Research: Florida and New Jersey’s ‘Canine Capitals’

August 3, 2022

At Excel Pest Services, we know everything about deterring unwanted pests – but not all furry houseguests are unwelcome. Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they can sure make life complicated. From eating out, to doggy-day care, pet ownership can sometimes feel like a logistical nightmare.

So, to help you pooch-proof your life, we’ve created a definitive guide to the best cities in New Jersey and Florida to live with your four-legged friend. Our study analyses seven factors (covering everything from dog parks to vet clinics) to reveal the best (and worst) residencies to raise a pup. Will our interactive tool convince you to pick up sticks and relocate?

Florida and New Jersey’s best in show:

Scoring in the top 10 for all factors, including the most dog-friendly restaurants and groomers per capita, is coastal city Clearwater.

But not far behind, Fort Lauderdale scoops up second place. The city also doesn’t miss a beat, and scores in the 10 for all factors with an impressive selection of dog-friendly diners (with 422 listed in the local area, the 2nd most per capita behind Clearwater).

Completing the top three is Orlando. Its theme parks may be more famous, but Orlando also boasts the best selection of dog parks in the study. With 301 parks to explore, it’s easy to keep dog walks fresh and interesting

infographics showing a family and their pet

From the sunshine state to the garden state, where should dog owners live in New Jersey? With a wealth of pet stores, groomers, pet sitters and doggie daycare options, Bayonne in Hudson County is a pet paradise.

Ranking top for five out of seven factors Union City is a worthy runner-up – but better missed if your hound needs a lot of exercise, as the city has one of the most limited choices of parks in the study.

Finally, in third position is Clifton. Clifton scores in the top 10 for all factors, and unlike Union City is a great place to move to for access to green space, with the 2nd most per capita in the state after Camden.

Pet peeved cities

Which cities in Florida and New Jersey fared the least well in the study? In Florida, Lehigh Acres tailed behind all other cities, scoring in the bottom three for all factors in the study. Spring Hill and Jacksonville didn’t do much better, with Spring Hill offering the least choice of parks, and Jacksonville let down by a lack of dog-friendly restaurants and pet–orientated businesses.

In New Jersey, Lakewood is the worst city to own a dog, followed by Franklin township (which was particularly dogged down by its scarcity of pet stores, groomers, and dog walkers) and Hamilton township (which has few dog-friendly restaurants).

Top picks per category

Some pups require a lot of pampering, others space to run wild and free – every dog (and every owner!) has a different set of priorities.

New Jerseyites who like to spoil their pets should check out the groomers and pet stores in Union City, whereas Floridians should consider Clearwater. Both cities came top of the rankings per state for pet stores and groomers, and both offer the largest selection of dog-friendly restaurants to sink your canines into.

If your dog would be happier with a stick and a roll in the mud than a chewie and a fresh hairdo, then Orlando in Florida and Camden in New Jersey are the greenest cities per state to relocate.

But very importantly, If you’re a jet-setter or often out of town, finding a dog sitter or dog daycare center you trust is vital. Pups in Brandon, Florida are in capable hands, as the city ranks either top or second-best for choice of pet sitters, walkers, and doggie daycare and boarding kennels in the state. In New Jersey, Union City offers busy pet-owners the most peace of mind, ranking top for dog walkers, sitters, daycare, and boarding kennels.

Whether you are thinking about moving somewhere more dog-friendly or simply curious to see how your city ranks, we hope this tool takes some of the stress out of dog ownership and inspires you and your mutt to explore the best of what your state has to offer.