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The 8 Most Pet-Friendly Cities in the US
A new study uses a variety of data points to determine which cities are most pet friendly. Where does your city rank?
Where you live can have a big impact on your quality of life, but it can also make a big difference in the life of your pet.
That issue is the subject of a new report from the consumer finance website, WalletHub.com, which just came out with its 2016 list of the most pet-friendly cities in the US.
The rankings were based on a variety of factors, including the cost of having a pet in a given city, the amenities available for pets, and the availability of pet healthcare. One of the key statistics in the latter category was the per capita prevalence of veterinarians. Orlando, FL, has the highest rate of veterinarians per capita; Newark, NJ, has the fewest.
The issue of pet-friendliness is more than just a curiosity; it’s also big business. As the pet industry has grown, many cities have made concerted efforts to improve their pet-friendliness.
Earlier this year, New York joined California as the two states with “Dining with Dogs” laws that relax health regulations to allow restaurants to be pet-friendly if they so choose.
Communities from Glendale, CA, to Sioux Falls, SD, to Valdosta, GA, have launched initiatives to boost the number of pet waste disposal stations in their cities.
Those changes could also have an effect on tourism. A 2010 survey by PetRelocation.com, found that 60% of pet owners travel with their pets. A Travel Industry Association of America survey found that 29.1 million Americans had traveled with a pet in 2009.
So, which cities are best positioned for pet owners and tourist with pets in tow?
What follows are the eight most pet-friendly cities in the US, according to WalletHub’s study. Along with each city, we’re including the city’s rank in two of the broad categories WalletHub considered — “Pet Health & Wellness” and “Outdoor Pet-Friendliness.” In all cases, “1” is the highest rank and “100” is the lowest rank.
Click through to the end for an interactive map to see where your city ranks.
8. Cincinnati, OH
Pet Health and Wellness Rank: 12
Outdoor Pet-Friendliness Rank: 30
Cincinnati stands out for having the second-highest rate of veterinarians per capita, according to WalletHub’s data. The city is also tied for having the most pet-related businesses per capita.
7. Colorado Springs, CO
Pet Health and Wellness Rank: 19
Outdoor Pet-Friendliness Rank: 2
Sure, the city has dog parks and a high number of veterinarians, but pets who live in Colorado Springs can also enjoy many of the region’s top tourist attractions. Pets are welcome at Garden of the Gods, Seven Falls, and Pike’s Peak. Many museums also allow pets inside.
6. Reno, NV
Pet Health and Wellness Rank: 4
Outdoor Pet-Friendliness Rank: 41
A number of the city’s restaurants allow pets in their outdoor dining and patio areas, according to Reno.com. This is the second-straight year Reno has made WalletHub’s pet friendly list. Last year, Reno came in eighth.
5. Scottsdale, AZ
Pet Health and Wellness Rank: 1
Outdoor Pet-Friendliness Rank: 20
Scottsdale is the healthiest city for pets, according to WalletHub. It’s also one of the cities tied for most pet-related businesses per capita. The only down side: it’s got some of the highest pet insurance premiums of any city on the list.
4. Lexington-Fayette, KY
Pet Health and Wellness Rank: 3
Outdoor Pet-Friendliness Rank: 64
The Lexington metropolitan area has the most pet caretakers per capita and the third-most veterinarians per capita, according to WalletHub’s research. The city was also 14th in terms of the percentage of hotels that are pet-friendly.
3. Tampa, FL
Pet Health and Wellness Rank: 8
Outdoor Pet-Friendliness Rank: 4
Tampa ties for the most dog parks per capita, meaning your pet can enjoy the sunshine just as much as you do. In nearby St. Petersburg, one dog park comes combined with its own bar, where human guests can enjoy beer, wine, and spirits while their dogs play.
2. Birmingham, AL
Pet Health and Wellness Rank: 7
Outdoor Pet-Friendliness Rank: 26
Birmingham has the fourth-most veterinarians per capita, helping it to earn a high “health and wellness” rank. The city also has a large number of places for dogs to spend time exploring, according to BringFido.com, including dog parks, nature centers, and trails that welcome pets.
1. Orlando, FL
Pet Health and Wellness Rank: 2
Outdoor Pet-Friendliness Rank: 28
Sunny Orlando tops WalletHub’s list. The city has high ranks in a number of categories. It has the third-most animal shelters of any city, on a per-capita basis. It also has the fourth-most pet-themed businesses and the fifth-most pet-friendly restaurants.
See below for an interactive map of pet-friendly cities. To view WalletHub’s complete list, click here.
Photo Credits: Top image - John Larsson/Creative Commons License 2.0; Colorado Springs image - Bob Hall/Creative Commons License 2.0; Reno - Davidlohr Bueso/Creative Commons License 2.0; Lexington - Chris McFarland/Creative Commons License 2.0; Birmingham - Mark Floyd/Creative Commons License 2.0.
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