Traits of Pet-Friendly Cities

Traits of Pet-Friendly Cities

Bags packed? Check. Beloved pets in tow? Check. Pet-friendly destination booked? Check. But ever wonder what makes a destination pet-friendly? To make the benefits of pets accessible to as many people as possible, Mars Petcare BETTER CITY FOR PETS developed a model for pet-friendly cities. It highlights 12 key traits for cities to focus on, as well as the fundamentals that support them. The model is divided into four pillars:

  • SHELTERS: Pet-friendly cities have fewer pets in shelters and more pets in loving homes
  • HOMES: Pet-friendly cities have open housing policies and enable pet ownership
  • PARKS: Pet-friendly cities have green space and amenities for healthy outdoor time with pets
  • BUSINESSES: Pet-friendly cities have programs and policies that make pets welcome

Around its outer edge, the model highlights two fundamentals of pet-friendly cities:

  • HEALTHY PETS AND PEOPLE: In pet-friendly cities, people have access to the many benefits of time spent with pets, from companionship to exercise to increased social connections. Keeping pets healthy, in turn, can extend and enhance the time we get to spend with them.
  • RESPONSIBLE PET OWNERSHIP: In pet-friendly cities, pet owners know how to care for their pets and act responsibly toward other people and pets.

What are the 12 traits in the model?


  1. Partners collaborate to end pet homelessness
  2. Shelters are warm and welcoming to encourage adoption
  3. Community cat programs humanely address overpopulation


  1. Pet-friendly housing options exist for all families
  2. Pet ownership is not restricted by breed or size bans
  3. Amenities are available that help pets and pet owners


  1. Pet needs are included in green space, park and city planning
  2. Pet hydration and waste stations are plentiful and easy to find
  3. People know the expectations for pets in public places


  1. Retail and restaurants make it easy to be out with your pet
  2. Traveling with pets is accessible, safe and affordable
  3. Workplaces know and support the benefits of pets at work

Read the Playbook for Pet-Friendly Cities to learn more about each of the 12 traits.

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