The 10 Most Dog Friendly States in the US — And the 10 Worst

running fluffy Pembroke welsh corgi puppy


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running fluffy Pembroke welsh corgi puppy

Pet Paradise

Our country is nuts for dogs; almost 47% of U.S. households have them, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Based on an analysis of dog groomers, doggy daycare facilities, pet-friendly activities, and even the rate of dog theft, Showsite Magazine, (who refer to themselves as “the world’s most influential purebred dog publication since 1992”) recently released a report that detailed the 10 most dog-friendly states in the country, as well as the 10 least dog-friendly.

Surprisingly enough, every one of the "best" states is on the East Coast, and though I personally feel that Los Angeles or San Francisco alone must have more dog-pampering facilities than the entire state of Delaware, here is Showsight Magazine’s findings, along with each state’s rating out of 10. 

Related: The Most Popular Dog Breeds in America

Providence, Rhode Island Cityscape

1. Rhode Island

Score: 9.29

Rhode Island ranked in the top three slots for all of Showsight’s categories. It’s also only one of 15 states that have dog theft laws. Only 15. Isn’t that insane? 

Related: 14 Cute Dog Breeds That Make Terrible Pets

New Haven, Connecticut

2. Connecticut

Score: 8.93

Beautiful parks and autumn landscapes are great for dog ownership, especially if you’re going for Christmas Card of the Year. Plus, Connecticut’s chock-full of parks and trees for just that.

Delaware Water Gap panorama in Autumn

3. Delaware

Score: 8.83

I took a shot at Delaware in the intro, and I’m sorry for that. Delaware has given us plenty of good stuff. Like Judge Reinhold. Small-town atmosphere and an abundance of beaches are clear green flags for dog ownership.

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Autumn in Manchester, New Hampshire
Asheville, North Carolina

5. North Carolina

Score: 7.45

I simply can’t get behind this one. I live in North Carolina. You know what else lives here? Bears. Lots of them. Just last week in my apartment complex, a woman and her dog were pursued by a charging black bear, which is actually the least aggressive type of bear. I’m in a city, too, not some cabin in the middle of the Smokies. That solidified that I will never own a dog as long as I live here. 

Lost River, West Virginia

6. Virginia

Score: 7.30

If your dog is a history buff, he’ll like it here. And if he’s got strong opinions on a plantation that George Washington owned, you can take him there to mark his territory.

Luna Park in Brooklyn, New York

7. New York

Score: 7.19

Sure, this is a lot more to New York than Manhattan. That said, owning a dog in Manhattan (or any of the boroughs, really) seems like an experience so miserable that I’m stunned it doesn't ruin the score for the rest of the state. The most coveted commodity in NYC is space; don’t compete with your dog for that.

New Jersey coast line at the shore

8. New Jersey

Score: 7.15

You can take your dog down to the Jersey Shore, but don’t expect your dog to leave with a pleasant personality after that.

Normandy Farms, Massachusetts

9. Massachusetts

Score: 7.14

A wicked coastal getaway and a bowl of chowdeh are all you need to enjoy the shores of Mass; swahp the soup for a dog treat, and you two are having a peh-fect weekend.

Oakland, Maryland

10. Maryland

Score: 6.74

Both the Appalachian mountains and the Chesapeake Bay are at your disposal in Maryland, not to mention a grip of services, activities, and facilities. Yet, like New Jersey and Massachusetts, there are no dog theft laws here, and that really makes me wonder how Maryland nailed the Top 10.

Homer Alaska
matt grimaldi/istockphoto

The Worst: Alaska

Score: 0.00

0.00? For real? That's a devastating score. What's wrong with Alaska? Too much open space? Too much natural beauty? Last time I checked, huskies thrive over there. This feels insanely harsh.

Downtown Fargo North Dakota Skyline

49. North Dakota

Score: 0.25

These scores seem pretty heavily based on the amount of fancy-pants pet facilities, like facilities and amenities. I grew up with a dog in Los Angeles (how is California not in the top 10?) where there are an abundance of these things. We never took him anywhere besides the vet, and guess what? He was fine. He lived a long, healthy life. You don't need overpriced groomers to make your pet happy.

Nature - Flathead Lake Montana Sunset Dusk

48. Montana

Score: 0.36

I've seen "Yellowstone." Montana seems dangerous.

Casper, Wyoming

47. Wyoming

Score: 0.46

Jackson Hole is famously full of rich people, and I find it very hard to believe that it's not full of stuff for those little arm-candy accessory dogs that they bring with them everywhere.

South Dakota: Elkhorn Ridge Resort

46. South Dakota

Score: 0.77

This, I can buy. Mount Rushmore seems like a bad place for dogs.

Reno , Nevada at dawn

45. Nevada

Score: 0.87

Vegas seems like a nightmare for sure, and this place is hotter than the sun. I get it.

Now: Santa Fe, New Mexico

44. New Mexico

Score: 1.02

Weather is pretty extreme here, icy cold in the winter and super hot the rest of the time. Your dog might not love that.

Beatrice, Nebraska
Beatrice, Nebraska by Jasperdo (None)

43. Nebraska

Score: 1.17

This has to be one of the states with the most open space, right? Plus, Lincoln has about 300,000 people living in it. There's gotta be some good stuff for dogs somewhere in there.

Boise, Idaho, USA
Sean Pavone/istockphoto

42. Idaho

Score: 1.33

Dogs can eat potatoes. I just Googled it. Idaho is probably fine.

Lake Powell | Arizona and Utah

41. Utah

Score: 1.53

Did you see "127 Hours"? Don't let that happen to your dog.