Scottsdale: A pet’s paradise?

Scottsdale native Jackie Griffin’s wedding at Montelucia Resort and Spa in Paradise Valley featured some very unlikely guests — her three poodles.

“We had three junior bridesmaids each walk (the dogs) down the aisle,” said Griffin, owner of Oh My Dog! Boutique and Spa in Scottsdale, recalling the 2012 nuptials. “They’re members of our family.”

It might be no surprise, then, that Griffin makes a living helping people pamper their pets.

Among the offerings at her pet boutique are grooming and dog massages, hair painting, “pawdicures,” and luxury clothing for Fido.

“Right here in Old Town, there are so many places that are dog friendly,” Griffin said.

Scottsdale’s high number of pet businesses per capita — second in the country only to Anaheim— was one reason the city ranks as one of the best places for pet lovers, according to WalletHub, a financial-advice website.

In a 2014 report by WalletHub, Scottsdale ranked third out of the 100 largest cities in the country for pet friendliness.

The website rated cities based on more than a dozen metrics, including veterinarian costs, dog parks and pet-centric offerings.

“By preparing this information, current and future animal owners can enjoy the company of their pets without breaking the bank,” the website said.

Scottsdale came in first for pet health care and wellness, one of the three main categories in the report. The other categories were outdoors and pet budget.

The category looked at pet-friendly restaurants, caretakers, businesses and veterinarians per capita, as well as the percentage of pet-friendly hotels, meet-up groups and housing size, according to WalletHub.

The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort Spa, on Doubletree Ranch Road, lets guests know immediately that their four-legged family members are welcome. There’s a cookie jar with dog treats at the front desk.

Furry guests receive all-natural gourmet treats, a toy, a specially made Labor of Love bed, suggested walking routes on the property, food and water dishes, and pet food available at its 24-hour market.

“We have cats and we have dogs, but we see a lot more dogs,” said Ann Lane, the resort’s director of public relations. “It’s amazing how many travelers you see now with four-legged ‘kids.’ We sure see the little guys around a lot and it’s fun, it makes people happy.”

Pet-friendly rooms are on a designated side of the building so guests can walk directly outside to a grassy area that overlooks the water, she said.

Other pet-friendly resorts include downtown’s Hotel Valley Ho, where dogs and cats stay for free, and amenities include doggie treats, a double-sided bowl for water and food, a pick-up-after-your-pet bag, and a “Pet in Room” sign. Pets also are welcome to enjoy the hotel’s grounds and courtyards.

The Princess Pets program at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort includes a gift set featuring a plush bed, food and water bowls, pet toys and treats. Also, the concierge can point out nearby walking paths, parks and grassy areas suitable for four-legged friends.

There’s no reason to leave your dog at home when dining at numerous Scottsdale restaurants. AZ 88, a bar and restaurant on downtown’s Scottsdale Mall, allows dogs on its expansive patio.

AZ 88 is celebrating its 25th year in business.

“People love to bring their dogs,” said Robert Gillespie, a manager. “I think we have the best patio in Old Town Scottsdale and dogs are welcome. Our patio overlooks the Civic Center courtyards. It’s a great place where they can walk their dog right out there.”

Other dog-friendly restaurants include Randy’s Restaurant on Chaparral Road, Duke’s Sports Bar Grill on McDowell Road, and Cold Beers Cheeseburgers on Scottsdale Road.

As for dessert, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Ice Cream and Cookies offers a sugar-free doggie cupcake, which is especially popular at the Scottsdale location across from Scottsdale Fashion Square. Sprinkles opened in 2008.

“Sprinkles founder Candace Nelson spent two years prior developing cupcake recipes in her home kitchen in west Hollywood,” spokeswoman Nicole Schwartz said. “She found Honey, her little Norwich terrier, was always scouring the kitchen floor hoping for dropped pieces. Candace quickly came to realize that she had to make a treat just for Honey which she could safely enjoy.”

Outside of Scottsdale, Fountain Hills is looking to bolster its reputation as a pet-friendly community. It recently added a new Pet Friendly Fountain Hills section at fh.az.gov that lists all of the amenities for dogs and cats.

“We’re now officially a great place for your pet to call home,” Mayor Linda Kavanagh said.

The WalletHub report also looked at dog parks per capita.

Scottsdale has three off-leash areas for dogs, the busiest being Chaparral Dog Park at Hayden Road and McDonald Drive.

“I think what makes it so popular is the cleanliness of the park,” said Scott Anderson, recreation supervisor with the city. “We pride ourselves that two days a week we do maintenance.”

The closures for mowing and irrigation work occur from 8 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Fridays, he said.

Anderson said Chaparral Dog Park draws more than 300,000 visitors annually, not including dogs.

Scottsdale officials have discussed the possibility of a fourth dog park, said Tim Barnard, a parks and recreation manager. The site they have considered is at the southwestern corner of Thompson Peak Parkway and Hayden Road— an undeveloped parcel of Thompson Peak Park under the power-line corridor, Barnard said. There is no funding at this time, he said.

Best cities for pet lovers

1. Cincinnati

2. Las Vegas

3. Scottsdale

4. Irvine, Calif.

5. Sacramento

6. Atlanta

7. Tampa

8. St. Louis, Mo.

9. Orlando

10. Glendale

Source: WalletHub ranked the 100 largest cities in the country based on their pet-friendliness

Article source: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/scottsdale/2014/09/21/scottsdale-pets-paradise/15998615/