These Are the Most (and Least) Pet-Friendly Cities in the Country


As much as you may enjoy browsing pet adoption sites to coo over the cute pups and kittens in need of a home, pulling the trigger on actually becoming a pet parent isn't something to be taken lightly. It's no secret that a fur baby demands almost as much care and attention as an actual child and that can be a lot tougher to swing than you might think; particularly, if you live in a city. Truthfully, though, certain locales are better suited for animals and the people who love them, and now we have a better sense where they are, thanks to this new survey of the most (and least) pet-friendly cities in America.

To help figure out which metro hubs around the country are the most and least pet-friendly, the folks at personal finance site WalletHub looked at a bounty of data regarding everything from vet prices to average home square footage and outdoor space in major US cities, then crunched the numbers and ranked them accordingly. Specifically, they compared the 100 most populated cities across three dimensions (pet budget, pet health & wellness, and outdoor pet-friendliness) using 24 individual metrics including vet care costs, pet insurance costs, vets per capita, dog-friendly restaurants, weather, and dog parks per capita. 

This year, Scottsdale, Arizona earned the title of pet-friendliest city, with Orlando, Florida and Tampa, Florida following in second and third place, respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, Fresno, California came in dead last as the least-friendly city for pets, while Laredo, Texas and Buffalo, New York were found to be the second and third least friendly in the country, respectively. Here's how the ranking of the 20 most and least pet-friendly hubs turned out. 

The 20 most pet-friendly cities in America in 2019

20. Cincinnati, OH
19. Tucson, AZ
18. Sacramento, CA
17. Irvine, CA
16. Colorado Springs, CO
15. Raleigh, NC
14. Oklahoma City, OK
13. Birmingham, AL
12. Albuquerque, NM
11. San Diego, CA
10. Portland, OR
9. Seattle, WA
8. St. Louis, MO
7. Atlanta, CA
6. Las Vegas, NV
5. Phoenix, AZ
4. Austin, TX
3. Tampa, FL
2. Orlando, FL
1. Scottsdale, AZ

The 20 least pet-friendly cities in America in 2019

20. Reno, NV
19. Wichita, KS
18. Mesa, AZ
17. Baton Rouge, LA
16. Norfolk, VA
15. Charlotte, NC
14. Honolulu, HI
13. Baltimore, MD
12. San Bernardino, CA
11. Anchorage, AK
10. Detroit, MI
9. Aurora, CO
8. Nashville, TN
7. Newark, NJ
6. Santa Ana, CA
5. Chula Vista, CA
4. Milwaukee, WI
3. Buffalo, NY
2. Laredo, TX
1. Fresno, CA

Source: WalletHub

You'll notice that the bulk of the pet-friendliest places are scattered across the West Coast and Southwest, and that cities in the Northeast aren't even represented. Also, it's worth noting that many popular cities including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, and Miami didn't even crack the top 20 (though some earned high marks in certain categories like outdoor pet-friendliness). 

Still, even if you live in a place like Fresno or Buffalo. where having a four-legged companion is tougher than it would be elsewhere, how are you going to tell that to the adorable shelter mutt? Plus, you could always try and get a new job at a particularly pet-loving company

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.