It's no secret that modern Americans love our doggos — to the tune of 89 million dog-owning households — and that we sometimes (always?) base decisions around whether or not the dog can tag along. But where, exactly, is the most dog-obsessed city in the country?
According to the methodology in this new research from WalletHub, which ranked the 100 most populated U.S. cities by three key metrics — Pet Health & Wellness, Pet Budget, and Outdoor Pet-Friendliness — your best bet in 2017 if your pup is your actual ride-or-die is... Scottsdale, Arizona.
How did they get there? By analyzing the cities with the lowest and highest veterinary costs, dog insurance premiums, the most and fewest (per capita) veterinarians, pet businesses, pet-friendly restaurants, dog parks, animal shelters, and other VIP stats for good dog moms and dads.
WalletHub says its 21 key data sets range from minimum pet-care provider rate per visit to the city's walkability rankings, but they don't cite all the sources for their actual numbers, which do seem a little off to this longtime crazy dog lady — and resident of Austin, aka The Rescue Dog Capital of the World, which came in at only #7 on the list, but where pups are welcomed nearly everywhere (including most bars, restaurants, and concerts). We also have easy, year-round access to outdoor adventures with as many canines out running, hiking, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding on any given day as the city's humans... but only ranked way down at #54 in Outdoor Pet-Friendliness.
Where budget is concerned, it is definitely a great idea for any future or current pet owner to take this advice into consideration before a move — costs for pet insurance premiums, veterinary care, and pet deposits on rentals do vary dramatically from region to region, and in cities with a low per-capita number of veterinarians it can be really hard to get an appointment or change to a new clinic. Same goes for number of pet sitters and dog walkers in a given city.
In my depth of animal rescue experience, a lower number of shelters in a region actually speaks to the volume of need, meaning that a lower number might mean people in the area are, in general, more responsible pet owners — a positive not a negative metric — and the size of the shelter (and their no-kill status) is more important than the sheer number of them. A headcount of the foster-based rescue groups might have been a more accurate representation of the region's pet-friendliness when it comes to rehoming, IMHO — though the inclusion of the strength of the regions' animal protection laws are really important.
Bottom line: If you're thinking of moving to a new city with your pets, these are some great metrics to take into consideration and a good baseline, but don't pick up and move with your pets without first doing your own homework based on the key indicators that matter to your individual fur family — and visiting (with your pups) to do the nosework firsthand, whenever possible.