Brian Carberry
best cities to own a pet

Planning to relocate with your favorite four-legged friend (excuse us, family member)? Perhaps you should consider a city that caters to cats and canines, with a little something thrown in for their favorite humans.

So, what makes these cities so great for pets, not to mention their owners? Think parks galore, ample pet supply stores, all the training and grooming facilities you can wag a chew toy at — and yeah, plenty of vets.

Top 10 cities based on pet businesses per resident

It goes without saying that some of the country's largest cities will probably have the most pet-related businesses. But these areas also have more people.

With that in mind, here's our list of the 10 best cities in the country for pet owners – based on pet businesses per resident.

1. Knoxville, TN

Knoxville, TN

The home of the University of Tennessee takes the top spot on our list of best cities in America for pet lovers.

Does your pup like the water? Knoxville's 4-acre Concord Dog Park includes a doggy dock and river access. You can even take adventurous mutts tubing down the Little River with you. Landlubbing buddies will find plenty of dog parks where they can stay dry.

Rent in Knoxville is also affordable. It will cost you an average of $852 for a one-bedroom apartment.

2. Dayton, OH

Dayton, OH

The Birthplace of Aviation has a lot to offer canines with a competitive streak. Sporty pups can run, jump, slash and train at spots like Splash Your Pup indoor dog pool, or the off-leash training area at 3,700-acre Caesar Creek State Park.

Compared to the rest of the top 10, Dayton also has the lowest average rental prices for one-bedroom apartments at $729.

3. Wilmington, NC

Wilmington, NC

With endless miles of dog-friendly beaches and historic downtown's Riverwalk along the Cape Fear River (yes, the one from the movie), Wilmington is an ideal spot for coastal-loving pups. Their people may appreciate the city's foray into film and TV – everything from Dawson's Creek and Iron Man 3 to David Lynch's Blue Velvet were filmed in these parts.

You and your pets can find a one-bedroom apartment in Wilmington for an average of $1,026.

4. Columbia, SC

Columbia, SC

Southern hospitality extends to those with two legs or four in the capital of South Carolina, where there's plenty of dog-friendly fun. Soak up the history and Southern charm while you and your buddy explore Columbia's lake, three rivers and national park.

You can hang your hat (and your pet's leash) in Columbia for an average of $904 for a one-bedroom unit.

5. Orlando, FL

Orlando, FL

The home of Walt Disney World is the first of three Florida cities on our list. While your fur baby isn't allowed into the Magic Kingdom, you'll find ample dog parks and a popular 1-mile walking path complete with poop-bag dispensers around downtown's Lake Eola.

An average one-bedroom apartment in Orlando will cost you around $1,315.

6. Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale, AZ

Sunny days in Scottsdale are perfect for alfresco dining, and your best fur friend doesn't have to miss out. You'll find no fewer than 120 dog-friendly restaurants, where pets are welcome on outdoor patios.

Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Scottsdale will run you and your pets an average of $1,459.

7. Miami, FL

Miami, FL

With dog-friendly beaches, a chain of Pet Supermarkets and 127 parks, it's no surprise that sunny Miami is one of the best cities in America for pet lovers. You can even walk your pup on the scenic Miami Beach Boardwalk, though they can only sink their paws into the South Beach sand around sundown. You'll also find plenty of pet-friendly apartments.

Not surprisingly, Miami is the most expensive city on our top 10, with an average one-bedroom apartment going for $1,944.

8. Lakeland, FL

Lakeland, FL

Our third Florida city takes the number eight spot, and there's good reason it's called Lakeland. With 38 lakes graced by the city's signature swans, there are plenty of picturesque walking spots. Just watch out for those gators.

More open space isn't the only advantage of being outside of one of Florida's bigger cities. Rent in Lakeland is also affordable – a one-bedroom unit runs an average of $902.

9. Rochester, NY

Rochester, NY

Nestled up to Lake Ontario, Rochester is bisected by the Genessee River, which boasts three waterfalls within city limits. There are plenty of trails and greenways to explore, and your pup will get to paw through plenty of the white stuff come wintertime.

Living in Rochester will cost you and your pets an average of $1,188 for a one-bedroom unit.

10. Billings, MT

Billings, MT

If you and your pooch prefer wide-open spaces, consider planting some roots in Montana. There's plenty to do in Billings for outdoor enthusiasts of the two- and four-legged variety, plus craft breweries and, perhaps even better, affordable housing – the average one-bedroom unit here is $888.

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Beyond the top 10

Still searching for the best place to settle with your pet? Consider these top 50 cities for pet lovers.

Rank City, State Pet Businesses per resident
1 Knoxville, TN 1 per 905
2 Dayton, OH 1 per 912
3 Wilmington, NC 1 per 1,044
4 Columbia, SC 1 per 1,056
5 Orlando, FL 1 per 1,117
6 Scottsdale, AZ 1 per 1,185
7 Miami, FL 1 per 1,203
8 Lakeland, FL 1 per 1,214
9 Rochester, NY 1 per 1,217
10 Billings, MT 1 per 1,218
11 Cincinnati, OH 1 per 1,225
12 West Palm Beach, FL 1 per 1,297
13 Green Bay, WI 1 per 1,348
14 Tampa, FL 1 per 1,377
15 St. Louis, MO 1 per 1,390
16 Gainesville, FL 1 per 1,392
17 Tallahassee, FL 1 per 1,458
18 Springfield, IL 1 per 1,473
19 Boulder, CO 1 per 1,488
19 Fort Lauderdale, FL 1 per 1,488
21 Reno, NV 1 per 1,517
22 Ventura, CA 1 per 1,518
23 Spokane, WA 1 per 1,540
24 Eugene, OR 1 per 1,564
25 Vancouver, WA 1 per 1,569
26 Simi Valley, CA 1 per 1,606
27 Springfield, MO 1 per 1,625
28 Charleston, SC 1 per 1,645
29 Minneapolis, MN 1 per 1,656
30 Fort Collins, CO 1 per 1,667
31 Las Vegas, NV 1 per 1,698
32 Salt Lake City, UT 1 per 1,729
33 Lubbock, TX 1 per 1,739
34 Saint Paul, MN 1 per 1,762
35 Omaha, NE 1 per 1,775
36 Topeka, KS 1 per 1,783
37 Baton Rouge, LA 1 per 1,832
38 Colorado Springs, CO 1 per 1,843
39 Amarillo, TX 1 per 1,903
40 Santa Rosa, CA 1 per 1,905
41 Chattanooga, TN 1 per 1,906
42 Cleveland, OH 1 per 1,918
43 Pittsburgh, PA 1 per 1,951
44 Birmingham, AL 1 per 1,969
45 Clarksville, TN 1 per 1,990
46 Tucson, AZ 1 per 2,014
47 Salem, OR 1 per 2,046
48 Boise, ID 1 per 2,060
49 Richmond, VA 1 per 2,102
50 Alexandria, VA 1 per 2,163

Methodology

We took cities with populations more than 100,000 according to the U.S. Census Bureau and added up the pet-related businesses and attractions in each city in the following categories – parks, pet services, pet shops and food, pet supply retailers, pet training, pet washing and grooming, pet boarding, sitting and kennels, and veterinarians. We then divided each city's population by this total to determine a ratio of the number of businesses and attractions for each resident.

The rent information included in this article is based on October 2018 multifamily rental property inventory on ApartmentGuide.com and Rent.com and is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein does not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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About The Author

The managing editor of Apartment Guide and rent.com, Brian Carberry has more than 10 years' experience as a content creator and award-winning journalist. Brian's work has been featured on CNN, Search Engine Land, Randstad and a number of other organizations around the world. In his free time, Brian enjoys sports, cooking and debating the correct pronunciation of "gif."

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