The Top 5 Most (& Least) Expensive Cities to Have a Dog

Updated on July 18th, 2019
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How much is that doggie in the window? More than you might think. While the cost of dog food and toys can be squeezed into most monthly budgets, the costs involved in dog-friendly housing, veterinarian bills and quality pet care can really add up, especially in big cities.

To figure out the total cost of pet ownership, data analysts at Redfin, Trupanion and pooled their resources to get a holistic look at the major costs involved in responsibly caring for a dog in a major city. Walk Score®, a Redfin company, provided information on dog-friendly rentals in each city. Trupanion, a medical insurance provider for cats and dogs, provided information on healthcare costs. Rover, the nation’s largest network of dog lovers for hire, looked at the costs of dog sitting and daycare.

The companies analyzed data from 116 major cities to find the most and least expensive places to have a dog. Based on the analysis:

The most expensive cities to have a dog are:

  1. San Francisco, California
  2. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  3. Aurora, Colorado
  4. Portland, Oregon
  5. Chula Vista, California

The least expensive cities to have a dog are:

  1. Phoenix, Arizona
  2. The Woodlands, Texas
  3. Nashville, Tennessee
  4. Detroit, Michigan
  5. Fayetteville, North Carolina

Check out the infographic below to see the rent, healthcare and pet care costs in each city that made the list, and read on for more information on what went into the analysis. While having a dog is worth every penny, it’s important to know how many pennies you’ll need to give your dog the care he or she deserves.


If you’ve added a new best friend to your life, prepare to pay more for housing, and we don’t mean an expensive dog house. According to data from Walk Score, a Redfin company, dog-friendly rentals cost 6 percent more than the average cost of all rentals in the 116 cities that we looked at.

Since the cost of living varies widely between cities, for this ranking, we determined the most expensive and least expensive cities based on how much more you’ll pay for a dog-friendly home or apartment in that area. In the top five most expensive cities, you’ll pay anywhere from 11 percent (in Chula Vista, Calif.) to 20 percent more (in Aurora, Colo.) for a dog-friendly rental, while in the least expensive cities, dog-friendly rentals are actually cheaper (-21 percent in Phoenix), or only slightly more (3 percent in Detroit).

The reason why landlords in some cities can charge more is a simple case of supply and demand. On average, across all 116 cities, 16.5 percent of rentals allow dogs. In the most expensive cities, only 12.3 percent  of rentals allow dogs. In the least expensive, 20.5 percent  allow dogs.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the most common reason why people relinquish or give away their dogs is because their place of residence does not allow pets. If you’re a renter and are thinking about adopting a dog, please keep in mind that dog-friendly rentals may be more expensive and harder to find, and be prepared to make that commitment.

Health Care

The human-animal bond between pet owners and their pets is stronger than ever, as evidenced by 91% of pet owners who consider their pet a part of their family and the $58 billion a year spent on pets. A portion of that spend goes toward medical advancements in veterinary care that are helping pets live longer, healthier lives. Trupanion, a company that offers medical insurance to cats and dogs, has seen an increase in veterinary costs across the country over the past five years.

And though the cost of living is a large factor in the general cost of veterinary care for a city, we found that cities that have high housing costs don’t equate to high veterinary costs. The cost of medical coverage in the most expensive cities to own a dog ranges from $38.81 in Fresno, Calif. to $46.74 in San Francisco. For those cities that are considered less expensive, medical coverage ranges from $52.11 in Scottsdale, Ariz. to $36.84 in Philadelphia.

There are several factors that go into determining the cost of medical insurance for your dog. To find these averages, Trupanion used a mixed breed puppy with a $250 deductible.

Pet Care: Dog Sitting and Daycare

Our dogs are our family. When we leave home, we want them in the hands of other dog lovers who’ll give them the TLC they deserve. Whether it’s a local dog walker who’ll take your pal on a stroll, a doggy daycare provider who’ll play with your pet while you’re at work, or a pet sitter who’ll give your dog a sweet staycation while you enjoy your trip, finding the perfect pet care can be the difference between peace of mind and stressing out.

According to data from, the leading pet care marketplace, the average cost of a loving pet sitter is $29 per night nationwide. And this summer, with gas prices predicted to be their lowest since 2005, coupled with the strength of the U.S. dollar, more pet parents will be traveling and needing a sitter. That’s on top of dog walking and daycare, which many city dwellers pay for every week.

So what’s the cost of loving, local pet care? It varies by city—check out the infographic below to see the results, and visit to find the perfect pet sitter in your neighborhood.

Having a dog may cost a little extra, but that smile on your dog’s face when you come home? Yeah, that’s priceless.


[ENDED] Enter to Win a Prize Package for Your Pooch!

cities to have a dog

If you could use a little extra help pampering your pooch this month, be sure to enter the “Worth Every Penny Sweepstakes” sponsored by Redfin, Trupanion and Simply like or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and then post a photo of your pooch with the hashtag #wortheverypenny to be entered to win a grand prize of:

  • $1,000 from Redfin to go toward your rent or mortgage (or spoiling your buddy!)
  • A $100 gift card for Rover services, including dog walking, sitting and daycare.
  • An overnight bag from Rover, including a t-shirt, dog toy, water bowl, poop bags and more.
  • A Trupanion swag bag of pet healthcare items, treats and toys.

The official rules are available here. Good luck – and happy National Pet Month!


A total of 116 cities were included in this analysis. To be included, a metropolitan area needed to have at least 1,000 rentals available on Walk Score as of April 10, 2015. To determine the ranking, Redfin, Trupanion and Rover gave each city a score based on the expenses that each company looked at. The final score was determined by an average of the three individual scores. For details, please contact

Other popular posts:

1. A Guide to Running a Business from Your Home

2. Keeping the House Clean with Pets

3. Guide to Fire Safety for People with Disabilities

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Christin covers a variety of topics for Redfin Real-Time, ranging from “best places” lists, to Redfin client stories, to celebrity news and everything in-between. Her dream home would have an enormous walk-in closet, a home theater and a room dedicated to her cats. Redfin is a full-service real estate brokerage that uses modern technology to make clients smarter and faster. For more information about working with a Redfin real estate agent to buy or sell a home, visit our "Why Redfin?," page.

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