Science tells us that when people have a pet, they tend to get more exercise, report less loneliness and stress, and have stronger social ties. That’s probably why more people than ever before see pets as family. They make our lives better, and we want to spend as much time with them as we can.

The BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program helps cities be pet-friendly so more people can enjoy the benefits of a life with pets. It was created by Mars Petcare and includes a playbook for cities, an assessment tool, a city certification program, and free online resources.

The 12 Traits of
Pet-Friendly Cities

The BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ model highlights key focus areas across four pillars: shelters, homes, parks and businesses. Essential to each trait is the expectation of responsible pet ownership and how the bond between people and pets makes us all healthier.

Learn About the 12 Traits of Pet-Friendly Cities

1 - 3: Shelters
4 - 6: Homes
7 - 9: Parks
10 - 12: Businesses

Partners Collaborate to End Pet Homelessness

By uniting local shelters, rescues, foster programs and animal control, cities can identify gaps and areas of overlap for the greatest impact with the resources available.

Shelters are Warm and Welcoming to Encourage Adoption

When shelter pets are relaxed, their personalities shine through and they’re more likely to be adopted. Happy, friendly shelters also attract more visitors who may take home a pet.

Community Cat Programs Humanely Address Overpopulation

Trap-Neuter-Return initiatives allow cats to live out their lives within their cat colony, while not breeding more unwanted cats. That’s good for cities and cats.

Pet-friendly housing options exist for all families and pets

Did you know moving is a top reason people surrender pets to shelters? With pet-friendly housing options – especially for renters – cities enable pet ownership and all its benefits.

In tough times, support exists to help keep pets in homes

Too often, pets end up homeless because of short-term problems, like a financial issue for their owner. If cities can offer support, it helps keep pets with their families.

Pet owners have support to make responsible choices for their pets

With low-cost spay/neuter, local veterinary options and responsible pet ownership education, cities help pet owners keep pets healthy and in homes.

Pet needs are included in city, park and green space planning

Having room to run helps dogs be healthy and relaxed. Plus, playing with other dogs helps improve social skills – and gives pet owners a chance to connect.

Public pet amenities support good health for all

Pet waste stations, water fountains and other amenities make cities cleaner and healthier. They even help those without pets, since they make it easier for pet owners to act responsibly.

People know the expectations for pets in public places

When pet owners understand their responsibilities – like keeping dogs leashed – it helps everyone stay safe and have a good time. Cities can make expectations clear with signage and education.

Businesses make it easy to be out with your pet

We believe pets are good for business. People want their pets with them as they run errands and stop for meals. With a pet along, people may stay longer and spend more.

Traveling with dogs and cats is accessible and affordable

It can be tough to find pet-friendly transportation – both when traveling and in your home town. For those without cars, especially, this makes it hard to live, work, play with and care for pets.

Workplaces know and support the benefits of pets at work

Pets at work can boost morale, build a sense of community and get people out for regular walking breaks – all things that are good for health and collaboration.

Pet-Friendly Certification

Find out how your city can get certified pet-friendly.

See How You Can Help

Get started by downloading our Playbook for Pet-Friendly Cities.