Restaurants: Which Cities and States are Most Pet-Friendly?
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10 May, 2024

Restaurants: Which Cities and States are Most Pet-Friendly?

Pets have become a central part of our lives. Since 1988, pet ownership in American households has surged from 56% to 67%. The lockdown period only deepened our connection with our pets, but even before that, a whopping 95% of Americans already viewed their pets as family members.

The increasing acceptance of pets and the rise of a pet-centric culture have integrated them more fully into the daily routines of their owners. They tag along on vacations, frequent grooming parlors more often, and yes, they even join us for meals out. Major chains like In-n-Out, Starbucks, and Dairy Queen don’t just tolerate our furry friends; they welcome them with open arms and even special treats like the famous "Puppuccino" at Starbucks.

With such a rich pet-friendly atmosphere blossoming, Restaurantji, which maintains one of the most comprehensive and up-to-date databases of U.S. restaurants, got curious: which cities and states roll out the red carpet for our four-legged pals?

What's the Average Room Temperature?

Drawing on Restaurantji’s vast trove of data, among cities boasting 300 or more restaurants, an average of 7.2% permit patrons to dine with their pets. Our analysis covered 402,750 restaurants, finding that at least 29,103 are ready to welcome your pet with a smile - or maybe a wagging tail. So what are the leaders and anti-leaders of the rating

California: Leading the Pack Globally

It seems pets hold a special place in the hearts of Californians, more so than in any other part of the United States. This pet-friendly attitude is evident as a whopping 19.7% of all insured pets in the U.S. reside in California, making it the most dog-friendly state in the nation. Take Paso Robles, for instance, which reigns as the most pet-accommodating city across the U.S.; nearly a third (31.95%) of its establishments welcome pets. Out of the 338 places surveyed, a friendly tally of 108 let you bring your furry friends along.

When we zoom out to look at every Californian city boasting at least 100 restaurants, we uncover that, out of 101,000 businesses, over 13,500 brand themselves as pet-friendly. That's 13.46% of businesses extending a warm welcome to pets, positioning California as the prime hotspot for dining out without leaving your pet at home. In Los Angeles alone, you're spoilt for choice with over 1,300 pet-friendly dining options. Remarkably, these make up 16% of all businesses in the city. Imagine this: it would take you over three and a half years to hit up each pet-welcoming spot in the City of Angels! And by then, you’d probably need a few more months to check out the new joints that popped up since you started.

Despite San Diego’s population being almost a third of Los Angeles', the sheer number of pet-friendly spots is nearly the same—with 1,256 in San Diego versus 1,324 in Los Angeles. This means a generous 25.37% of San Diego’s establishments are ready to roll out the red carpet for your pets.

The top three cities in California with the most pet-friendly restaurants are:

Los Angeles - 1,324 pet-friendly restaurants (15.91%)

San Diego - 1,256 pet-friendly restaurants (25.37%)

San Francisco - 760 pet-friendly restaurants (16.41%)

So, if dining out with your dog in tow sounds like your kind of scene, California is your dream destination!

Not Just California

Among the top 10 cities boasting the most pet-friendly businesses, half are located in California. Alongside the usual suspects, San Jose and Sacramento make the list. But what about the other states?

Five distinct states are represented here, each contributing one city. These cities, ranked from the most to the least pet-friendly establishments, are: Austin, TX; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Honolulu, HI; and New Orleans, LA.

The percentage of pet-friendly businesses in these cities ranges from 11.3% in New Orleans to 16.88% in Austin.

Who's Lagging Behind?

We don’t want to harp on the cities that are a bit behind in pet accommodation, but it’s hard to ignore the other side of the coin.

In cities with over a thousand restaurants, the bottom dwellers include:

The Bronx, NY - 1.08% of businesses are pet-friendly

Omaha, NE - 2.06%

Detroit, MI - 2.42%

Boston, MA - 2.83%

Queens, NY - 3.69%

Is this the whole story? Statistics can be misleading. Some eateries might not openly advertise their pet-friendliness, so we shouldn't be too hard on these underdogs. However, it’s safe to say that certain cities and even entire states set themselves apart in this arena. So, if you’re planning a vacation with your furry friend, you might want to start with California!