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The Top 20 Dog-Friendly Cities

Looking for a change of scenery? A recent study by Rover and Zillow can point you in the right direction.

by Sean Zucker
June 15, 2022
Hayden Williams / Stocksy

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Living in any major city presents its own unique obstacles. LA has the traffic, New Yorkers face subway rats, and Chicagoans have to deal with living in Illinois. While these may deter some from the city life altogether, there’s one selling point that remains most crucial — what’s best for our pets. In fact, 72 percent of dog parents would move to better accommodate their pet’s needs according to a new study powered by a partnership between Rover and Zillow. The research examined the fastest growing dog-friendly cities in the US. Well, at least in terms of popularity. 

To gauge the cities with the speediest developing dog accommodations, the pair took Rover’s registered dog-owner accounts and cross-referenced them with Zillow page views of pet-friendly single-family home rental listings. Given the criteria, the joint analysis is less an investigation into the resources provided for pups and more a reflection of locales growing in favor with pet owners. That being said, the results were not without their insights or surprises. According to the study, the fastest-emerging dog-friendly cities are as follows: 

Top 20 Dog-friendly Cities

  1. Antioch, TN

  2. Baltimore, MD

  3. Alexandria, VA

  4. Fuquay Varina, NC

  5. Kansas City, KS

  6. Cumming, GA

  7. Bellevue, WA

  8. Fort Lauderdale, FL

  9. Palo Alto, CA

  10. Charleston, SC

  11. Lee’s Summit, MO

  12. Bentonville, AR

  13. Denver, CO

  14. Tuscaloosa, AL

  15. Philadelphia, PA

  16. Lewisville, TX

  17. Chicago, IL

  18. Rochester, MN

  19. Norman, OK

  20. Grand Rapids, MI

Digging Into the Data

There are a few notable revelations from this list. Overall, it reflects a post-pandemic trend of people fleeing from big-league metropolises like New York and LA and moving to more rural areas or smaller cities outside of the regions. There’s also evidence here that improving living conditions for pets is a nationwide desire. From the North West to the South East, dog-friendliness is on the rise. To see Fort Lauderdale rank in the top 10 on a list that isn’t counting alligator attacks or alcohol poisonings is a reason to celebrate.

How Cost of Living Factors In

Separately, the research team also surveyed users on their pet parenting lifestyles and spending habits. A resounding 87 percent of dog parents stated they’d spend more for a pet-friendly home. As someone who’s often stretched a couple boxes of pasta into a week’s worth of meals, while my pup continues to eat only the most gourmet tummy sensitive kibble — this is not exactly breaking news. But, as my credit limit will attest, the financial extent to which pet parents will go is noteworthy.

Thirty percent said they’d spend up to five percent more on a pet-friendly home. Twenty-four percent tapped out at 10 percent more, and 21 percent would go as far as 20 percent higher. However, 12 percent — the real ones — admitted there was no limit to ensuring a home welcoming to their pet, adding they’d spend any amount. Are these people better pet parents? Possibly — or perhaps they’ve just been through the oft-demoralizing process of trying to find a pet-friendly home

The Challenge of Finding a Pet-friendly Rental

Searching for a place that’ll allow your pup can be as physically exhausting as running a marathon and as mentally draining as living in Chicago. This is a sentiment evidenced in the survey, as even many pet-friendly rentals come with caveats. Sixty-seven percent of pet parents admitted to facing challenges with these listings thanks to breed and/or size restrictions or a limit on the number of pets allowed. In addition to that, 61 percent pointed toward expensive pet deposits or fees as a major obstacle. So as most of us wait for student loan forgiveness to afford the home our pets deserve, we can take solace in the fact that we’re not lingering alone.

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Sean Zucker

Sean Zucker

Sean Zucker is an editor at The Wildest whose work has also been featured in Points In Case, The Daily Drunk, Posty, and WellWell. He recently adopted a Pit Bull named Banshee whose work has been featured on the kitchen floor and behavioral issues rival his own.