WalletHub Lists Its 10 Most Pet-Friendly Cities in the United States for 2021
The best place for your pet is wherever you are, but perhaps it's worth considering moving to a locale where the veterinarian trips are cheap, there are plenty of pet-friendly businesses, and the weather's mostly nice.
WalletHub considered all that—and plenty more—in its 2021 ranking of the most pet-friendly United States cities. It evaluated the 100 largest U.S. cities, and the ones in the top 10 ticked all the boxes for you and your pet's needs.
Researchers determined the scores by evaluating 23 metrics that were separated into three categories: pet budget, pet health and wellness, and outdoor pet friendliness. Cities could earn a maximum of 100 points.
Pet health and wellness was the largest category, containing 14 metrics worth a total of 50 points. Its metrics measured the number of pet health professionals and caretakers in the area; pet-friendly retailers; and the strength of animal-safety laws among other things. The pet budget category measures things like veterinary costs and insurance premiums while the outdoor pet friendliness section evaluates outdoor amenities (like dog parks).
Anyhow, you can read more about the methodology and see WalletHub's full rankings here. But here are the top 10 cities from the list:
10. New Orleans
The city with maybe the best food in the U.S. scored middle of the road for budget and outdoor amenities—No. 34 and 44, respectively—but it ranked No. 10 in the pet health and wellness category, which is the most important category for a reason.
9. San Diego
The beach! It's no wonder the Southern California city ranks No. 8 for its outdoor pet amenities. It ranks even higher for health and wellness (No. 2), but it's way down there for pet budget, ranked 92 out of 100. So the outdoors are nice and your pet has every opportunity to be healthy, but your vet bills might be steep.
Cincy nailed the consistency aspect of this. Its rankings for all three categories weren't particularly high, but they were each in the top half—No. 19 (budget), 20 (health and wellness), and 38 (outdoors). Just avoid the chili.
7. St. Petersburg, Fla.
Another city on the water, St. Petersburg rates highest in the health and wellness category (No. 9) and stays in the top half for budget (No. 42) and the outdoors (No. 29). Seems nice!
6. St Louis
Another "St." city (though St. Paul, Minn., is much farther down at No. 33). Solid scores all around: No. 18 for budget, 16 for wellness and health, and 39 for outdoors. The better barbecue, however, is four hours west on Interstate 70.
5. Birmingham, Ala.
It's cheap (No. 9 for budget) and ranks well for health and wellness resources (No. 16), but, woof, it is low down the list for things to do outside at No. 77. If you have an indoor dog or cat, though, this might be the place!
4. Las Vegas
Sin City—do people still call it that?—ranks 1st for outdoor pet fun, even though it's approximately 250 degrees there at all times. Your budget won't take too much of a hit (ranked No. 32) and your pet health options are decent, too at No. 34.
3. Orlando, Fla.
Now we're into the heavy hitters. Orlando is No. 3 for pet health and wellness (again, the highest-weighted category) while ranking a reasonable 31 and 34 for budget and outside, respectively. Plus: Disney World!
2. Tampa, Fla.
Why Tampa and St. Petersburg are separate is beyond me but whatever. Like its neighboring city, Tampa rates highly for health and wellness (No. 5) while its outdoor amenities come in at No. 13. Its budget rating is an unimpressive 42.
1. Scottsdale, Ariz.
When you can make the top five in two categories, you've got this ballgame won. WalletHub puts Scottsdale in the No. 1 spot for pet health and wellness and the No. 3 slot for outdoor amenities. So folks living there have plenty of ways to keep their pets active and healthy. Butttt ... it is expensive, ranking No. 71 in that category.