Dog-Friendly Cities

San Diego, Colorado Springs and Portland Are Top Choices

Portland, Ore.

If you love to travel and can’t bear the thought of leaving Fido or Max at home, it might be a good idea to research some dog-friendly vacation spots before hitting the road.

Depending on what is important to you when traveling with your pet, there are a number of resources available to help narrow down your final dog-friendly destination. Pet-Friendly City Travel Resources

Dog Fancy, the world’s most widely-read dog magazine, has conducted an annual search for dog-friendly cities across the nation in their DogTown USA contest. Cities are researched and evaluated on a number of criteria, including top veterinary professionals, dog parks, canine-friendly businesses, shelter-euthanasia rates and owner responsibility. San Diego, Calif., Portland, Ore., and Chicago, Ill., were bestowed the DogTown USA honors.

Men’s Health, a men’s lifestyle publication focusing on health and fitness, ranked America’s best cities for dogs, concluding that cities in the Western part of the country have more space to roam and an abundance of dog parks. Their top dog-friendly city picks?

Colorado Springs

  • Colorado Springs , Colo., was recognized for their abundance of boarding and daycare facilities, outdoor activities and the highest fine for animal cruelty—a whopping half a million dollars.
  • Portland, Ore., boasts the most dog parks for resident, including the 4,000-acre Forest Park.
  • Albuquerque, N.M., has the second-highest pet-ownership rate and a yearly fundraiser to help teach kids about the humane treatment of animals.

They even broke their findings out in an interactive map where you can search by overall dog happiness, number of dog parks, pet and pet supply stores per city.

Another resource for dog owners, Dogfriendly.com, the leading provider of nationwide city and travel guides for dog owners, helps people find places they can enjoy together with their dogs, such as lodging, attractions and dining. Visitors to the site are able to browse various categories by state, and even read articles to brush-up on doggie travel etiquette.


Cities are researched and evaluated on a number of criteria, including top veterinary professionals, dog parks and canine-friendly businesses.

Little Things Count

City scene

What else makes a city perfect for a pooch? It’s not always dog parks and the amount of animal hospitals, says Lisa Matvia, a life-long dog owner in Brunswick County, N.C. She explains, “It’s the little things like ‘dog-crossing’ signs, city sidewalks with low pedestrian traffic and readily available doggie waste bags that tell you if a city is truly dog-friendly.”

For others, long-term dog-friendly factors are more important.

“When I moved to California from the East Coast, it was important for me to find an apartment that accepted my two dogs,” says Aimee Sterling, a dog owner in Orange County, Calif. “It wasn’t as easy as I expected it to be. The places I found [that did take dogs] had weight restrictions—which was fine for my situation—but I understand how it could be difficult for others.”

Pet Insurance for Pooches on the Move

Regardless of which city you and your pooch end up, it’s wise to have a pet insurance plan should Rover have an accident or become ill on the road. Nationwide pet insurance offers policies for dogs, cats, birds, reptile and other exotic pets, with multiple-pet discounts for families with two or more pets. Veterinary claims are accepted from any licensed veterinarian in the world, so whether you’re traveling with your pet or staying close to home, your policy may be used anywhere, anytime.