Is Cleveland a Dog-Friendly City?

Who better to ask than the people who live in a city whether or not it’s dog friendly? The verdict on Cleveland from its residents? The city is dog-friendly, but it could be more dog-friendly.

I got a lot of feedback in my recent survey about how the city could be more dog friendly and what services dog owners are most interested in. Regarding the dog-friendly atmosphere here, dog owners think there are some good things going on, but would like to see:

  • More dog-friendly restaurants and shopping locations
  • More dog events and chances for dog owners to socialize
  • More indoor options for exercising your dog
  • More dog parks

(Just as a reminder, here’s a list of dog-friendly patios and dog parks. A lot of new additions in recent months!)

Besides just amenities for dogs, several people mentioned dog welfare issues like removing BSL (breed specific legislation), providing free or affordable access to training resources for  pet owners and better access to affordable vet services, as ways to make CLE a more dog-friendly city.

Although around 60% of respondents said the city is dog-friendly, around 40% said it isn’t. The responses from those who said it’s not dog-friendly were:

  • Too many people who have dogs here do not train them and makes for little fun walking your own dog when they let their run amok either off lead or on a flexi.
  • Few options, especially training and exercise opportunities, especially on the east side there’s almost nothing
  • Not enough walkable areas with nearby green space and businesses that welcome dogs.
  • BSL in surrounding cities; constantly overflowing and run down pounds; lack of dog friendly shops / restaurants

Dog- Friendly Business Wish List

So what dog-friendly businesses are Cleveland residents most interested in? Indoor play options topped the list, followed by a dog-friendly café option of some sort. Other ideas suggested:

  • More dog bakeries and locally made supply stores
  • An indoor track to walk in the winters
  • Dog splash pad, owner / dog swimming, more dog parks with small dog only areas
  • Some gyms have child care while you work out. I’d like to see doggy day care so I could work out.
  • I would love to see more support/communication between businesses and large owner groups. A large breed specialty store would be great!

The Dog-Friendly List

Based on these results, Clevelanders probably won’t be surprised to see that we didn’t make the latest list of dog-friendly cities as rated by SmartAsset. The financial consulting company rated cities on their dog friendliness based on several factors: the city’s dog accessibility, as in the number of dog parks, dog-friendly shopping areas and dog-friendly restaurants, as well as the city’s quality of life, including walkability, weather and housing costs.

Cleveland will always lose out in the weather category, but we definitely have an opportunity to increase our dog friendly rating by improving on what we all said we need more of –  dog parks and dog-friendly restaurants!

Here is the list of the most dog-friendly cities in the U.S.:



Thanks to everyone who took the survey! We got close enough to my response goal that I did draw a name for the gift card prize. The winner is Rebecca Stolarsky! I’ll be in touch to arrange how to get your prize.


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