Friday Funny: 25 Cities That Love Pets

Your dog’s tail will be wagging if you live in one of these 25 pet-friendly cities that just achieved the first-ever certification for welcoming four-legged friends.

The number of companies that are realizing the benefits of creating a pet-friendly workplace is on the rise. Now, it seems, communities are joining the trend and working to create friendly environments for both two- and four-legged citizens. The inaugural list of BETTER CITY FOR PETS™ certified cities includes 25 cities throughout North America that have made a commitment to continue improving their pet-friendly programs and policies. (With a total of five certified cities, Florida offers the most pet-friendly places.)

pet-friendly cities
(Credit: Getty Images)

Mars Petcare and experts from the Civic Design Center created the first-of-its-kind certification, which celebrates cities where people and pets can thrive together, as an extension of the Mars Petcare BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program. The program works with local governments, businesses, and non-profits to provide resources, tools, and grants that help communities make pets more welcome.

“On behalf of Mars Petcare, I want to thank and congratulate the 25 cities that have prioritized people and pets in their communities,” said Mark Johnson, President of Mars Petcare North America. “From helping people live healthier lives to creating social connections, pets can truly transform our communities. These certified cities are helping to make a more pet-friendly world and we hope that many more cities will join us in this commitment.”

It’s no surprise that pets have a positive impact on their owners’ emotional, physical, and social wellbeing: A recent survey of U.S. pet owners revealed that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) feel more relaxed and happy when they are with a pet. But pets can provide an economic advantage for businesses as well: 67 percent of pet owners say they are more likely to spend money at businesses that welcome pets, while 61 percent are more likely to stay longer at a bar, café, or restaurant if they can have their pet with them. And, almost half (44 percent) said they would accept reduced pay in exchange for allowing pets in the workplace.

The following cities are the first to achieve the new BETTER CITY FOR PETS certification:

pet-friendly cities
Click to enlarge image. (PRNewsfoto/Mars Petcare)
  • Bloomington, IN
  • Nashville, TN
  • Calumet City, IL
  • Oakland, CA
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Plano, TX
  • Dallas, TX
  • Port St. Lucie, FL
  • Fort Wayne, IN
  • Reno, NV
  • Franklin, TN
  • Rochester, MI
  • Hallandale Beach, FL
  • Royalton, MN
  • Henderson, NV
  • Santa Clarita, CA
  • Laguna Niguel, CA
  • Southport, NC
  • Meaford, Ont., Canada
  • St. Petersburg, FL
  • Memphis, TN
  • Topeka, KS
  • Miami Lakes, FL
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Miami, FL

Here are just a few examples of programs started in certified cities:

St. Petersburg, FL, winner of a 2019 grant from BETTER CITIES FOR PETS and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, created “St. Pete PAWS,” a program modeled after BETTER CITIES FOR PETS and dedicated to pet-friendly parks, businesses, and homes, as well as warm and welcoming shelters. The program provides the community with educational materials and pet-friendly resources such as an events calendar and an online pet-friendly business locator map. Through St. Pete PAWS, the city also recently launched the Mayor’s Pet-Friendly business certification program to further encourage pet-friendliness.

Franklin, TN, home to Mars Petcare North America headquarters, piloted the first ever BETTER CITIES FOR PETS “Pets Welcome” program in partnership with the Downtown Franklin Association to encourage businesses to welcome pets in their stores and on their patios. Since the pilot, nearly 100 businesses have opened their doors to people and their pets in the downtown area alone. In addition, the city frequently hosts pet-friendly community events, adoption events, and proactively shares responsible pet ownership materials.