A study done by Forbes Advisor ranked Phoenix the worst place to travel to with your dog.
Forbes Advisor online surveyed 10,000 dog owners (200 people in each state) and analyzed how well-suited the 98 most populated U.S. cities are for traveling with your dog.
Forbes took into consideration the average number of extreme temperature days and rainy days; the number of pet-friendly accommodations and restaurants in the area; the number and quality of pet clinics in the area; the percentage of dog-friendly hiking trails; the living wage in the area; and the number of dog parks per capita.
Phoenix scored 0.00 out of 100 on the point scale.
Why did Phoenix rank so low?
According to the study, Phoenix has the fifth lowest number of pet clinics. It averaged one pet clinic per capita.
The study also said the desert city made it difficult to find pet-friendly restaurants. While the study’s average was 12 pet-friendly restaurants per 100,000 residents, Phoenix only offered 0.7 and only had 0.7 dog parks per capita.
A spokesperson with Forbes Advisor told The Arizona Republic that heat was a factor in the hot city as it ranked the 12th worst in extreme weather days, which was 5% of the total score.
Phoenix averaged 177 “extreme weather” days annually, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Meaning it had 177 days below 32 degrees or above 90 degrees.
Meanwhile, Mesa was ranked as the fourth worst city to travel to with your dog, as Forbes Advisor scored it 8.46 out of 100.
Why Phoenix residents think city is good for dogs
The Arizona Republic spoke to Tia Reed and her 4-year-old dog Murphy, who Reed described as a “mix.”
Reed, a Phoenix resident, said being a dog owner in record-breaking heat is tough, but she’s found a few creative solutions.
Murphy gets pushed in a stroller during the hotter months and also wears boots to protect his paws from the hot pavement. Still, Reed worried about the future considering how hot this summer was.
“Murphy’s definitely going to have to get used to those boots,” Reed joked.
Marco Badoino shared the same concerns regarding his six-month-old Wheaten terrier, Cillian.
Badoino and Cillian live in downtown Phoenix, so his walks are almost always on the pavement. But Badoino said he was committed to making things work.
“I get his hair cut super often. Wheatens usually have much longer hair than this,” he said signaling to his pup.
Like Reed, Badoino is also training his dog to walk in boots
Kelsey Dickerson, a spokesperson for the Arizona Humane Society, said she was shocked that Phoenix ranked the worst in the survey and hasn’t experienced some of the troubles the survey said travelers might experience.
“The article stated that there weren’t a lot of places in Phoenix where you can take your pets, but that hasn’t been my personal experience when I had a dog. … In my personal opinion, Phoenix has been a great place to own a dog,” Dickerson said.
Though there are not many dog parks per capita (0.7 according to the study), Dickerson said there are over 200 parks in the Phoenix area that pet owners can take their dogs to.
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How heat affects pets
Dickerson acknowledged Phoenix summers can get very hot, but stressed that it is all about keeping your pet safe and provided examples of taking your dog for a walk early in the morning, providing them with booties and limiting outside time. But despite this, she said the weather is incredible seven to eight months out of the year, which makes it a huge destination for people to live and travel to.
In the warmer months, advised dog owners to watch for symptoms of heat distress such as: panting, hard breathing, elevated temperature, drooling, glazed eyes, throwing up, or diarrhea. Paying attention to them and ensuring they have access to shaded areas is vital, she said.
How to travel safely with dogs
And regardless of where folks are traveling — Phoenix or elsewhere — Dickerson advised people to always travel safely.
“Making sure you have the proper carriers and transportation for your pets and their medication,” Dickerson said. “Knowing where the closest vet clinic and emergency vet clinic is where you’re going and along the way especially if you’re driving.”
Dickerson advised owners to know their pet’s strengths when traveling. If they are not used to walking long distances or doing a specific exercise at home, trying them in a new place isn’t ideal.