To make the benefits of pets accessible to as many people as possible, we developed a model for pet-friendly cities. It highlights 12 key traits for cities to focus on, as well as the fundamentals that support them.

The model is divided into four pillars:

  • SHELTERS: Pet-friendly cities have fewer pets in shelters and more pets in loving homes.
  • HOMES: Pet-friendly cities have open housing policies and enable pet ownership.
  • PARKS: Pet-friendly cities have green space and amenities for healthy outdoor time with pets.
  • BUSINESSES: Pet-friendly cities have programs and policies that make pets welcome.

It also highlights fundamentals of pet-friendly cities:

  • HEALTHY PETS AND PEOPLE: In pet-friendly cities, people have access to the many benefits of time spent with pets, from companionship to exercise to increased social connections. Keeping pets healthy, in turn, can extend and enhance the time we get to spend with them.
  • RESPONSIBLE PET OWNERSHIP: In pet-friendly cities, pet owners know how to care for their pets and act responsibly toward other people and pets.

What are the 12 traits in the model?


  • Partners collaborate to end pet homelessness
  • Shelters are warm and welcoming to encourage adoption
  • Community cat programs humanely address overpopulation


  • Pet-friendly housing options exist for all families and pets
  • In tough times, support exists to help keep pets in homes
  • Pet amenities are available in housing and neighborhoods


  • Pet needs are included in city, park and green space planning
  • Public pet amenities support good health for all
  • People know the expectations for pets in public places


  • Businesses make it easy to be out with your pet
  • Traveling with dogs and cats is accessible and affordable
  • Workplaces know and support the benefits of pets at work

Read the Playbook for Pet-Friendly Cities to learn more about each of the 12 traits.

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