Dog-friendly cities to move to

When you have a dog, moving is not just about you. Your furry best friend is coming along with you! You should take that into consideration. So if you haven’t quite made your choice yet, think about the dog-friendly cities to move to. It won’t make the relocation process easier – moving will be stressful, and more so for your dog. But it might ease the transition and leave you settling in in a place that welcomes you and your pet alike.

Woman walking a dog on a city street.

Dog-friendly cities can be great places for pets.

Different dogs, different needs

There are many things to consider when moving with a dog. Not the least of these is the kind of dog you have. Smaller and less active dogs are easier to relocate. They fit in easily transported pet carriers which makes them more likely to be allowed to travel with you on planes and in rented vehicles. They are also more likely to be accepted on public transport and in enclosed spaces. Generally speaking, they will need less space and less activity which means they can happily settle almost anywhere. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for a place more suited to dogs and make your pet even happier.

You may have a harder time with larger and more active dogs. You will need to carefully consider how to get your dog where you need to go, regardless of whether you are driving yourself, hiring professionals or flying. Make sure you have an appropriate transporter and try to plan for breaks along the way that your dog might need. But this is only one part of the relocation. What follows is arguably more important: your life in your new home. You can make this part much better and easier on your dog by choosing one of the more dog-friendly cities to move to and giving your four-legged friend the best life has to offer!

small dog in a backpack to dog-friendly cities to move

Smaller dogs are easier to transport.

So what is a dog-friendly city?

There are three major things to take into account when deciding how dog-friendly your potential new hometown is: your budget, your pet’s well-being and access to outdoor activities for dogs. How expensive is it to own a dog in your dream city? Are there special permits or legal requirements for certain types of dogs? And how many veterinarians can you expect to find? How many other dogs for that matter? Are there enough dog parks in the area? How about woods, lakes and other outdoor locations your dog might enjoy? Is the weather suitable for your dog and its needs? These and more are all factors to consider when deciding on the best dog-friendly cities to move to.

Albuquerque, NM

With dry weather and lots of suns nearly year-round, Albuquerque is heaven for certain breeds of dogs (Border Collies and Australian Cattle Dogs to name but two). The city itself is not as walkable as some of the other contenders for the title of the most welcoming city to dogs. But it boasts 33,000 acres of public parks which is approximately a quarter of an acre for every dog living in the city. There are as many as 171 dog-friendly restaurants including the local chain, Flying Star Cafe. With so many places open to dogs, you may not even need the many dog parks littered across the city!

Austin, TX

Another great city for dogs (and humans) to make a new home in is Austin. With picturesque nature such as Mt Bonnell and Lady Bird Lake within easy reach, you may be tempted to flood your social media feeds with photos of your dog. It’s a good thing then that as many as 35 professional pet photographers call Austin their home. A whopping 469 restaurants welcome dogs on the premises as most eating places allow pets on patios and in gardens. A local food truck Bow Wow Bones even serves natural treats for dogs. The moderate climate suits most dog breeds, but if your dog is looking to cool down, there’s a swimming spot for dogs only called Red Bud Isle. And for some special zen time with your pet, you can even do some yoga together at the Doga yoga studio.

dog sitting at a bank of a lake with mountains in the background

You will never get enough photos of your dog in nature.

Chicago, IL

While somewhat lacking in dog parks (less than one for every 100,000 residents), Chicago is still one of the more dog-friendly cities to move to. Dogs are welcome at the beaches and in regular parks. And there are many walking paths with spectacular views around the city and along Lake Michigan. This makes the city very walkable! Along the way, you may encounter bowls of water left out for dogs by local restaurant and pub owners. Not surprising when you consider that there are an incredible 555 dog-friendly restaurants in the city!

San Diego, CA

A popular location for dog-owners on the West Coast, San Diego is the place to be if you like trying new activities with your pet. The city hosts a wide variety of dog-themed events. There’s a Comic-Con type of event for dogs called Paw-micon and an annual surfing contest for dogs called Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon. Treat your dog to a fashionable leash or outfit at one of the city’s canine boutiques! Or take them out to Lighthouse Ice Cream & Yogurt whose menu includes treats for dogs! When you’re all tuckered out, you can relax with your dog at one of the many beaches and dog parks. Or you can have a nice meal together at more than 500 restaurants that welcome dogs.

wet dog on a beach

Dogs and beaches are always a good combination.

San Francisco, CA

There’s something about California! Another of its major metropolitan centers makes the list of most dog-friendly cities to move to. As America’s third most walkable city, San Francisco is a great place for urban dog-lovers. You can walk your dog almost anywhere! Bu the city also offers a great many dog parks – 3.7 per 100,000 residents to be exact. And if you need to get somewhere fast, dogs are also allowed on trolleys. There are more than 50 dog meetup groups so the transportation comes in handy if you forget to check the schedule!

Seattle, WA

Dogs not bothered by chillier and wetter climates (say German Shepherds, Huskies or Malamutes) can expect to have a great time in Seattle. In many ways, Seattle is the polar opposite of other great dog-friendly cities to move to on the West Coast. But it offers similarly amazing opportunities for dog-lovers and their furry friends. In addition to being very walkable, the city allows dogs on buses, rail, and ferries. There are over 300 dog-friendly business to visit and many dog parks to explore. There’s even an indoor dog park for the, especially rainy days!

Life after the move

Have you already chosen a dog-friendly city to move to? Great! Now it’s time to start exploring it with your pooch. Don’t be shy – introduce yourself to the neighborhood, look into meetup groups for dog owners and visit one of the events centered around dogs. Your dog will appreciate the opportunity to be social too!