Pets are a huge part of our lives. Over two-thirds of American households own a pet, and that number is on the rise — especially among Millennials. People are increasingly choosing to live with pets, and that impacts where they choose to work, play, and stay.
Welcoming pets is not simply good for animals — it’s good for people too.
In a a survey of older adults aged 50–80 conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, nearly 90% of pet owners said their animals helped them enjoy life and feel loved.
An overwhelming body of research suggests that pets offer us a wide range of benefits to our physical and mental health and well-being. Contact with pets has been shown to reduce stress and blood pressure, helping to improve cardiovascular health. Walking dogs brings us exercise and contact with fresh air and green spaces that make our hearts healthier and our brains happier. Among people who have had heart attacks, pet owners have higher survival rates than those who don’t own pets.
Pets also help us build stronger connections with our community. Pet owners tend to be perceived as being friendlier, more helpful, and more trusting than those who don’t own pets. Not only that, but pet owners also tend to exhibit higher levels of civic engagement too. Dog owners in particular are five times as likely to know their neighbors than people without dogs.
The American Pet Products Association estimates that the United States contains over 78 million pet dogs and over 85 million pet cats. Together, their owners spent an estimated $72.56 billion dollars on them in 2018, up from $69 billion in 2017.
Many pet owners will go to great lengths to spend more time with their pets. People will travel a long way for a pet-friendly café or to their trusted groomer. Once there, they tend to stay in the area, visiting local businesses and boosting the local economy.
Pet-friendliness doesn’t just help businesses bring in more customers, it can also improve the well-being of employees as well. A 2012 study exploring the effects of the presence of dogs at work on stress and perceptions of job satisfaction found that employees with dogs at work experienced a reduction in stress, while those without their dogs present or those who did not own a pet experienced an increase in stress levels.
Pets aren’t just good for us, they’re good for property values too!
In a Mars Petcare survey, 81% of mayors agreed that the inclusion of pet amenities raised the value of rental properties. Renters with pets have been shown to stay in leases for more than twice as long as renters without pets. Not only that, but pet-owning tenants tend to be more responsible than those who do not own pets.
Four out of five U.S. households say that animal-related considerations will play a role in determining where they will live next. With 72% of renters owning pets, choosing to adopt pet-friendly rental policies isn’t just good for the community, it’s good business sense too.Benefits of Pet-Friendly Housing
Pets have a lot to offer the workplace! The presence of pets can serve as an ice-breaker in social situations, easing introductions and relationships between co-workers and even clients and customers.
To more than 84 million families in the United States, pets are family. So much so that, for the majority of families, pets play a crucial role in their decisions about where they choose to live next.