Benefits of Making Pets Welcome

Why are pets good for business? Because there are more pet owners than ever, and research shows they want to spend more time with their pets than ever before.

Here are statistics that show how people think about pets and the impact they have on those around them.

According to the 2023-24 American Pet Products Association (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey:

  • 66% of U.S. households own a pet.
  • An estimated 23 million households added a new pet during the pandemic.
  • Over 65 million have a least one dog and over 46 million have one or more cats.
  • Millennials are the largest pet-owning demographic, at 33%.

During the pandemic, many people have come to count on their pets more than ever:

  • 80% of pet parents say they were able to spend more time than usual with their pets during the pandemic.
  • 84% felt that the time together increased their emotional bond.
  • 90% say they want to spend as much time with pets going forward as they did last year.
  • 62% say having pets with them is important to their mental health in the post-pandemic world.

Pets are an opportunity for businesses:

  • In 2020, U.S. pet parents spent an estimated $103 billion on pets.
  • 76% of millennials said they’re more likely to splurge on their pet than themselves.
  • Our “Keeping People and Pets Together” research found over 55% of pet parents said having a pet along would make them more comfortable at outdoor restaurants and events.
  • 65% of pet parents say they’re likely to bring pets with them on future travel. That number is even higher for Millennials (84%) and Gen Z (77%).
  • 47% would cancel a vacation that wasn’t pet friendly to avoid leaving their best friend behind.
  • Over 80% of Millennial and Gen Z pet parents prioritize finding pet-friendly accommodations when they travel.
  • In a survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Mars Petcare, 63% of U.S. mayors surveyed said pet-friendly policies and amenities can attract additional traffic to retail establishments.
  • 82% of mayors said providing pet-friendly amenities can have an overall positive economic impact in their community.

In our Pets Welcome pilot, our survey of the pilot community (Franklin, TN) found that:

  • 79% of residents surveyed said they value pets being welcome in businesses.
  • 56% of business owners strongly agreed that pet-friendly businesses are good for the community.
  • 65% of residents said having pets around helps build social connections.
  • 49% of residents said they are more likely to visit a business that’s pet friendly.
  • 48% of business owners said more pet-friendly policies would increase pedestrian traffic to the downtown area.

Pets in workplaces are valued too, now perhaps more than ever:

  • 89% of pet parents say it’s important they can continue to spend time with pets during the workday going forward.
  • 72% of those working at home say they want to be able to take pets to work and, for those that are returning to work, 79% are concerned about pets’ health or well-being.
  • 64% of Gen Z and 56% of Millennials say they’d switch to a new job or reduce work hours to spend more time with pets.

The health and companionship benefits for people who spend time with pets are widely documented, bringing positive impacts for your customers, employees and community:

  • The presence of dogs increases the number and length of people’s conversations with others in the community. (Jenkinson et al 2010)
  • Pet owners are significantly more likely to form friendships in their neighborhood than non-pet owners. (Wood et al 2015)
  • Numerous studies have suggested dog walking is a great way to increase physical activity and may help reduce rates of obesity. (Timperio et al 2008)
  • Pet owners feel less afraid of being a victim of crime when walking with a dog or sharing a residence with a dog. (Serpell et al 1991)
  • Pet owners tend to visit doctors less often and spend less money on medication. (Heady et al 2007)
  • Having a pet reduces blood pressure and lowers the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol. (Friedman et al 2010)
  • 94% of heart patients with pets survive serious heart attacks, compared to only 72% without pets. (Friedman et al 2010)
  • Kids who grow up with pets tend to have greater self-esteem, less loneliness and enhanced social skills. (Purewal et al 2017)
  • For those who have lost a spouse, pet ownership and a strong attachment to a pet is associated with significantly less depression. (Garrity et al 1989)

Want more tips? Check out the Pets Welcome Toolkit for info about how to launch a pet-friendly business initiative that can benefit businesses, pet parents and pets.


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