Dog-Friendly Guide to Tucson, AZ

tucson

Population: 541,482
Off-leash dog parks: 7
Accommodation: Excellent
Restaurants, pubs, & cafes: 253
Most popular dog breed: Labrador Retriever

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Introduction

Occupying the top position and earning the title of most dog-friendly city in America, Tucson is a great place to live or visit with your pooch pal. Though it’s low in off-leash dog parks, there are over 100 trails for you to visit with your dog, allowing for some great sightseeing and exercise simultaneously, as you traverse the beautiful Tucson landscapes.

More than 250 establishments will allow you to dine and socialize with your dog beside you in this city. Even museums make allowances for canine companions. And although rental apartments and homes charge substantial pet rent and fees, many hotels don’t charge pet fees at all, even if you’re traveling with multiple pets or big breeds. The leash laws are simple, and the licensing is affordable. Best of all, you can adopt a dog for next to nothing, which all adds up to make Tucson more dog-friendly than any other US city.

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Interesting Facts

  • Anyone who loves to spend time outdoors with their dog will fall in love with Tucson. This city has more than 110 trails that range in length from one to more than 50 miles. These allow you and your dog to enjoy the diverse beauty of Tucson’s surrounding mountains, deserts, and forests. Most of these trails are dog-friendly, including many of the trails located within state and national parks in the area.
  • Pit Bulls are the fourth most popular breed of dog here, accounting for nearly 5% of all registered dogs. Labrador Retrievers, Chihuahuas, and German Shepherds occupied the most popular three positions.
  • Tucson has multiple museums for you to browse and explore, and several of these, including the Pima Air and Space Museum and the Fort Lowell Museum will allow your dog to come in with you. For a change of pace afterward, the Tucson Botanical Gardens is a great place to take your dog to be surrounded by nature at its most pristine.
  • Though many Tucson pet owners follow popular trends when it comes to naming their dogs, not all of them do. At least 10,000 of the registered dogs within the county have unique names that no other dogs in the vicinity share.

Leash Laws & Licensing

Leash laws in Tucson are dead-simple, which is one thing that makes this city so pet-friendly. When your dog is on your property, it must be kept in an enclosed yard so it can’t escape. You can’t tie your dog off outside under any circumstances. When your dog is off your property, it must be restrained by a leash. That’s it.

Licensing in Tucson is done on an annual basis. Each year, you’ll pay $20 for a dog that’s been spayed or neutered. If your dog isn’t fixed, you’ll be paying $65 every year instead. Should your dog be labeled a vicious or dangerous animal, your license is $105 annually. Discounts on regular licenses are available for low-income residents and senior citizens to make pet ownership more affordable for the less fortunate.

Living in Tucson with a Dog

In Tucson, the most dog-friendly city in America, you can have up to four dogs without the need for a special license or permit. Every dog will be required to have rabies vaccinations and you must pay the license fee for each dog annually. If you wish to own more than four dogs, a multi-dog permit comes at a minimum cost of $400.

With only seven off-leash parks available in the city, it might be hard to see how Tucson is such a dog-friendly place. But this city has an outdoors-centric mindset, and with such beautiful weather year-round, it’s easy to see why. Numerous walking paths spread out across Tucson, but that’s just the start. All around the city are many hiking trails that are perfect for getting some exercise with your best bud.

Most apartments and rental homes charge high fees for pet rent and deposits. Traveling here isn’t as bad though since there are more than 100 pet-friendly hotels in the area. You can even find some that don’t charge pet fees, with a few that allow big breeds as well. Most pet-friendly hotels in the area allow two or more pets per room.

Be aware that several breeds get restricted access to many hotels and living spaces in Tucson. Some breeds are simply unwanted by landlords because they’re viewed as aggressive or dangerous. This includes breeds like Pit Bulls, which can make it hard for some owners to find places to stay with their dogs.

tucson
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Average Cost of Ownership

Though this city is as dog-friendly as they come, it’s not the cheapest place to live with your dog. Prices for pet care are higher here than almost anywhere, starting at $13 per hour for basic dog walking and sitting services. However, some healthcare costs are cheaper here than in other major cities, and there are many avenues available for free pet healthcare.

Living with your pet can be expensive though, as most places charge a standard $25 per month, per pet in pet rent. This is in addition to high deposits and fees when you sign the lease, which are generally around $500 total on average for each dog. Thankfully for travelers, it’s pretty easy to find a hotel that won’t charge you extra fees for bringing your dog along.

Shelters & Rescue Centers

One thing that helps to make Tucson such a dog-friendly city is the ease of adopting a dog here. While there are many different shelters, humane societies, and rescues that you can head to if you want to adopt a dog here, the Pima Animal Care Center, or PACC for short, is one of the best places, and the first place you ought to check out.

Here, dogs can be adopted for as little as $0. Yep, you can take a dog home for free. Granted, that’s for a senior dog that’s already past its prime. Still, even puppies and young, vibrant pooches are quite affordable. Puppies under six months of age have an adoption fee of just $50. Dogs that are older than six months will cost just $30!

dog in shelter Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

There are many reasons that Tucson tops our list of the most dog-friendly American cities. First, the weather is incredible, which is why most people move to Tucson in the first place. Next, adopting a dog is very affordable and accessible here for everyone. Furthermore, Tucson is packed with pet-friendly places such as restaurants, hotels, and museums. Plus, there are nearly endless hiking trails to explore with your pal, not to mention the many walking paths throughout the city. It all adds up to make Tucson the best city in the US for dogs, and it’s worth checking out if you’ve got a beloved pooch in your family.

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Featured Image Credit: Sean Pavone, Shutterstock