Let me tell you the characteristics of my best friend. He’s about medium build, has brown hair, begs for food, and likes walks (on all fours) and getting pet. If you haven’t guessed already, it’s my 45-pound fur-ball mutt named Trooper. I love my dog, and according to recent studies, I’m not alone.
According to The Humane Society of the United States, nearly 43.3 million households own at least one dog and about 70 percent of those owners consider their pets to be family members. And, like myself, most owners want the best for our pooch — which typically means a day of running, sniffing, catching and other types of mundane activities that make us owners go “aw.”
A study published in February by the Huffington Post lists the nation’s top dog-friendly cities. The findings were based on a host of factors from number of dog parks to days of precipitation in America’s 100 largest cities.
In the entertainment capital, “lucky dog” takes on a different meaning for its locals. Dogs occupy more than 6 out of 10 households in Las Vegas. And, for those looking to lap up a weekend of luxury, the city boasts jaw-dropping pooch-friendly boarding and daycare facilities. The Luxe Pet Hotels, feature amenities including indoor obstacle course, an outdoor pool cabana area, king-sized memory foam beds, and even a spa and gym. For every casino you’re likely to find a dog park around the corner. Las Vegas ranked fifth for number of dog parks in the study. Not to mention this city’s bright lights shine both day and night. With less than 15 days of precipitation per year, the only hair of the dog you should worry about won’t be the smell of a wet one.
The snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains aren’t the only “top dog” attractions of Colorado’s capital city. Denver holds top scores when it comes to the city’s dog-friendly accommodations. The summer months offer ideal weather for walks on one of its many dog-friendly trails. They city’s lax leash-free laws for your well-trained pup allow for new adventure opportunities. Drop by one of the mile high city’s dog parks such as the Watering Bowl, which sports the moniker “your best friend’s bar”. This private park sports 7,000 square feet of fully-fenced off space for your dog to romp while you enjoy an adult beverage or two.
San Diego is a paradise for pets. With nearly 200 pet-friendly restaurants, there’s no shortage of dog-friendly places to find some serious plate-licking fare. And, what the city lacks in more mediocre scores for dog parks, walkability and housing prices, it makes up for in its seven friendly-shopping areas. Its dog-friendly beaches also offer plenty of off-leash opportunities for a game of Frisbee or even doggie paddle boarding. The city offers unique opportunities for your social animal to get to know the locals with events including the annual Unleashed Surf Dog competition.
The “dog days” of summer is a time to celebrate if you’re in the Duke City. You and your four-legged friend will have plenty to enjoy in Albuquerque thanks to its number of dog-friendly outdoor activities. Ranked 11th overall in dog parks, New Mexico’s biggest city sports 13 of these in and surrounding its limits. With an average rainfall of 28 days a year, there’s plenty of time to enjoy porch dining at one of the city’s various eateries. And, with over 30 pet-friendly lodgings it’s no wonder Albuquerque holds the title as one of America’s most pet-friendly cities for travelers.
California’s capital city offers a wide spans — 32 miles to be exact — of activities to do with your furry friend. American River Parkway, a greenbelt of multi-trails connecting Old Sacramento historic district to Old Town Folsom, offer plenty of access points and plenty of ways for you and your pup to spend the day exploring. If you’re from out of town and are wanting a good spot to rest, check into the Red Lion Woodlake. This hotel sits on a 19-acre campus and allows for plenty of room for walking or playing. A moderate climate allows for perfect outdoor dining at one of the numerous dog-friendly restaurants about nine months out of the year. Some of the local favorites include The Shack, a bare-bones, family-friendly sandwich, breakfast, and brunch spot.
When it comes to the windy city, most locals know a thing or two about a “Chicago dog”. What out-of-towners might not know is that this doesn’t just refer to a specific sausage. Chi-town keeps its top rank when it comes to its four-legged companions with 23 dog-friendly areas and 60-plus eateries. And, what this city lacks in sunny weather it makes up for in walkability. So, your parka, a leash for your four-legged companion and enjoy an outdoor adventure, such as the pet-friendly architectural history cruise.
You don’t have to do a lot of digging to figure out why the Twin Cities is for the dogs. The city is known for its various dedicated off-leash parks. Located in and around the city, you’ll have a chance for you and your pup to explore and socialize. Local businesses don’t discriminate when it comes to catering to shoppers who walk on all fours. Dogs are welcome in numerous shops and restaurants in the metro area. Stop by Stanley’s Northeast Bar Room which offers a canine-dedicated menu. Some of the menu items include bones, meatloaf, an egg-and-rice bowl, and ice cream for dessert. And, even in the colder months the hundreds of bike and hike trails grant plenty of reasons to grab a coat and get to exploring.
Tucson is a place that recognizes the importance of living a dog’s life. The city has on average only 23 days of precipitation a year. This means it’s easy to find good weather to hit one of the many dog-friendly hiking trails. The Rillito River Park Trail provides serene desert scenery and the perfect spot for morning and evening jogging. Or, cool off while learning about the state of Arizona at one of its pooch-friendly attractions. Stop and sniff the roses at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, a dog-friendly urban oasis. Or, a quick walk down the street will almost guarantee spotting numerous dog-friendly restaurants.