2022’s Best Cities for Dog Lovers

Couple sitting on their bed with their dog between them, all smiling for a photo

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. 

We 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. We 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 our ranking below, followed by some highlights and lowlights.


  1. City Rankings
  2. Highlights and Lowlights
  3. Surprising Findings
  4. Behind the Ranking
  5. Final Thoughts: How to Give Back to Your Pup

City Rankings

See how each city fared in our ranking:

Overall Rank (1=Best)CityOverall ScoreHousing RankCommunity RankCare RankServices RankBusinesses RankAffordability Rank
1Orlando, FL53.90812601311665
2Miami, FL51.2099133133113
3Las Vegas, NV50.34115211323086
4San Diego, CA49.17511932236539
5Austin, TX48.5526157827132
6Los Angeles, CA46.997147129863283
7Tampa, FL46.88517294372034
8Seattle, WA46.3868466238413
9Fort Collins, CO46.1095358456542
10Portland, OR45.45282836182940
11Colorado Springs, CO45.233413012104664
12Denver, CO44.85567179322236
13Fort Lauderdale, FL44.814996274627
14Tucson, AZ44.2175222111123160
15Knoxville, TN43.7315878659158
16Alexandria, VA43.62444482626117
17Chicago, IL43.55312743957943
18New York, NY43.163173252711078
19Scottsdale, AZ42.28514321353129
20Atlanta, GA42.174315763161420
21Tallahassee, FL41.5972210010124893
22Nashville, TN41.30438101061181349
23Lexington, KY40.529264551238341
24San Francisco, CA40.459171523741814
25Salt Lake City, UT40.441613732238435
26Birmingham, AL40.3641310322464168
27Phoenix, AZ40.173114991451594
28Cincinnati, OH39.4855962161742121
29Houston, TX39.08625580141768
30Minneapolis, MN37.772832096652650
31Rochester, NY37.65871874873172
32Pittsburgh, PA37.5614513414637117
33Grand Rapids, MI37.43943376286134
34Raleigh, NC37.349307274633922
35Escondido, CA37.26315515875127101
36Virginia Beach, VA37.218807117515224
37Sacramento, CA37.1539728543457125
38Indianapolis, IN37.051436175617114
39Springfield, MO37.0344810225872155
40Greensboro, NC36.70927105422111189
41Reno, NV36.58310770153012167
42Baton Rouge, LA36.409851072496396
43Spokane, WA36.40110264202940123
44Louisville, KY36.0927449487624102
45Cary, NC35.6133410147128692
46Eugene, OR35.56412054282070138
47Arlington, VA35.3856623158157285
48Huntington Beach, CA35.2881642545724517
49Riverside, CA35.25278269550151109
50Tempe, AZ35.15110347931965141
51Charlotte, NC34.86135112109402729
52Hollywood, FL34.7651428834133590
53Chattanooga, TN34.5820128194955131
54Oakland, CA34.52516571191077747
55Santa Rosa, CA34.469130816569687
56Vancouver, WA34.448551147215100112
57Madison, WI34.4448665441043146
58Albuquerque, NM34.35810139678251103
59San Jose, CA34.32716216821244318
60Clarksville, TN34.186141365925140118
61Boise City, ID34.07994698667444
62McKinney, TX33.989114111811910310
63Durham, NC33.827289953988952
64Overland Park, KS33.784214970138816
65Huntsville, AL33.68510127616712256
66Washington, DC33.5121253599144812
67Lincoln, NE33.4416898337710645
68Frisco, TX33.07131471101221171
69San Antonio, TX33.05546119853334136
70Jacksonville, FL32.9798157564167104
71Boston, MA32.875166141341372130
72Tacoma, WA32.8436994923711485
73Gilbert, AZ32.698948066888815
74Bakersfield, CA32.60714652504785119
75Long Beach, CA32.616824684338120
76Salem, OR32.588951114628109110
77Plano, TX32.5814151116100874
78Corona, CA31.99110475905513255
79Dallas, TX31.9611913786853677
80Henderson, NV31.661148531393912431
81Fremont, CA31.65914142811611358
82Chandler, AZ31.387136561277310419
83Providence, RI31.002118321647933137
84Tulsa, OK30.9955016221539170
85Mesa, AZ30.8493681247078115
86Philadelphia, PA30.821721213111612133
87Glendale, AZ30.81760741456092147
88Peoria, AZ30.7681911325814251
89Oceanside, CA30.75112889135226288
90St. Petersburg, FL30.74864951031144792
91Irvine, CA30.72316731128949411
92Wichita, KS30.68511165409213091
93Chula Vista, CA30.6071164415411113828
94Modesto, CA30.46513897494212697
95Jersey City, NJ30.404161191661345323
96Mobile, AL30.355331501484101156
97Kansas City, MO30.316241251049558105
98Little Rock, AR30.27123159571094962
99Santa Clarita, CA30.225479011416815216
100Chesapeake, VA30.138761048913213725
101Anaheim, CA30.088133401301419853
102Buffalo, NY29.93815641379076167
103Augusta, GA29.82458938887118151
104Sioux Falls, SD29.8052913311310510254
105Anchorage, AK29.6051171135110214626
106Winston-Salem, NC29.59891151621515684
107El Paso, TX29.578757613311793116
108Norfolk, VA29.493144501268082126
109Elk Grove, CA29.344901206913614721
110Lakewood, CO29.314571463111211972
111Omaha, NE29.3047214555787158
112Fort Worth, TX29.30318161117815061
113Amarillo, TX29.2135416060649982
114Aurora, CO29.107561231089314581
115Corpus Christi, TX28.996121106142524469
116Glendale, CA28.971353614414912863
117St. Louis, MO28.952797812014041145
118Fayetteville, NC28.922511646435131146
119Oklahoma City, OK28.862251531051036148
120Salinas, CA28.8551097765143158106
121Des Moines, IA28.2347710877131113135
122Sunnyvale, CA28.2115567125166903
123Santa Ana, CA28.1081323815115512099
124Lubbock, TX28.0711514076546056
125Fresno, CA27.95112959102106112152
126Arlington, TX27.715211561221209580
127Worcester, MA27.69111034165129141157
128Newport News, VA27.54701309712114875
129Akron, OH27.472111849489150153
130Pembroke Pines, FL27.3293214411513911076
131Baltimore, MD27.262140927313068142
132Irving, TX27.1771614315015311538
133Columbus, OH26.979731321298375140
134Honolulu, HI26.91817466301015459
135Fort Wayne, IN26.831651527196125108
136Rancho Cucamonga, CA26.71212311812311011637
137New Orleans, LA26.471261241079125139
138Oxnard, CA26.4141348215610810779
139Aurora, IL26.26312215216713433
140Macon, GA25.8457174136113159122
141Hayward, CA25.6041228614615216271
142Stockton, CA25.3521538379156149132
143Cape Coral, FL25.2971501631124419107
144Yonkers, NY25.27516927160154144129
145Palmdale, CA25.1988813815369168143
146Lancaster, CA25.13910812114168173154
147Shreveport, LA25.0674215884127155159
148Pasadena, TX24.8519213414015016460
149Cleveland, OH24.807139791019997171
150Montgomery, AL24.53510017018145139128
151Garden Grove, CA24.52715769138163165111
152Killeen, TX24.2089615514959160127
153Garland, TX24.0964016915713510566
154Hialeah, FL24.06411211083146133166
155St. Paul, MN23.74710673148172108165
156Memphis, TN23.6468913912112579162
157Moreno Valley, CA23.48105131168115166100
158Columbus, GA23.263981718797143124
159Ontario, CA23.13215810914714215398
160Fontana, CA22.81213711615915917173
161Grand Prairie, TX22.4333616616716215695
162Springfield, MA22.02316363161147174163
163Toledo, OH21.71124129100148161164
164Port St. Lucie, FL21.4784517215517412974
165Milwaukee, WI21.39114914213712680150
166North Las Vegas, NV21.279113117171160163149
167Kansas City, KS20.11237167163164123169
168San Bernardino, CA20.027131126143165172161
169Jackson, MS19.8871173111133157170
170Pomona, CA19.706154135172158169130
171Newark, NJ17.05615985174169154174
172Brownsville, TX16.821151154170170167148
173Laredo, TX14.468160168173173170144
174Detroit, MI11.959170148169171136173
Infographic showing the Best Cities for Dog Lovers, a ranking based on dog-friendly housing, businesses, services, events, and more

Highlights and Lowlights

Good Dog, Bad Dog

Turns out dogs and cats can happily coexist — as long as they live in the right city. Our 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.

Homeward (South)bound

The overwhelming majority of our 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.

Surprising Findings

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.

Western Medicine

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, we gathered publicly available data on the factors listed in the table below. 

We then grouped those factors into six categories: Housing, Community, Care, Services, Businesses, and Affordability.

Next, we calculated weighted scores for each city in each category. 

Finally, we averaged the scores for each city across all categories. We 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.)

MetricWeightingMin. ValueMax. ValueBest
Average Home Square Footage28503,083Max. Value
Share of Dog-Friendly Rental Properties47%94%Max. Value
Average Yard Square Footage377619,855Max. Value
Dog Walking-Friendliness41174Min. Value
Number of Dog Events206Max. Value
Number of Dog Meetups2075Max. Value
Number of Animal Shelters3099Max. Value
Dog-Friendly Laws2213Max. Value
Pet Stores per Square Mile20.013.14Max. Value
Veterinarians per 100,000 Residents30.7158.14Max. Value
Number of Emergency Veterinary Clinics and Hospitals2020Max. Value
Number of Animal Hospitals1031Max. Value
Pet Trainers per 100,000 Residents10.3517.06Max. Value
Dog Sitters per 100,000 Residents23.92223.3Max. Value
Pet Groomers per 100,000 Residents21.1655.47Max. Value
Dog Boarding Options per 100,000 Residents20.9849.15Max. Value
Number of Kennels21172Max. Value
Number of Dog-Friendly Accomodations13886Max. Value
Dog-Friendly Restaurants per Square Mile10.016.83Max. Value
Number of Dog-Friendly Shopping Centers1028Max. Value
Average Dog Insurance Premium (Income-Adjusted)10.32%1.31%Min. Value
Average Per-Visit Dog Sitter Rate (Income-Adjusted)10.48%1.64%Min. Value
Average Hourly Pet Groomer Rate (Income-Adjusted)10.45%1.92%Min. Value
Average Hourly Dog Trainer Rate (Income-Adjusted)10.42%2.07%Min. Value

Sources: American Animal Hospital Association, Animal Legal & Historical Center, BringFido, Emergency Vets USA, Homes.com, Meetup, other LawnStarter studies, Pawlicy.com, PetSitter.com, Petswelcome.com, Realtor.com, Sittercity, TripAdvisor, VCA Hospitals, Yellow Pages, and Yelp

Final Thoughts: How to Give Back to Your Pup

Dogs love attention, and they earn it. This Aug. 26, the spotlight turns to our furry friends: National Dog Day recognizes the number of dogs that need to be rescued, as well as dogs’ many contributions to our lives.

One way to give back to our canine companions is to treat them to a clean, safe green space. Yards are invaluable to dogs: It gives them a chance to exercise, keeps them safe, and provides a place to do their business.

That’s why it’s important to understand how your dog uses your lawn and to create a dog-friendly landscape. Keeping your pup healthy minimizes their stress and maximizes the fun you can have together.

Hire a local LawnStarter pro to help you take care of the maintenance so you can spend more quality time with Rex or Bella.

Main Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Staff Writer