BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ Annual Report Highlights Seven Pet-Friendly Trends

Inaugural Report Shares the State of Pet-Friendly Cities

FRANKLIN, Tenn., November 5, 2019 Today, Mars Petcare and its BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program released its first Annual Report, demonstrating how pet ownership is shaping our communities. From housing and business policy to overarching economic health, pets are making a profound impact on our lives and thus the decisions to be more inclusive made by businesses, shelters and government. As part of the report, Mars Petcare has identified seven emerging trends in pet-friendly cities that are leading the way.

“We’re excited to share the inaugural BETTER CITIES FOR PETS Annual Report, which highlights the latest trends in pet-friendly cities and what citizens want to see in their own communities. We created this report using data and insights from our collaboration with government officials and consumers across the country,” said Mark Johnson, President of Mars Petcare North America. “We look forward to following the journey of these cities as they continue to make progress, and we hope that this report serves as inspiration for other communities looking to drive change and welcome pets.”

Here are the seven trends to watch:

  • From “Pet-Friendly” to “Pet-Optimized” Pads: With the rise of people owning pets, rental property owners are increasing their pet-friendly amenities to offer more upscale, convenience-driven options.
  • Open for Business: Businesses are evolving their retail experiences and catering to pet owners by educating shoppers and offering new amenities like in-store pet-sitting and pet-friendly decals in their storefronts for easy navigation.
  • Pets as a Work Perk: An increasing number of employers are welcoming four-legged friends into the workplace to maintain and attract new talent and increase productivity.
  • Beyond Doggy Bags: Unique dining options for pooches and their human parents are growing across the country as pets on patio legislation becomes more popular.
  • Bringing Zen to Shelters: Shelters are sprucing up their environments to attract more potential adoptive families and make pets feel more at ease in their temporary homes.
  • Reclaiming Public Space: From Parklets to “Barklets”: Cities everywhere are transforming parking lots, street corners and sidewalks to establish gathering spaces for people and pets alike.
  • Pet “Paw-litics”: An increasing number of political leaders are advocating for animal rights and pet welfare as more of their constituents demand change.

Report Methodology:

This year, Mars Petcare introduced the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ certification to celebrate cities that have implemented pet-friendly programs and policies and committed to expanding their efforts to make people and pets welcome. To become certified, cities shared data on existing and future pet-friendly features related to the 12 traits of a pet-friendly city across the areas of businesses, parks, shelters and homes. Similarly, the company rolled out a consumer assessment, allowing citizens everywhere to offer input on the status of their city and what they’d like to see change.

The BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ Annual Report leverages data and insights from certified pet-friendly cities, consumer assessments, a consumer survey and recent studies from the WALTHAM™ Centre for Pet Nutrition and Banfield™ Pet Hospital.

Key Data Points:

Key data points within the complete Annual Report include:

  • Ninety-two (92) percent of BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ certified cities surveyed said they have local programs that distribute pet food for families in need.[1]
  • Eighty-seven (87) percent of employers say being dog-friendly helps them attract and retain more talent.[2]
  • A majority of cities (60 percent) say they’re now taking pets into account when planning their green space.1
  • Only 41% of cities said pets are welcome in most rental housing.1

Certified Cities:

To-date, 31 cities have received the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS certification, including:

  • Arlington, Texas
  • Bentonville, Ark.
  • Bloomington, Ind.
  • Calumet City, Ill.
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Downey, Calif.
  • Fort Wayne, Ind.
  • Franklin, Tenn.
  • Gresham, Ohio
  • Hallandale Beach, Fla.
  • Henderson, Nev.
  • Houston, Texas
  • Key West, Fla.
  • Laguna Niguel, Calif.
  • Meaford, Ont., Canada
  • Memphis, Tenn.
  • Miami, Fla.
  • Miami Lakes, Fla.
  • Nashville, Tenn.
  • Oakland, Calif.
  • Plano, Texas
  • Port St. Lucie, Fla.
  • Reno, Nev.
  • Rochester, Mich.
  • Royalton, Minn.
  • Santa Clarita, Calif.
  • Southport, N.C.
  • St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • Topeka, Kan.
  • Tucson, Ariz.

To view the full BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ Annual Report, please visit For more information on the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program and how to become certified, visit  

The BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program was created by Mars Petcare US, the world’s leading pet nutrition and health care business, to help communities become more pet-friendly by bringing the voice of pets and their owners to places of influence and advocating for fewer pets in shelters, more pet-friendly places, and happier, healthier lives for both people and pets. Mars Petcare works with key partners, businesses and local governments to better understand how to improve communities by: providing safe and welcoming shelters that lead to forever homes; encouraging pet-friendly, responsible homes for pets; welcoming more pets into local businesses, and giving pets plenty of park space to play. For more information about Mars Petcare and the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program, visit

About Mars Petcare
Mars Petcare is a diverse and growing business with 85,000 Associates across 50+ countries dedicated to one purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS™. With 75 years of experience, our portfolio of almost 50 brands serves the health and nutrition needs of the world’s pets – including brands PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, ROYAL CANIN®, NUTRO™, GREENIES™, SHEBA®, CESAR®, IAMS™ and EUKANUBA™ as well as The WALTHAM™ Centre for Pet Nutrition which has advanced research in the nutrition and health of pets for over 50 years. Mars Petcare is also a leading veterinary health provider through a network of over 2,000 pet hospitals including BANFIELD™, BLUEPEARL™, PET PARTNERS™, VCA™, LINNAEUS™ and ANICURA™. We’re also active in innovation and technology for pets, with WISDOM PANEL™ genetic health screening and DNA testing for dogs, the WHISTLE™ GPS dog tracker, and LEAP VENTURE STUDIO accelerator and COMPANION FUND™ programs that drive innovation and disruption in the pet care industry. As a family business and guided by our principles, we are privileged with the flexibility to fight for what we believe in – and we choose to fight for: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS.

[1] BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ City Assessment: The assessment cities complete when applying to be certified by the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program. Assessment data reported in this book reflects responses from the 31 cities who earned certification. Learn more at

[2] Pet-Friendly Workplace Survey: Conducted by OnePoll in May 2018 on behalf of the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program with a sample of 1,000 U.S. employees and 2,000 U.S. employers. See the full results at

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