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Report Zeros in On How Pet Ownership is Shaping Communities


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More businesses are evolving their retail experiences and catering to pet owners, according to a new report by Mars Petcare and its Better Cities for Pets program. Specifically, business owners are educating shoppers and offering new amenities such as in-store pet sitting and pet-friendly decals in their storefronts for easy navigation.

The report was launched as a way to see how pet ownership is shaping communities.

“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,” said Mark Johnson, president of Mars Petcare North America. “We created this report using data and insights from our collaboration with government officials and consumers across the country. 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.”

Other trends revealed in the report: Rental property owners are increasing their pet-friendly amenities; more employers are welcoming pets into the workplace to maintain and attract new talent and increase productivity; pet-friendly dining options are increasing, especially as pets on patio legislation becomes more popular; shelters are sprucing up their environments; cities are transforming parking lots, street corners and sidewalks to establish gathering spaces for both people and pets; and more political leaders are advocating for animal rights and pet welfare as their constituents demand change.

Key data points that emerged: 92 percent of Better Cities for Pets certified cities surveyed said that they have local programs that distribute pet food for families in need; 87 percent of employers said that being dog-friendly helps them attract and retain more talent; 60 percent of city officials said that they are now taking pets into account when planning their green space; and 41 percent of cities said pets are welcome in most rental housing.

Mars Petcare launched Better Cities for Pets certification earlier this year 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. To date, 31 cities have received the certification.

Mars Petcare also 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.

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