San Diego is the No. 4 Best City for Dog Lovers
Our dogs love us unconditionally, but how well do our local communities reciprocate that love to our BFFs (Best Furry Friends)? To mark National Dog Day on Aug. 26, LawnStarter sniffed out 2022’s Best Cities for Dog Lovers.
How does San Diego stack up?
San Diego’s Rank in Some Key Metrics (1st = Best)
- Share of Dog-Friendly Rental Properties – 93rd
- Number of Dog Meetups – 2nd
- Emergency Veterinary Clinics and Hospitals – 4th
- Number of Kennels – 16th
- Number of Dog-Friendly Accomodations – 1st
- Average Per-Visit Dog Sitter Rate (Income-Adjusted) – 30th
LawnStarter measured the puppy love in nearly 175 of the biggest U.S. cities based on 24 key indicators of dog-friendliness, such as housing, services, and care. LawnStarter also looked at pawlicy favorability, access to pup-welcoming businesses, and affordability.
Check out the leaders of the pack (and the runts of the litter) in the ranking below, followed by some highlights and lowlights.
Highlights and Lowlights
Good Dog, Bad Dog
Turns out dogs and cats can happily coexist — as long as they live in the right city. The Best and Worst Cities for Dog Lovers (Orlando, Florida, and Detroit, respectively) are also this year’s furrendliest and least friendly toward Cat Lovers.
Despite dog- and cat-specific factors making up each study, it’s clear The City Beautiful has a thriving service industry for both types of pets, while The D — sadly not an acronym for “dog-friendly” — is sorely lacking for either.
Orlando leads the pack in pet caretakers, boarding options, and pet stores. That’s expected of a city frequented by tourist families toting their four-legged relatives. Ironically, these families visit to meet Disney’s most famous dogs, Goofy and Pluto — and drop off their own with the sitters.
On the other paw, Detroit missed the mark across all categories, landing near the bottom of almost every indicator. While Motown has plenty to offer your visiting BFF, it’s perhaps not the best city for a furmanent address.
Last year’s No. 1 was Hollywoo(f), Florida, and in last place was New York. Orlando displaced 2021’s winner by significantly improving its dog-friendly housing and care stats. Detroit unseated the Big Apple due to dismal performance in new Affordability metrics.
The overwhelming majority of The top 50 cities for dog-friendly housing is located in the American South.
Texas has the edge, claiming four of the top 10 spots. Zooming in, Frisco is most generous with indoor space at an average of over 3,000 square feet, while Macon, Georgia, boasts the biggest yards, averaging nearly 20,000 square feet of roving room for Bailey.
If you’re not ready to buy a home, competition for pup-welcoming rentals will be minimal in Tampa, Florida.
Steer clear of cities like Honolulu, New York, Philadelphia, and Boston if you and your pooch are claustrophobic. San Francisco also counts among those to avoid for housing, which is ironic for a city with more dogs than children.
Who Let the Dogs Out?
When you have a furry best pal who loves your company, you want to do everything together — even shopping, eating out, traveling, and getting your hair done.
It’s easy to give your pooch the royal treatment in cities like Austin, Miami, and Seattle. Here, dogs are considered part of the population, so opportunities to kick it with your four-legged companion come aplenty. These cities spoil both pups and their parents with abundant dog-friendly restaurants, shopping centers, and hotels.
Don’t stray into Los Angeles suburbs, though. Let your dog out in the fringes of this metro, and Clifford might just run off to dog haven LA (No. 6 overall). Lancaster, San Bernardino, and Pomona, for example, make up a big chunk of the Businesses category’s worst end due to a lack of woof-worthy options.
Small-Dog Cities, Top-Dog Costs
Believe it or not, the most expensive cities to live in general are not the least affordable for dog ownership.
Washington, Seattle, and San Francisco, for example, are three of the spendiest U.S. cities yet rank 12th, 13th, and 14th, respectively, in the Affordability category. By contrast, Detroit, Cleveland, and Jackson, Mississippi, cities with far lower cost of living, number among the worst for Affordability.
Inflation feels like a tight financial collar around everyone’s neck right now but especially lower-income earners’ in cities like Detroit.
To be fair, the wealthiest families in cities like Seattle skew the local average income data, giving the illusion that more people can afford higher costs, including those for dog services. Even well-paid earners are turning to Walmart for cheaper supplies these days.
If your pup is constantly sick, you’d be in luck living in the Western half of the country.
In Las Vegas, Tucson, Arizona, and Fort Collins, Colorado, for example, canine health is top of mind. Each of these cities boasts the best access to dog health services, including vets, emergency animal hospitals, and general animal clinics.
If Spot is in good health, however, Miami and Santa Rosa, California, are ideal cities for your pup. These cities offer some of the most pet stores within easy reach for everyday needs, as well as plenty of vets and emergency animal hospitals.
Behind the Ranking
For each of the 200 biggest U.S. cities, LawnStarter gathered publicly available data on the factors listed in the table below.
LawnStarter then grouped those factors into six categories: Housing, Community, Care, Services, Businesses, and Affordability.
Next, LawnStarter calculated weighted scores for each city in each category.
Finally, LawnStarter averaged the scores for each city across all categories. LawnStarter eliminated 26 cities lacking sufficient data in a single category, resulting in a total sample size of 174 cities.
The city that earned the highest average score was ranked “Best” overall (No. 1), while the city with the lowest was ranked “Worst” overall (No. 174). (Note: The “Worst” among individual factors may not be 174 due to ties.)
National Dog Day in Tel A Viv
el Aviv will celebrate a special day for dogs, for the first time in Israel.
Tel Aviv is the friendiest city in the world for dogs, with 1 dog for every 17 residents, making it the city with the highest amount of dogs per capita in the world.
25,000 Tel Avivian dogs enjoy 70 public dog parks; 1.3 dog parks for every 1 square kilometer. Tel Aviv has also declared special beaches where dogs can roam freely.
The city-wide dog day will be celebrated at the Bnei Dan Dog Park with many attractions for the city’s 4-legged residents. Among the attractions are:
– A display of startups founded in Tel Aviv that serve dogs and their owners
– Unique products for doggie birthdays
– Sushi for dogs
– Dog Spa
And many more doggie-friendly “treats”.
The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality sets dogs’ welfare at high-priority:
– The city’s shelter is a no-kill shelter
– Homeless animals are treated 24/7 by the city’s vet services
– The city animal patrol checks complaints regarding animal abuse
– The Municipality continues to create activities for dogs, while last month a
special screening of the movie “The Secret Life of Pets” was displayed for
dogs and their owners.
Top Five Must Haves for National Dog Day
So…. If you follow me on social media, you will know that we got a puppy! After Jacob’s passing in June, the house just felt so empty and dogless. After 11 years of my best dog ever being my companion, it was time for us to celebrate him and apply all that he taught us to be a good pet parent again. Introducing my dearest puppy Cami! She has some big paws to fill and we love her to bits. Let’s Celebrate National Dog Day together.
For National Dog Day on Friday 8/26, Thumbtack released new data on how Americans love their dogs, based on 240,000 requests for pet services across the U.S. Thumbtack data on the most popular services for dog lovers shows that:
- 35% hire a dog sitter to visit 2-3 times a day.
- 40% request walks to be 30 minutes long.
- 24% of dog training focuses on behavior modification — teaching old dogs new tricks.
- 59% spend more than $50 to pamper their pooches with manicures, tooth care, and hair trimming.
- New Mexico is the No. 1 state in the U.S. where dog owners pamper their pets with services, followed by Rhode Island, Arizona, and Nevada.
Thumbtack offers a wide-range of pet services, including pet walking, grooming, sitting, boarding, training, photography, and even pet door installation.
Here are some fun pet items that you can celebrate National Dog Day with!
- the KYON Collar -KYON announced the launch of the KYON Pet Tracker, the first all-in-one pet collar that provides a unique opportunity for owners to communicate with their pets. The KYON collar comes equipped with embedded GPS technology and an LED display that makes communicating with pets easier than ever before. The collar works together with a user-friendly mobile application that enables owners to monitor, track, and receive information or alerts about their pets. You never have to wonder or worry about how your furry friend again.
2. The Petzi Camera –
Petzi Treat Cam is a device that seamlessly connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network and allows you to (‘see’) video, (‘speak’) audio, (‘snap’) take pictures and (‘treat’) dispense treats to their pets remotely using any internet enabled smart device.
Petzi Treat Cam is available for $169.99 online through Amazon, as well as Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, and PetCo. It’s sure to be a Barktastic device for the days when your fur baby is out of reach.
3. Kodak Pet Monitor – $99.99
Along with the app isecurityplus.com, this handy pet camera can be view on your cellphone, iPad and computer. It detects motion easily and night vision too. This came in especially handy since we are crate training Cami right now. With a puppy, they can never be left unattended. Pet parents, if you are anything like me, this cool little black camera will give you a peace of mind.
4. Petshoppe Treats – $2.99+
Training a puppy means you need treats! You don’t want to give them just anything that will fill them up. When I was at Superzoo, one professional trainer told me that the best treats do not stain, are compact, don’t crumble and won’t melt! The Walgreens new Petshoppe Pet Treat items made with quality ingredients from the Americas or Europe fit the bill for great training. Treats include Chicken Skins, Sweet Potato Slices, Pork Jerky, Crunchy Bites and more.
5. Playa Pup – Sunwear for dogs
When you live in Vegas, it is pretty much sunny everyday! This cooling mat from Playa Pup is an essential for inside and outside. It gets so hot here that often when we return from walks, Cami literally melts flat on to the kitchen tiles to cool off.
National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and Jenna Fernandes, CEO of CareBooker.com , the “Open Table” of family and pet care services, knows how important dogs are in the family. As a parent to her two dogs—a Min Pin named Scooby and Great Dane named Casper— Jenna offers 5 tips for adopting the right dog for any family (or even adding a second one!):
1) Make Sure You are Really Ready: Adopting a pet is not a decision that should be taken lightly. It’s important to realize that adoption is a commitment to taking care of the dog you choose for their entire life – through sickness and health, chewed shoes and “accidents” on the carpet. Only after you’ve decided that you can commit to being a lifelong (for the pets lifespan) pet parent, then you should continue on your quest to find the perfect furry mate.
2) Stay Open-minded: Make sure that the type of dog you think you want and the type of dog you really need are the same. Many people think adopting a puppy is ideal, however adopting a puppy can be a lot more work than adopting an older pet. Stay open-minded about which breeds will make an ideal companion and take into consideration other traits such as temperament, energy level, and health. If allergies are a concern in your family, you should also consider adopting a dog that does not shed or a dog with shorter hair.
3) Do Your Research: Petfinder is a great place to start your search for a new pet—I recommend starting with a local search so you can visit the shelter in person to communicate with the shelter staff/volunteers about what you really want in a pet. Take several of your favorite dogs for a walk and see how they behave outside the cage, providing them crucial time to normalize so you can get a better idea of their personality beyond the initial “I’m so excited to be outside my cage!” moment.
4) Consider Fostering First: If you’re not sure what type of dog you’re looking for, fostering is a great option. Not only does fostering pets save lives it’s also a great way to get to know a pet over a longer period of time than you would if you just visited the shelter. Many foster pets become “foster failures” after being adopted by the families who were originally only planning to provide them a temporary home.
5) Meet the Family: Before you adopt, make sure all the stakeholders in your life meet the pet you’re interested in making a permanent part of your family. This includes any other animals in your family such as dogs or cats who will be living with this new addition. Understand that there will be an adjustment period when the dog first moves in. After this, it’s time to make the adoption official and be on your way to a happy life with your new furry family member.