(Family Features) When pets are present, people and communities thrive. The benefits of pets have long been discussed, but surveys and studies have started to prove their positive impact.
A consumer survey conducted by Mars Petcare revealed that 82% of pet owners believe their furry friends have made a positive impact on their lives. From helping facilitate social connections to increasing levels of daily exercise and improving mental health, pets can make a difference in communities.
As people look to spend more time with their pets, city officials are taking steps to become more accommodating for people and pets.
"We know pets make our lives better and can bring so much to our communities, which is why we launched the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS program," said Lisa Campbell, Mars Petcare director of external affairs. "Through the program, we've partnered with government officials and citizens all across the country - providing tools, resources and grant dollars to help make their cities more pet-friendly."
As part of the program, cities across North America are being recognized for pet-friendly efforts through the BETTER CITY FOR PETS certification, which evaluates cities based on pet-friendliness in businesses, parks, shelters and homes. Consider these ways communities are making pets more welcome:
Shelter Spruce Ups
Pet-friendly cities are attentive to local shelter needs. Offering homeless pets a warm and welcome environment not only improves their quality of life, but encourages pets to relax and show shelter visitors their authentic personalities. An inviting environment can lead to more visits from potential pet owners and engaged volunteers.
Expanding Pet-Friendly Housing
There are more than 85 million pet-owning households in the United States today, but in many cities, pet-friendly housing is difficult to find. In fact, 77% of survey respondents said they would like to see more pet-friendly housing options. By enabling more pet-friendly housing, renters can be more confident in their decisions to prioritize their pet's needs.
Designated Outdoor Spaces
When you find the perfect home for you and your pet, balancing time spent inside and outdoors is key. In the survey from Mars Petcare, 70% of pet owners said they interact with other pet parents at local pet-friendly green spaces at least weekly. To become more pet-friendly, cities can provide amenities like waste stations and signage to encourage visitors to keep areas clean for fellow community members. Additionally, offering designated green spaces for dogs is a way to give pet owners a place to socialize with their pups.
Allowing pets on patios and inside stores and restaurants makes spending time with pets easier and more enjoyable, and can increase foot traffic to local businesses. In fact, within the survey, 61% of pet owners said they would stay longer at a bar, cafe or restaurant if they could have their pets with them.
Workplaces, such as Mars Petcare, make it easy to bring pets to work by providing pet-friendly office features and amenities like Wi-Fi-enabled dog parks, furniture with pet-friendly fabric, indoor dog play areas with full-time pet-sitters and outdoor green spaces with pet-friendly landscaping. Find more information at BetterCitiesforPets.com.
Photos courtesy of Fotolia