Finding the Most Dog Friendly Cities to Open a Small Business
A few years ago, most pet owners had to withstand only having access to big-box pet stores. Now, pet businesses are blossoming. With 85 million households owning a pet, most major dog friendly cities are welcoming the luxuries of designful business models helping to meet the demand.
So, what cities make a good location?
Finding the best city to open a Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique depends on pet friendliness. Of course, with more dogs, comes more business. With the help of WalletHub, we’ve narrowed the most dog friendly cities in America down to ten. These are great places to own a dog, or open a pet franchise. Variables like veterinary costs, pet businesses per capita, and dog parks per capita are taken into consideration to rank each city. You could be living in a pet gold mine right now and not even know it!
Here are the top ten dog friendly cities in the United States of America.
10. Las Vegas, Nevada
Pet Budget Rank: 63
Pet Health & Wellness Rank: 15
Outdoor Pet Friendliness Rank: 9
Total Score: 56.73
Believe it or not, the Entertainment Capital of the World comes in 10th place in the ranking of the most dog friendly cities.
Vegas has 20 dog parks and its position in the Mojave Desert makes for warm weather year-round. The city also has two hiking trails for your dogs to explore, where you can escape the allure of gambling, for awhile at least. 45 restaurants have identified themselves as dog friendly, like the Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar where you can get an awesome brunch without feeling the guilt of leaving your dog at home.
9. Atlanta, Georgia
Pet Budget Rank: 24
Pet Health and Wellness Rank: 5
Outdoor Friendliness Rank 75
Total Score: 56.73
Atlanta has a draw for tourists which makes the city a fun place to visit or live as a pet owner. There are 343 parks, nature preserves, and gardens that cover 3, 622 acres of the city. Of this, there are 8 huge off-leash dog parks with amenities like a pool in Renaissance Dog park. Getting local grub is easy with your dog as with 241 restaurants where dogs are good-to-go.
On top of this, Atlanta hosts some pretty cool events like PUP culture Festival and Puglanta PugFest. Food trucks, live music, and even a Pug kissing booth bring Atlanta natives and their doggies in for the fun.
8. Cincinnati, Ohio
Pet Budget Rank: 24
Pet Health & Wellness Rank: 27
Outdoor Friendliness Rank: 28
Total Score: 57.19
Representing for the Midwestern states, comes Cincinnati with the second most veterinarians per capita and strong numbers of pet businesses per capita. Coney Island might have the hot dog eating contest every fourth of July, but September 15th is the annual Running of the Wieners in Cincinnati. Dachshunds in hot dog costumes run the streets of downtown kicking off “Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati.”
The Ohio city also has eight dog parks, five hiking trails, and 26 restaurants where dogs of all breeds can participate.
7. Austin, Texas
Pet Budget Rank: 54
Pet Health & Wellness: 3
Outdoor Pet Friendliness Rank: 54
Total Score: 58.26
Austin is becoming known as the hip cousin of Dallas, adopting the “Keep Austin Weird” motto to contend with the country’s rebellious places like Santa Cruz. Austin has definitely earned its rank as one of the most dog friendly cities. Bars like the Dog House Drinkery, which is a bar inside a dog park, and 4th Tap Brewing Co-Op encourage pet owners to bring their dogs down for a drink.
In total, there are 315 dog friendly restaurants in Austin. The sunny weather makes this possible with outside-seating being an option almost everywhere. The Texas city also has 15 dogs parks, five hiking trails, and three dog friendly walking tours. For shoppers, there are seven pet friendly stores. If that’s not enough, Austin Doga is yoga studio dedicated to both humans and dogs to stretch out and get centered.
6. Birmingham, Alabama
Pet Budget Rank: 54
Pet Health & Wellness Rank: 21
Outdoor Pet Friendliness Rank: 50
Total Score: 59.37
Birmingham is an extremely affordable place for pet care. Pet insurance is cheap and access to a veterinarian is a smooth process. The southern city is also home to Bruster’s Real Ice Cream with delicious sundaes, tasty for the doggos and you. If you’re hankering for something savory, Pub 261 is another dog friendly place that serves up southern dishes from fried catfish to pot roast.
Birmingham hosts 64 pet friendly restaurants, three dog parks, and five hiking trails to explore. Dogs of BHAM, a community for dogs in the area, help facilitate rescues and connect local dog lovers.
5. Orlando, Florida
Pet Budget Rank: 27
Pet Health and Wellness Rank: 4
Outdoor Pet Friendliness Rank: 47
Total Score: 59.81
Yes, Orlando has Disney, Universal Studios, and Seaworld. The Sun Belt tucked city also fetches the fifth-best place to own a dog. With more veterinarians per capita than any other U.S. city, Orlando is the big dog for pet health.
Orlando also ties for most animal shelter per capita and most pet businesses per capita. Dog friendly restaurants are as common as sandals here with over 228 places to get a bite with Fido. To work it all off, there are nine dog parks and four hiking trails that are off-leash.
4. San Diego, California
Pet Budget Rank: 85
Pet Health & Wellness Rank: 2
Outdoor Pet Friendliness Rank: 6
Total Score: 60.56
Another Disney and doggie city, San Diego is the kind of place where dogs surf and pet boutiques are so common they’re yesterday’s news. Events like Paw-Micon—dogs dressed as superheroes—and Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon put a Cali twist on the pet owner lifestyle.
Ready for some Baja tacos? San Diego has over 326 dog friendly restaurants where you and your dog can get everything from a kale salad to BBQ. California’s beautiful scenery offers 17 dog parks, four hiking trails, and a myriad of dog boutiques to peruse.
3. Tampa, Florida
Pet Budget Rank: 10
Pet Health & Wellness: 9
Outdoor Pet Friendliness Rank: 19
Total Score: 61.48
The Sunshine state makes the list again, this time further down. Budgeting for your dog is water under the bridge, as Tampa is the 10th best city for pet ownership costs, and one rank lower in health and wellness. It’s also right across the bridge from another ranking pet city, St. Petersburg. If you keep driving, you’ll hit a third—Miami.
It seems sunshine and dogs go hand-in-hand. Doggie eats are good in this city too, with 109 restaurants like Mad Dogs & Englishmen opening their doors to the canines. Tampa also has 10 dog parks including one dog beach where dogs can cool off in the surf. Since the weather is always permitting, dog festivals happen year-round in this tail-wagging city.
2. Phoenix, Arizona
Pet Budget Rank: 12
Pet Health & Wellness Rank: 6
Outdoor Pet Friendliness Rank: 10
Total Score: 63.54
Phoenix, dubbed The Valley of the Sun, keeps the sunny themes going as second in rankings of most dog friendly cities with 85 percent of daylight hours filled with the sun’s rays.
With over half of Arizona’s yearly visitors’ destination being Phoenix, the city makes some pawesome accommodations for dogs. Events like Strut Your Mutt and the Annual Doggie Street Festival help raise money for homeless pets and provide some fun too. Fashion is huge in the pet world in Phoenix, with 13 pet friendly spots like the Biltmore Fashion Park.
Mountain ranges like the Guadalupe and North Mountain make beautiful scenery for 16 dog friendly hiking trails in Phoenix. There are also nine dog parks and a tour for residents and tourists alike.
1. Scottsdale, Arizona
Pet Budget Rank: 80
Pet Health & Wellness Rank: 1
Outdoor Pet Friendliness Rank: 2
Citizens of Arizona love to participate in dog-centric culture. The citizens of Scottsdale reap the most benefits of this as the number one place healthiest place for a pet to live. Meaning, access to the highest number of caretakers, pet businesses, pet meetups, animal protection laws and more. Scottsdale is also the second in outdoor pet friendliness! Although the city does rank 80th in costs, Scottsdale is still dogtopia U.S.A. this year.
There are six off-leash dog parks in Scottsdale and nine hiking trails cresting the Sonoran Valley. 116 restaurants like 5th and Wine or Snooze an Am Eatery welcome the pooches. Chase Field, home of the MLB Diamondbacks, even has a patio to bring your dogs to summer games. Also, the Lisa Sette Gallery offers art exhibits that welcome all four-legged aesthetes.
This just scratches the surface (or the dog’s ears) of things to do with your dogs in Scottsdale. Explore for yourself and see why this the best dog city in the America!
*All Ranking and Key Metrics provided by WalletHUB
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