Atlanta in top 15 of pet friendly cities

Americans spend about $109.6 billion a year on their furry, feathered and scaly family members

Our pets have been there for us during the pandemic, keeping us company as we locked down at home and relieving our stress with their snuggles and kisses.

Nearly 85 million U.S. households have a pet, spending $109.6 billion a year on their furry, feathered and scaly family members, according to the American Pet Products Association. So it’s natural we want them to live long, healthy lives.

Pets need more than annual checkups and a tree, however, and not all cities are equally animal friendly. To determine 2021′s most pet-friendly places in America, WalletHub compared the 100 most populated cities across three key dimensions: pet budget, pet health and wellness, and outdoor pet friendliness.

The financial website evaluated those dimensions using 23 relevant metrics, each graded on a 100 point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for pets and their owners.

When all the numbers were tallied, Scottsdale, Arizona, came out on top with score of 63.28.

Although Atlanta didn’t make the top 10, we weren’t far outside. With a score of 56.82, the city finished at No. 12.

In each dimension, Atlanta ranked:

Pet budget: 25th

Pet health and wellness: 11th

Outdoor pet friendliness: 56th

WalletHub’s analysis also found Atlanta has the fifth lowest dog insurance premiums and the fourth most animal shelters per capita.

“Caring for an animal will always have expenses associated with it (yes, even your goldfish!), but it can be very rewarding and a wonderful investment,” said Lindsay R. Mehrkam assistant professor of psychology at Monmouth University. “At the same time … families should consider the species of animal carefully and do some background research about the animal and talk to professionals (veterinarian, a reputable pet store employee and other experienced owners) to get a realistic idea of the costs, both in preparing to bring your pet home and in the long-term.”