As pet product sales continue to grow, grocery retailers may want to note the recent data from OneVet that ranks the 50 most populous U.S. cities based on how dog-fitness friendly they are — or aren’t.
As part of the ongoing trend of pet humanization, dog owners are exercising more frequently with their pets, and like humans themselves, the goal is to lower dogs’ blood pressure, decrease stress, and improve cardiovascular fitness, and burn off excess energy, the report says.
Among factors taken into consideration for the study, OneVet included the following: number of dog parks, number of hiking trails, miles of hiking trails, average walk score, number of dog trainers, the average dog walker’s fee and average temperature across seasons.
Healthy-dog owners are potential customers who spend more on their pets in top-ranking cities like St. Louis, Salt Lake City and Denver, while there may be an opportunity to grow their pet-care business in cities like Memphis, Jacksonville and Nashville, where dog fitness is more of a challenge.
No. 1 on the list was St. Louis and its wealth of hiking trails: It has just over 60 for every 100,000 residents, a better ratio than any other city. St. Louis was also fourth in combined hiking trail miles, competing with cities like second-place Phoenix and first-place Los Angeles, which are much larger in both size and population. St. Louis also came in sixth place for number of dog parks per 100,000 residents. As for average temperature, walkability, number of dog trainers, and average dog walking price, St. Louis finishes somewhere in the middle of the pack, but its standout hiking and park options earn Missouri’s Gateway to the West the top spot on the list.
After St. Louis, a major western city sits in every place from second to ninth. Three of these cities are in California, and the Golden State has two more cities that fall in the top 11 to 20. Los Angeles has a commanding hold on first place in combined hiking trail miles with 2,565 total.
One common theme among the bottom 10 cities is the lack of dog parks. Every single one, except for Nashville, has less than one park for every 100,000 residents. The seventh-worst city for dog fitness, Buffalo, is tied with Miami for the lowest combined hiking trail miles (eight) out of any of the 50 cities. Low-ranked Indianapolis actually has more dog trainers than any other city on the list (332) but likely ended up in the bottom 10 thanks to having the fourth-least number of dog parks per 100,000 residents and tying the otherwise dog fitness-friendly Raleigh for the fourth-worst walkability score.