This Year’s Top 10 Dog-Friendly States in America


With approximately 90 million dogs living in homes in America, we are a country of dog lovers.  But not all states are equal in term of safety and dog enrichment amenities, according to home security and safety site Safewise. 

In the search for the top dog-friendly states, the company looked at 2015 data from the Bureau of Labor, the Animal League Defense Fund and online resources like to see what states have the strictest animal cruelty laws, the most no-kill shelters and the most dog-friendly hotels, parks, events, services and activities.

Here is the top 10 List:

10. Washington

Friendliest Dog States

The Pacific Northwest is largely a puppy paradise. Despite an unfortunately long list of Washington cities that have breed specific laws, there is recent hope, according to, that these laws may soon become ancient history. The majority of the state welcomes dogs in some of the best parks in the country, hotels, restaurants and beaches, and boasts an impressive list of dog events and health services. The state ranks in the top 13 of the best animal-cruelty laws. Washington is filled with dog lovers and among the best places for your dog to enjoy the great outdoors.

Related: What It’s Really Like Inside Your Dog’s Head

9. Rhode Island

Friendliest Dog States_RhodeIsland

Rhode Island may be small, but it ranks seventh in the country for the best in animal-cruelty laws. It is also one of the best places for outdoor activities with dog-friendly beaches, hiking trails, farms with open fields, and even dog-friendly cruises and tours. If you’re visiting, there are hundreds of pet-friendly hotels, B&Bs, vacation rentals and campgrounds. Your dog will be happy and healthy with days loaded with adventure and activities.

8. Kansas

Friendliest Dog States_Kansas

The good news about Kansas is its many no-kill animal shelters, dog parks, hiking trails and pet-friendly apartments and houses. It has 442 pet-friendly restaurants, over 500 pet-friendly hotels, more than 150 pet services including world-class animal hospitals and even a string of dog-loving drive in movie theaters. A dog in Kansas will have plenty to do both inside and outdoors. The bad news? The large number of cities than ban pit bulls and rottweilers.

7. Massachusetts

Friendliest Dog States_Massachusettes

Massachusetts ranks 10th in the country of animal-cruelty laws with some of the stiffest penalty for people convicted of abusing animals. There are also more than 1,500 pet-friendly hotels, almost 1,000 dog-friendly restaurants, a long list of dog hotels and spas and even doggie summer camps. You and your pup will enjoy close to 300 dog friendly activities including dog parks and beaches, hiking trails, nature centers and more. The city also boasts 1,600 veterinarians. All breed specific laws are now banned statewide.

6. Oregon

Friendliest Dog States_Oregon

Oregon is among the best places in the nation for outdoor activities with more than 200 dog-friendly trails crossing breathtaking landscapes as well as expansive riverfront parks and beaches. The state also boasts over 1,500 pet-friendly hotels and 240 pet-friendly businesses. Unfortunately, there are currently two cities that ban pit bulls, and one city even bans a long list of what they call “fighting breeds.” This legislation keeps Oregon from ranking higher in America’s top dog-friendly states.

Related: The Most Popular Dog Names of 2017

5. Colorado

Friendliest Dog States_Colorado

This state gets top marks from nature lovers with 300 days of sun and fun including everything outdoors from hiking to skiing. There are over 270 dog-friendly activities encompassing trails, dog beaches, parks and even canine-welcoming train rides. Dogs can stay in over 1,000 pet-friendly hotels, and there’s a plethora of services from groomers and trainers to top-rated animal hospitals. The downside for Colorado dog lovers is the list of 10 cities, including Denver, that ban pit bulls, and some banning a more extensive list of “fighting dogs,” including American bulldogs.

4. Oklahoma

Friendliest Dog States_Oklahoma

Among the many reasons Oklahoma is paradise for dogs are its strict animal-cruelty laws that make pets safe with some of the strictest sentences in the nation. The state has also knocked down all breed-specific legislation, so all dogs are welcome. There are over 550 pet-friendly hotels, B&Bs, resorts and campgrounds; 480 dog-friendly restaurants and tons of activities including dog parks and beaches, hiking trails, tours and kayaking. Reports have been critical of their ratio of no-kill shelters, but there is a list of 33 statewide. For health and safety, Oklahoma gets high marks.

3. Arizona

Friendliest Dog States_Arizona

One of the top spots for nature-loving dogs, Arizona provides more than 300 sunny days a year and a broad selection of outdoor adventure. For adventures with Fido, find over 1,300 pet-friendly hotels, more than 1,250 dog-friendly restaurants and 244 canine activities ranging from dog parks, beaches, the Grand Canyon National Park (among others), hiking trails, adventure tours, even dog-friendly vineyards, museums and jeep tours. It ranks the 10th best state in America for its percentage of no-kill shelters and 11th for its strict anti-cruelty laws. If that’s not enough, Arizona officially banned breed-specific laws in 2015.

2. Virginia

Friendliest Dog States_Virginia

Virginia is for dog lovers! Your dog will be well cared for by the over 2,500 veterinarians that practice in the state. There are no breed specific laws, and it ranks 19th in the country for anti-cruelty laws. You’ll also find around 1,400 pet-friendly hotels, almost 1,700 restaurants that welcome dogs, and over 200 activities that include many spectacular dog parks, beaches, waterfalls, walking tours, orchards, dog watering holes, and hiking trails. The only black mark comes from their shelter system of which only 15% percent are no-kill.

1. Maine

Friendliest Dog States_Maine

At the head of the pack, Maine is dog paradise. Filled with outdoor adventures for both winter and summer lovers, you find over 100 dog-friendly activities. You and your best friend can frolic on the 76 beaches, go canoeing in their national parks, take a Windjammer cruise in Bar Harbor or hop aboard a working mail boat in Portland. There are mountains to climb, bridges to cross, and you can view the native fauna with your dog (on a leash, please!) at wildlife refuges. For visitors, enjoy more than 1,000 pet-friendly hotels, and join the locals at over 400 dog-friendly restaurants. Maine has no breed specific laws, but the majority of their shelters do euthanize their animals to control overcrowding — which makes this state a great place to adopt.

Related: First Dog Breeders Ever Revealed

By Jillian Blume

Jillian Blume is a New York City–based writer whose feature articles have appeared in magazines, newspapers, and websites including the New York Observer, Marie Claire, Self, City Realty, the ASPCA,, Best Friends Animal Society, The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, The Pet Gazette, and many others.

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