Top-10 North American Cities for Dog Owners in 2020

TOP-10 North American cities for dog owners infographic
Written by Mark Braeden

Having a vacation, staying in your friends or relatives, or moving permanently in a city will not let your dog be left in the middle of nowhere. We have completed huge research and compiled information regarding the best North American cities for dogs owners. My team and I (Mark Braeden) researched over 300 North American cities. The criteria for our grading was:

  • a number of dog parks or parks that generally allow leashed or unleashed pets to go out and play per capita (max score 100)
  • dog beaches or beaches that allow leashed or unleashed dogs per capita (max score 100)
  • a number of active veterinary service in the city, including cities that have 24-hour pet service available (max score 100)
  • dog-friendly activities such as hiking (max score 100)
  • a number of dog-friendly restaurants that allow pets to come in (max score 100)
  • a general climate of the city

As a result, we calculated the dog-friendliness score (DFS) for each city. This will help you to assess what dogs can get and how will pet parents see what is there on each city’s dog parks, beaches and veterinary services.

TOP-10 North American cities for dog owners infographic

1. Denver, Colorado

 

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What makes Denver a good place for you and your furry companion is you can exercise and hike on mountain trails on a lively sunny climate. There are 12 official dog parks in this city.

Before entering the dog-friendly parks, your pet dog must have a rabies vaccination certificate and dog license. Both Unlighted and lighted dog parks are open every day including weekends. When it comes to off-leash areas, only Railyard Dog Park has lighting. Other off-leash dog parks may be indirectly lit by streetlights or athletic fields. Denver resident dog owners must have a valid Denver Intact Permit or must have their dogs neutered or spayed.

If you are bored and have small pooches, Berkeley Lake Dog Park is a place to go. It has a separate fenced area for under 25 lb. dogs. Just bring water and enjoy the lively environment as you will hear the amusement park crowd and roller coaster noises.

There are many dog-friendly beaches and parks there. For parks where dogs can swim, Chatfield State Park, a fully fenced place, is a must-visit and there are more than 25 miles of hiking trails on the dog-leashed area. After that, you can hang out and rest on dog-friendly patios and have a coffee or beer drink. Just don’t let yourself become drunk.

The CVMA (Colorado Veterinary Medical Association) gives updates and is posting articles about beating the COVID-19 summer heat and how to do contactless payments. There are several 24-hour veterinary services available via animal hospitals. When you need in-home hospice and 24-hour animal care, Caring Pathways is a good place to go for animal comfort and peaceful euthanasia.

There are pet-friendly hotels that serve specific food for four-legged furry pets of all shapes and sizes. They can place a dog bed in your room and you can treat your cute companion in a dog spa. It is good that there are over 200 pooch-friendly restaurants in Denver and because of this, you can choose where to eat according to your budget and preferred menu.

  • Dog parks: 92.21
  • Dog beaches: 88.19
  • Health Services for dogs: 82.33
  • Activities for dogs: 90.17
  • Dog-Friendly restaurants: 64.2
  • Climate: 4.6/5 stars

The total dog-friendliness score (DFS) for Denver, Colorado: 83.38

2. Atlanta, Georgia

 

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All 400+ parks in the city and nearby can be visited by everyone including your pooch but you have to remember to keep your dog on a leash before entering a park.

There are 6 official off-leash dog parks in Atlanta: Piedmont Park, South Bend, Renaissance Park, Walker Park, Freedom Barkway and Kirkwood Dog Park.

For dog and animal zoo safety, there are certain areas in the park where you and your dog can have a walk.

It is easy to find dog beaches but if you want the best, there are many best dog beaches lists. If you and your strong four-legged friend love hiking and waterfalls, Panther Creek Falls has it. Although, it will be better if the park has an off-leash area for dogs.

Like vet clinics and hospitals, there is an abundance of mobile veterinary services in the city. For dog-friendly patios, Publico Atlanta serves a VIP (Very Important Puppy) menu containing freshly made treats. Best of all, all the sales made from the VIP menu will go to the Atlanta Humane Society meaning Publico Atlanta is serving the doggie treats for a cause. For French cuisine like with Julia Child, Atmosphere is a sophisticated resto and has a pet-friendly patio.

  • Dog parks: 90.27
  • Dog beaches: 85.5
  • Health Services for dogs: 85.3
  • Activities for dogs: 86.12
  • Dog-Friendly restaurants: 62.2
  • Climate: 4.5/5 stars

The total DFS for Atlanta, Georgia: 81.86

3. Los Angeles, CA

 

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Who knows, you can meet celebrities while they are walking their dog on the park or on the streets. This is the best place when you want to see pets of celebrities. Since LA is a famous place where a higher chance of seeing celebrities is big, you can get a view of the Hollywood sign on the Lake Hollywood Park. Remember that it is an on-leash park and if you are caught with your dog off-leashed, there is a fine and maybe, an additional 15 seconds of fame in an embarrassing way. For dog safety, Laurel Canyon Dog Park has the largest fenced-in play space in the city.

Some LA dog parks are posting volunteer opportunities online and people who wanted to make a difference on dogs by volunteering will receive volunteer credit hours.

Rosie’s Dog Beach and Granada beach are welcoming off-leash dog visitors. They are free to run and play along the shores.  There are pet amenities available.  Because of these, you do not have to worry much about your pooch while playing beach volleyball or having a tan.

As expected, there are normal to fancy pet wellness clinics. When you have a stay at your relative’s house in LA and your pet gets sick, no worries about having to spend much on veterinarian clinics since there are still small clinics and animal hospitals there.

There are several canyon trails where you can bring your four-legged family member with you. At Solstice Canyon, aside from viewing the ocean, you can let your leashed dog play on the water. Also great for non-hiker pet owners. You can get a view of the Hollywood sign at Runyon Canyon, one of the most popular trail parks, and it has an off-leash area while on the adjoining Trebek Open Space, you and your pet can have a rest there if you prefer a less crowded place.

The Fat Dog gastropub has a large airy patio and is near a pet store. Dogs will enjoy their time on Pub at Golden Road’s “Doggy Deck” because of the grass, dog beds and yummy dog treats. When you decide to read books or continue your laptop work on a café but cannot leave your dog at home, The Hart and The Hunter has a patio where dogs can rest and hang out. Alcove Café & Bakery has a large patio where your dog can play freely.

  • Dog parks: 90.41
  • Dog beaches: 80.55
  • Health Services for dogs: 86.31
  • Activities for dogs: 87.19
  • Dog-Friendly restaurants: 60.2
  • Climate: 4.2/5 stars

The total DFS for Los Angeles, CA: 80.9

4. Seattle, WA

 

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Usually, your dog must be on-leash at all times except of course on 14 off-leash dog parks. What is great about Seattle is they provide a map of dog off-leash areas on their government website. Each park has description and will tell where to let your dog stay leash-free and can interact with fellow canine beings. There is even a convenient online form where you can report an off-leash dog you see in parks, beaches and play-areas. When it comes to beaches, Magnuson Park is the most frequently mentioned because dogs are not really allowed on public beaches and this park is the only dog park in Seattle where your cute companion can play on water. Its off-leash area is the biggest fully fenced backyard for dogs.

When you have a large budget and wanted to pamper and check your pooch’s health, animal hospitals like Greenwood Animal Hospital offer parasite prevention and Microchip ID to track your pet when lost. State of the art care every day. 24/7 veterinary hospitals and specialty centers are easy to find whether you are in the northern or southern part of the city.

A casual drink sitting on a sofa with your friends and furry friend is possible when you dine in Norm’s Eatery & Ale House. Your dog will munch on cheese donuts while you are seeing the dog-themed wall art and décor. For well-behaved man’s best friend, you and your pet can both sit on one sofa indoors in The Leary Traveler. For inexpensive espresso and pooch latte, Bark Espresso is the place to go.

  • Dog parks: 73.41
  • Dog beaches: 91.51
  • Health Services for dogs: 86.3
  • Activities for dogs: 89.12
  • Dog-Friendly restaurants: 64
  • Climate: 4.2/5 stars

The total DFS for Seattle, WA: 80.9

5. New Orleans, Louisiana

 

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NOLA City Bark dubbed as “The Best Dog Park in New Orleans”, is a 4.6-acre landscape that has a walking trail and fountains for both humans and small four legged guests. On-site restrooms and separate play areas for small and big pooches are what makes your walk and exercise more comfortable. You can let the dogs out and roam free in Wisner Dog Run Park without the fear of receiving a ticket from officers.  Vaccination, spayed or neutered permit is required before access. The Levee Dog Park allows dogs to swim and be off-leashed. Most nearby waters that allow dogs are lakes and swamps. Waveland Beach also welcomes man’s best friend. Dogs and pups can take splashes on shores. There are many on-leash trails in New Orleans while for off-leash, it is very rare like Wisner Dog Run Park.

Barkus Parade is the only parade dedicated to New Orlean’s dog kind. You can see dogs and pet owners in costumes. Aside from beads, treats are being tossed for dogs watching the parade.

The most well-known veterinary clinic is the NOLA Animal Clinic which is open from Mondays to Saturdays. If looking for the best veterinary services, Expertise.com created a list and ranked the Top 16 out of 92 veterinary services and many of these are located in New Orleans.

“Avenue Animal Wellness + Emergency” located in Charles Avenue and “So Much Attention Pet Services”  are 24/7 pet hospitals while other pet vet services are located near New Orleans and can still serve you and your beloved pet.

There are plenty cafes and restos that are dog-friendly. Red Dog Diner is a good place for dog dates. Comfort food made from scratch. They serve cocktails and ordinary beverages. For spacious outdoor patio space with hotdogs, sausages and water bowls, “Dat Dog’ is a place to eat.

  • Dog parks: 92.4
  • Dog beaches: 85.5
  • Health Services for dogs: 66.3
  • Activities for dogs: 85.1
  • Dog-Friendly restaurants: 65.5
  • Climate: 4.3/5 stars

Total DFS for New Orleans, Louisiana: 78.96

6. Boston, MA

 

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According to the Boston Magazine about off-leash dog parks, Peters Park is the city’s first sanctioned park where pups are free to roam, jump, run and play without having to always stay with their pet parents.  If you have a tiny pooch, South Boston Bark Park has a separate section for your smaller dogs to play. Since it is near Carson Beach, there are plenty of shade for pet owners and their dogs to stay in a hot summer climate. Fresh Pond Reservation Dog Park lets your dog have dip and a cool swim in the pond. There are an abundant of trails and forests where you and your dog can have an adventure. Mt. Everett State Forest lets your dog have an adventure with you without having a leash, but it is recommended for your dog to be on leash when climbing rocks.

While the world is experiencing COVID-19, Animal Rescue League of Boston offers telemedicine to pet lover clients where they would not risk getting a virus for just having a simple consultation. There are many 24/7 pet hospitals and emergency care but what makes Boston special is they have the Last Hope K9 Rescue, a 100% non-profit refuge and care, for abandoned and rescued dogs. They do not discriminate based on breed.

Bar Boulud is a bistro where you and your pet can have a drink on a terrace and enjoy the city’s sights and sounds. Want to visit a tourist spot and have a presidential pizza? Former President Obama ate before at “Area Four’, a pizza place with a dog-friendly deck.

  • Dog parks: 92.4
  • Dog beaches: 88.5
  • Health Services for dogs: 81.3
  • Activities for dogs: 89.1
  • Dog-Friendly restaurants: 35.5
  • Climate: 4/5 stars

The total DFS for Boston, MA: 77.36

7. Montreal, Quebec

 

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A friendly country with nice and beautiful cities, cold weather and snowy areas, it is no wonder that Canada has the best cities for dogs. There are plenty of lakes and dog parks where they allow dogs without leash. There are more than 8 dog parks in Montreal that have off-leash areas. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, dog parks in Montreal are open. The parks are big, and they allow off-leash dogs because there are plenty of room for pet owners and they can still practice distancing even there are 100 people in the area.

With the cold climate, you can find views of mountains and lakes on a hike. Parc du Domaine Vert allows off-leash dogs in their corridor. Bois de Belle-Riviere have shaded areas and grassy areas where your dog can be off-leash, while during a hike, your dog must be on-leash.

On a picturesque lake called Parc à chien Massawippi, your four-legged companion can swim and play off leash in grassy areas where you can have a picnic and can play frisbee with your dog.

Centre Veterinaire is a known 24/7 veterinary emergency service. They are bilingual too because just like in other places in Canada, they speak mostly English and French. Montreal will never run out of dog-friendly breweries and cafés. If you want fresh ingredients, Ono Pokii, a Hawaiian restaurant, lets you eat very fresh healthy food with your dog on a terrace.

  • Dog parks: 86.2
  • Dog beaches: 87.9
  • Health Services for dogs: 85.1
  • Activities for dogs: 75.1
  • Dog-Friendly restaurants: 52.1
  • Climate: 3.9/5 stars

The total DFS for Montreal, Quebec: 77.28

8. Virginia Beach, Virginia

 

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Among many parks in and near Virginia Beach, only a few are allowing dogs off leash. These are Deep Creek Dog Park, Ghent Dog Park, Redwing Metro Park, Bayville Farms Park and Woodstock Community Park. They require Virginia Beach dog park pass before access. Pleasure House Point is having dogs off-leash while going on beach and trails. Running on the sand with your dog viewing the sun is one of the best moments to capture on cam and you can do this on Virginia Beach Oceanfront. For pups and small dogs, First Landing State Park is a nature trip and they will not fear non-wavy waters. See historical monuments and hike on trails in Elizabeth River Trail.

Despite Virginia Beach being a tourist spot, you can find affordable veterinary services there. Virginia Beach Veterinary Hospital might be the place’s flagship animal hospital but don’t worry if VB Veterinary Hospital is not 24/7, you can still find veterinary 24/7 pet emergency hospitals like Bay Beach Veterinary Emergency Hospital.

When it comes to food on the beach, grilled food and fresh seafood are what comes to our minds.  There are 13 official dog-friendly restos in Virginia Beach’s website. Most of these are pubs and oyster bars. Bubba’s Seafood Restaurant & Crabhouse is a multi-award winning restaurant where you can get the best view the sunset.

  • Dog parks: 90.1
  • Dog beaches: 92.5
  • Health Services: 39.5
  • Activities: 91.9
  • Restaurants: 69.2
  • Climate: 3.7/5

The total DFS for Virginia Beach: 76.94

9. Providence, Rhode Island

 

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There are plenty of dog parks in Providence. If you want to walk your dog with your under 9-year-old child, Pawtucket Dog Park (not in Providence but still in Rhode Island) does not allow your child to enter on a certain area. Blackstone Park has beautiful wooded areas. If you prefer fenced parks, you can feel safe letting your dog run off-leash in Dexter Dog Park same with Ball Street Dog Park. Nicely shaded too during summer season. Gano Street Dog Park has a nearby Seekonk River. For dog-friendly hills, lakes and hiking trails, you can just find these only nearby Providence. Providence River Walk might be the only closest area for a nature trip aside from going to parks.

You can find at least 5 affordable veterinary care there based on pet owners’ word of mouth. For 24/7 veterinary services, only a few near Providence are offering these and some of them are Warwick Animal Hospital (servicing Cranston, Providence, West Warwick and Coventry) and Ocean State Veterinary Specialists. If these animal clinics and hospitals are still far from you, there are many veterinarians providing services in the Providence area and who knows, they might be living near you.

With more than 60 dog-friendly restaurants, you can be sure that you and your dog can eat any dish you want including Indian cuisine, French cuisine and many more.

  • Dog parks: 84.4
  • Dog beaches: 81.9
  • Health Services: 84.3
  • Activities: 69.4
  • Restaurants: 58.21
  • Climate: 3.2/5

The total DFS score for Providence, Rhode Island: 75.64

10. Houston, Texas

 

The City of Houston is one of the best places for dogs aside from Seattle, pet owners can conveniently see information of each dog park in Houston City’s official website. The Hot climate makes planning your day off possible to become true since you would not be expecting frequent rains and storms. Ervan Chew is the first neighborhood dog park that allows dogs to run freely off-leash. It is also a fenced area and a perfect place for dogs when it comes to dog training in public. Maxey Park is large and fenced too where there are separate areas for small and large dogs. Your dog will surely love to tour and have a walk in Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. It is just that they must be kept on-leash also for their own safety from snake bites and other nature animals. There are many nature and hiking trails a few hours drive from Houston. Danny Jackson Bark Dog Park has swimming ponds, shades and benches for pet owners to relax while watching their dogs play freely off-leash. El Jardin Beach and Sylvan Beach are the nearest beaches where you and your doggie can take a swim and make the shores your playground, enjoy festivals and build sandcastles. For 24 hours 365 days a year non-stop veterinary services, Sunset Animal Hospital has an online store to deliver your pet’s medicines and healthcare needs to your doorstep. Vergi 24/7 specializes in critical pet conditions. They even have a H.O.P.E Fund to help pets avoid euthanasia due to financial constraints of poor pet owners.

In The Black Labrador, you can keep yourself cool with refreshments in shady umbrellas and servers will gladly give your best friend a water bowl. For patio with umbrellas and grass, you can visit Bohemeo’s. The Gorgeous Gael has plenty of tress for shade. Eat beer and pizza with your furry companion on Saint Arnold Brewery. Taco house and cafés are also available like The Pit Room where there’s a near patio bar where your dogs can walk and eat barbecues and tacos. When it comes to multiple pet areas, Saint Dane’s Bar & Grille is the winner especially with having industrial fans on side patio to keep customers and dogs cool outside.

  • Dog parks: 85.49
  • Dog beaches: 73.12
  • Health Services: 77.33
  • Activities: 71.12
  • Restaurants: 58.99
  • Climate: 2.8/5

Total DFS for Houston, Texas: 73.21

Thank you for reading our team research!

About the author

Mark Braeden

Mark is the dog breeder for 17 years. Mark also has 4 dogs: Alaskan Malamute, Clumber Spaniel, Irish Terrier and Mutt. Mark also into latest technologies and he is trying all the latest dog gadgets on the market and sharing his experience.

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