pet-friendly-streetMost pet owners think of their pets as much more than just animals. Often, our pets are considered a part of our family, and like any family member, you want to find a city or town that’s good for them. When you have kids, you choose a location based on good schools, safe neighborhoods, and proximity to playgrounds and parks. For pets, you need to research things like dog parks, doggie meet-ups, local pet laws and veterinary care. If you live in an apartment, like me, you also have to find out what kind of pet you’re allowed to have. 90% of the reason I signed the lease for my current apartment is because my landlord said the magic words – “you can have any type of dog you want.” Of course, if I ever move I’ll have to find an apartment complex that’s willing to welcome my 60 lb. Boxer mix.

Photo: djjasoncook

It’s pretty easy to find places that are cat-friendly, but life for dogs can be a little “ruff” in some areas.  Maryland, for example, is not very accommodating towards pit bulls, which is very sad. Luckily there are many cities that are happy to welcome all breeds and species:

1.    Colorado Springs, CO

This city has topped the charts for lovers of both dogs and cats, the two most popular pets in the U.S. Colorado Springs boasts the residence of 115,000 pets, comparable to the 400,000 people populating the city. This lucky city has seven (yes, seven) dog parks for pooches to meet and make friends. In addition, spoiled pups can get the ultimate treatment at the exclusive, dog-friendly resort, The Broadmoor Hotel.

2. Orlando, FL
Home to Disney World, it’s no surprise that such a huge tourist destination has made an effort to welcome four-legged friends along with their paying, two-legged customers. Many hotels in the area are pet-friendly and welcome the whole family.

Partially because this is a tourist city, there are a plethora of dog sitters and groomers. The industry is so successful that those who live there can look into building a dog wash and expect to do very well!

3.    Portland, OR

Portland has the advantage of being a wonderful city for both pets and their owners. This city is well-known for its abundance of outdoor activities, which includes about 20 parks that are specially designated for four-legged friends. Additionally, many of the city’s outdoor attractions allow owners to bring their pets right along with them.

4.    Asheville, NC

This is the city of diva dogs. If you have a pampered pooch, Asheville is their haven. The city offers two, leash-free dog parks – but they’re not the main attraction; this city has an abundance of little specialty boutiques for pets. And since owners want only the best for their pups, these stores also sell all-organic options.

Additionally, many places offer spa treatments, training and photography for your pets. Another thing that sets this city apart is that many of the restaurants have outdoor seating, so you can bring your furry friend along for lunch. You can even ask for a cheeseburger just for your pooch, and the staff will be happy to oblige!

5.    San Diego, CA

One of the nation’s most famous cities must be able to support a pretty picky dog population. Unlike the other land-locked cities, San Diego specializes in dog-friendly, leash-free beaches. The most famous of these beaches is Dog Beach, which has made its way into many Hollywood movies.

Similar to Asheville, San Diego also has a great deal of pet-centric shopping. Most places do not allow dogs into the stores, but they do offer cheap pet-sitting, and some of the shopping malls have outdoor dog parks.


No matter where you live, there is almost always a place you can go to make friends with fellow pet owners. Almost every city has a dog park, or at least a dog-friendly park. An important thing to realize is even most small towns will have a store, shelter, or events where training, grooming and socialization are available and encouraged.

Remember, your pet would love to have friends of their own species, and creating opportunities for them to make friends allows you to make new friends too!

Michelle Rebecca is an aspiring writer, blogger, and new mama to a 1-year-old boxer mix rescue. She has a passion for the Internet, and loves how it connects people across the globe. She loves that blogging gives her the opportunity to voice her thoughts and share advice with an unlimited audience. Follow her on Google+.