There are over 300 cities in the United States with populations of 100,000 people or more, and it’s here that the vast majority of the country’s 70+ million dogs reside. The question is: how friendly are these cities to our four-legged friends? Honest Paws recently undertook a study to uncover the answer, analysing major urban areas against 9 ranking factors.

The ranking factors were*:

  1. The number of pet-friendly restaurants
  2. The number of pet-friendly breweries
  3. The new number of pet-friendly hotels
  4. The number of pet-friendly beaches
  5. The number of pet-friendly rentals
  6. The number of dog parks
  7. The number of employed veterinarians in the Metropolitan Statistical Area
  8. The number of hiking trails
  9. The city’s stance on Breed-Specific Legislation (cities against restrictions on Pitbulls, Rottweilers and Mastiffs fared better)

*All results were per 100,000 people.

Overall, 50 cities were judged and were all assigned a final score.

The top 10 cities were:

  1. Tampa, Florida – 40.36 out of 50
  2. Portland, Oregon – 40.03 out of 50
  3. Orlando, Florida – 39.43 out of 50
  4. Seattle, Washington – 37.50 out of 50
  5. St Louis, Missouri – 35.81 out of 50
  6. San Diego, California – 34.70 out of 50
  7. Denver, Colorado – 34.44 out of 50
  8. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – 34.22 out of 50
  9. Miami, Florida – 31.83 out of 50
  10. Richmond, Virginia – 31.63 out of 50

Those just outside of the top 10 included San Francisco (14th), Austin (15th), Las Vegas (17th) and Boston (20th).

Tampa won overall thanks to its “16 dog parks, 52 pet-friendly breweries, and six dog friendly beaches.” Orlando, which has a far bigger population than Tampa, came out in third thanks to its “376 pet-friendly restaurants, 128 pet-friendly hotels, and 530 employed veterinarians within its metropolitan statistical area.” Crucially, the city doesn’t adopt Breed-Specific Legislation, so dogs like Pitbulls and Rottweilers can be owned.

Looking for a city with a lot of vets nearby?

One of our recently-published articles examined the criteria by which you should judge a vet, but it always helps to have options when making your decision. Now, thanks to the Honest Paws survey, we can report the ten cities with the most number of veterinarian professionals per 100,000 people.

These cities are*:

  1. Raleigh, North Carolina (54.86 vets)
  2. Denver, Colorado (38.23 vets)
  3. Portland, Oregon (38.10 vets)
  4. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (36.91 vets)
  5. San Diego, California (35.05 vets)
  6. Columbus, Ohio (32.04 vets)
  7. Virginia Beach, Virginia (30.59 vets)
  8. St Louis, Missouri (29.98 vets)
  9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 29.82 vets)
  10. Nashville, Tennessee (29.47 vets)

*All figures are the number of vets per 100,000 people.

So which cities fared worst?

  1. Indianapolis, Indiana (11.59 out of 50)
  2. Louisville, Kentucky (12.62 out of 50)
  3. Milwaukee, Wisconsin (12.71 out of 50)
  4. New York, New York (12.79 out of 50)
  5. Columbus, Ohio (12.80 out of 50)
  6. Memphis, Tennessee (13.77 out of 50)
  7. Riverside, California (14.27 out of 50)
  8. Houston, Texas (14.53 out of 50)
  9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (14.57)
  10. Detroit, Michigan (14.77)

Both Columbus and Philadelphia have a comparatively large number of veterinary professionals per 100,000 people, but scored badly overall, in part because these cities don’t offer many pet-friendly restaurants, hotels and dog parks. New York is also low down on the list due to a distinct lack of space.

Want more? Honest Paws has an interactive table you can play with. Try filtering the results by the different ranking factors to see how your city fares.

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