Best Cities for Dog Lovers

May 23, 2016

Four-legged friends on the move: A look at the top cities for dog lovers

Who says dogs weren’t made for the big city? When you think of your loyal sidekick’s best day out, you probably picture open fields and wildlife to chase, without a fence in sight.

But numbers show more and more people are moving into the city, not out – a trend that doesn’t appear to be slowing anytime soon. Because almost 40 percent of families now include a dog, we’re looking at which cities fare best for Fido in your next move.

These top cities for dogs and dog lovers were selected by their walkability, available parks and pet-friendly activities. However, we know your pup’s not happy without a roof over his head, so we also looked at each city’s employment and economic outlook. When it comes to keeping both you and your dog happy, these 10 cities take the cake.

1. Portland, Oregon
Oregon has remained the No. 1 most dog-friendly city in America for years and for good reason. It boasts more than 40 parks and more than 100 businesses, restaurants and bars where dogs are welcome. Pets are greeted in the streets and in shops with smiles. It has tons of near-by hiking, swimming and biking for the outdoor enthusiast. To top it off, Portland continues to grow each year, offering a median salary that matches the national average, with a relatively low cost of living.

2. Austin, Texas
Austin is known for its booming tech industry, bringing in 12.5 percent population growth each year. Additionally, it’s extraordinarily low unemployment rate of 3.1 percent and a median income of $55,216 makes it a job-seeker’s market. The dog lover has few limitations on where he can go, with a vast majority of businesses, restaurants and bars opening their doors to pets. While its 20+ dog parks are no match for Portland, the city abounds with natural hiking and swimming areas, with even more state parks near by. Austin’s crystal-clear rivers beg any human or animal to jump in.

3. Denver, Colorado
Colorado can’t miss any pet-friendly list, with the bulk of its cities drawing down the length of the state by the Rockies. If you ever grow tired of Denver’s 15 dog parks or its many dog-themed events, most of Colorado’s state parks welcome well-behaved dogs on- or off-leash; that’s why this state makes a great destination for those traveling with pets. With its population growing at 10.6 percent each year and high standard of living, Denver also makes a great place for dog lovers to stay.

4. Houston, Texas
While Houston surpasses Denver in dog parks, it loses a few points due to slightly slower growth and notoriously terrible walkability. However, it’s economy is steadily growing, and though it’s median income falls slightly under the national average, Houston’s low cost of living more than makes up for it. In addition to Houston’s 20+ dog parks, hundreds of businesses and specialty shops cater to canines, and it’s common to see folks in all sorts of stores with their pets. Just a short drive away lie several beautiful state parks and natural areas where your dog can roam.

5. San Jose, California
We’ve deliberately left off some of the big West Coast cities most lists name, like San Francisco and Seattle. The cost of living in these cities has sky rocketed, frequently well above what it’s worth. However, San Jose doesn’t follow suit with the rest of Silicon Valley. It’s median income of $83,787 makes up for its outrageously high rent at $1,528. And the city offers just as much, if not more, for our furry friends, with its almost 15 parks and 50+ dog-friendly businesses.

6. Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville was recently named as one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Florida. And with it’s numerous near-by dog-friendly beaches, what pooch wouldn’t want to move there? The pet pampering doesn’t stop at the beach though. Jacksonville also offers an abundance of pet services such as specialized boutiques, spas and a competitive selection of veterinarians to choose from.

7. Asheville, North Carolina
No pet-lovers’ list would be complete without Asheville. This fun Southern city welcomes dogs left and right. They are a common occurrence at any of the city’s small brewpubs, as well as downtown in the shopping and antiques district. Many of the city’s cultural sites also embrace furry visitors; no dog would pass up an adventure at the Biltmore Mansion’s 8,000-acre estate. Asheville’s low median rent at $852 and steady, 5.4 percent growth rate make it a great place for pet owners who are new to the job market.

8. Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha, while once not as friendly to dog-accompanied store goers, is rapidly becoming one of the most pet-friendly cities in the Central states. Many downtown bars and coffee shops open their doors to pets and even keep dog bowls and treats on hand for furry visitors. The city stretches alongside the Missouri River where tons of parks lie. At only 3.5 percent unemployment, Omaha residents fare well in their economic climate, with a median income of $48,751 and a super affordable rent of $797.

9. Savannah, Georgia
While Savannah holds the lowest median income on our list at $36,628, it also has some of the lowest rent and cost of living. To put it in perspective, to achieve the same standard of living in San Jose, you would need to make at least $60,000 per year. It’s downtown area is constantly abound with things to do, and for its small size, it contains nearly 100 dog-friendly businesses, bars and restaurants. It’s port-front shops are frequent stops for dogs and their humans along any of the city’s numerous pet-friendly tours. In addition, natural hiking areas for your and your pup are less than a stone’s throw away from the city’s core.

10. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City is quickly becoming one of the most under-rated cities in America. It’s already low unemployment rate is soon to fall even lower, with its recent downtown revitalization and quickly growing arts district. More downtown walkability means more social activities for your and your pup. While its hiking terrain is mostly flat, the state of Oklahoma contains more miles of shoreline than the Atlantic and Gulf coasts combined. With more man-made lakes than any other state, Oklahoma offers endless summer-time activities for a water-loving pup.

Each city was assessed and ranked based on its available parks, natural areas, dog-friendly businesses and activities, unemployment rates, growth, income, rent prices, cost of living and walkability. To which dog-friendly cities would you consider relocating? Let us know on our Facebook page, and check out our relocation services for more information on your move.

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