Why Be Pet-Friendly?

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.

Pet-Friendliness is Good for Your Health

Welcoming pets is not simply good for animals — it’s good for people too.

Pets Make Life More Enjoyable

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.

90%

adults aged 50–80 who reported that their pets help 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.

Pets in the home are linked to better health outcomes

57%

reduction in symptoms of allergies among children in homes with dogs

30%

reduction in likelihood of having a heart attack among cat owners

72%

older adults who say pets help them cope with physical or emotional health issues

90%

pet owners who say pets help them enjoy life and feel loved

Pet-Friendliness is Good for Business

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.

Pet-Friendly Workplace Policies Boost Staff Morale and Satisfaction

Companies without
pet-friendly policies

53%

Companies with
pet-friendly policies

91%

employees who feel their companies support their mental well-being

Pet-Friendliness is Good for Housing

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

Pet-Friendly housing and property management policies boost property values and rental revenues

81%

households that say animal-related considerations play a role in choosing where they’ll live next

72%

renters who currently own one or more pets

74%

mayors who believe that pet-friendly amenities can improve tenant stability and reduce turnover

81%

mayors who believe that pet-friendly amenities can increase residential property values

Want to Make Your City Pet-Friendlier?

Despite the many benefits pets have to offer, some communities still aren’t as welcoming to pets as they could be. Learn more about some of the common barriers to implementing pet-friendly policies and what you can do to help overcome them.

Learn More

Mars Petcare's Better Cities for Pets™ program features a comprehensive set of materials and resources designed to help you develop practical strategies for improving the pet-friendliness of your community.

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