling, a half-mile stretch of beach and the island in the Detroit River. If your pup needs a little tune-up, there are 109 pet salons.

Washington D.C. — If you want your pup with you when you visit the White House, that’s certainly an option, or just stroll the National Mall with him. In addition, there are 469 dog training facilities.

Boston, Massachusetts — If you love history, you and your furry friend can check out the Boston Common and Paul Revere Park. With nearly 50 dog parks catering to off-leash romping, you’ll both have plenty of options.

Kansas City, Missouri — Here’s a town that assures your dog will be well-cared for, as there are 275 veterinarians and 170 training facilities. Swope Park is a dog-friendly option, as are The Wild Way Coffee and Bar K Dog Bar.6

Phoenix, Arizona — Phoenix is a hub for both humans and their dogs who love adventure. Besides 389 kennels and 206 salons, hit as many parks, trails and patios as you’re up for as you explore nature as well as the city. Keep your leash at the ready on numerous hike options, including Lost Dog Wash Trail (but don’t let the name keep you away).

Fort Worth, Texas — Close to many downtown options for you and your pooch, you can cater to your dog’s social life at Prairie Dog Park, and to get him ready, visit one of 90 dog grooming services, and if he’s up for it, 355 training facilities.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — Known as the City of Brotherly Love, dogs are loved in this town, too. Off-leash romping, views and relaxation are there to pamper both of you at the Schuylkill River Park Dog Run.

Charlotte, North Carolina — Need a spa day? This city offers the same treatment for your dog at one of the 76 dog grooming parlors. You can also sign up for the annual Pet Palooza Festival and Walk for the Animals, a worthwhile charity event that raises money for animals.

Chicago, Illinois — It may be called the Windy City, but that won’t deter you and your dog from taking advantage of the 75 dog parks you’ll be able to choose from, not to mention more than 900 veterinarians and 243 dog salons.

Tucson, Arizona — As the second largest city in Arizona, Tucson features scores of dog walking options, dog parks and even dog-friendly restaurants and shops. Take a look at Miko's Corner Playground at Reid Park and Brandi Fenton Dog Park and have some fun.

Baltimore, Maryland — With places like DogWatch Tavern to visit with your favorite canine, owners won’t be bored. You’ll find games and arcades for yourself while your dog enjoys the outdoor patio area with free treats and water. Recreation options include Cromwell Valley Park, as well as Cylburn Arboretum.

Traveling with your dog might present some challenges, but not if you’re prepared ahead of time. One wise way to get ready for your trip is to take Buster to visit your vet, first, to make sure he’s up for the travel and help give him the best chance to hit the road happy and healthy. Another tip: Take along an emergency first aid kit for your dog.

Part of the preparation will include taking copies of your dog’s vet records, and just to be sure, arming yourself with phone numbers of veterinarians at each of your stops along the way, and a tag on your dog with your identification information. Needless to say, a well-behaved dog that understands and obeys you will make your trip much more enjoyable.

It never hurts to have an up-to-date photo of your dog to keep with you, as well. Plan for plenty of potty stops, and by all means, take along a sturdy leash, treats and toys to make the excursion fun along the way, for both you and your dog.