by Nancy E. Hassel, ThisFurryLife.com
Did your city make the cut of being considered pet-friendly? According to a new study by WalletHub – they used different metrics to analyze the top 100 most pet-friendly cities in the USA. With San Francisco rated #1 as the ‘Outdoor Pet Friendliness’ rank, but San Fran came in at the 47.98 percentile when all three factors were added in Pet Budget; Pet Health and Wellness; and Outdoor Pet Friendliness. (We have the study posted at the bottom).
What most pet parents really want to know is where they can take their pets with them. What hotels, restaurants, beaches, parks, vineyards, breweries, farms, pumpkin patches, can we bring our dog to? Are the most common questions I see from pet parents. And of course the travel issue comes into play as well – where can we travel with our pet to? What campgrounds, cabins, Air BNB’s will allow our pets? What safety products can we buy for traveling with our dog in the car?
We are fortunate that in 2018 as pet parents more and more places are opening their doors and welcoming our pets, even catering to them. In my opinion, businesses that are catering to pets, are smart as they are opening another avenue for revenue to flow into their cash registers. Doggie menu at a restaurant, pools and water parks having specific dog-friendly days (most at the end of their seasons), boat cruises just for dogs in the summer, happy or yappy hours at hotels on the regular and dog and cat cafes popping up nationwide – are just some examples of non- pet businesses opening their doors to pets.
At American Pet Professionals, we have many members that are literally crafting their businesses on the pet-friendly movement – anything from helping towns and cities becoming more pet friendly, to dog trainers and pet sitters being wedding assistants for the pet parents; business consultants helping non-pet businesses learn to become more pet friendly, to non-profit organizations helping to make park and public lands dog-friendly and new pet professionals who are helping educate pet parents with topics like traveling with your pet and hiking adventures with your dogs.
Pet product manufacturers are always creating products for pet travel, pet adventures, making sure your pet has everything he needs when you are bringing them along. This helps pet retailers cater to having merchandise that is specific to pet travel, vacation, and the pet-friendly lifestyle vs. just kibble and treats in their stores. When I pack my dog’s backpack it is almost like packing for a toddler, he always has more stuff in his bag then I have with me even for a trip to the beach 10 minutes away!
Pet-friendly is definitely not a trend as our pets are being recognized as family members – which is more mainstream now vs. just 10 years ago. Thankfully!
However, areas for improvement that are still needed big time, in my opinion, is pet-friendly housing for anyone looking to rent an apartment with their pets. Yes, there are some apartment complexes that seem to fully cater to pets, some even having pet amenities like dog parks, doggie wash stations and even nature trails to walk with your dog – but they almost always have a weight limit 30lbs or less or 2 pets under 30lbs and ridiculous, discriminatory breed limitations. Which of course, limits a huge majority of people looking for housing with their 85lb Lab or their 60lb mixed breed. I often wonder, do they ask people what their weight is when applying for an apartment? Do they put a weight limit on children? Do they only allow 2 kids at a time to live in the apartment with you? Do you see where I am going here? Of course, we would hope they would not ask those questions of people – that would be terrible and illegal I am sure. Dogs get dumped at animal shelters regularly because people cannot find pet-friendly housing or are discriminated against because of the breed they chose. And often it is not what they want to do, leaving a family member at a shelter, but in many cases, they don’t have a choice.
I would love to see smart apartment complex owners start tapping into our $72 Billion dollar industry by creating truly pet-friendly housing, offering education to pet parents at their complexes vs. discrimination. If you are a complex owner or landlord reading this I am sure you could find dog trainers, veterinarians, and many other pet professionals to work with you on developing the most pet-friendly complex that strives to help your tenants live their best lives with their pets at your complex. That brings wellness, education, safety (for all people/pets living there), and a truly pet-friendly lifestyle. One can dream, right? (I wonder who has the tennis balls to do this! Contact me if you need help figuring this out!)
Even non-pet corporations like Amazon, Google, WeWork, Bissell and Kimpton Hotels to name a few are pet-friendly allowing employees to bring their pets with them. It is not as uncommon as it used to be to hear about things like pet maternity leave (for pet parents who just adopted a new pet), to help the new pet get adjusted to their new home. Or pet bereavement days, when a pet passes away, most employees are not going to be in the mindset to work when they lose a pet and giving them a couple days off to grieve can help tremendously.
So did your city make the top 100 pet-friendly cities? Do you know of a place or location that is unusual that pet-friendly? We would LOVE to know about it, comment below or send us an email about it to firstname.lastname@example.org.