Pets are family

Tens of millions of families around the world have pets. If you’re one of them, you know pets are family. They enrich our lives and we can’t imagine being without them. Yet there are still many places where having a pet at home is a challenge. For example, many apartments have rules prohibiting pets or restricting them based on pet size or type.

In pet-friendly cities, there are plenty of pet-friendly housing options, and amenities like dog parks nearby to support pets and pet owners. Safety net programs help keep pets in homes during tough times. Likewise, emergency services and shelters recognize the importance of pets and help owners care for theirs.

Education helps pets and people

A key part of owning a pet is knowing how to keep them happy, healthy and safe. This means understanding where pets might be at risk and how to help, for example in hot cars in the summer. Pet-friendly cities educate about responsible pet ownership.

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Adapting Urban Environments for City Pets: A Q&A about Pet-Friendly Communities

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9 Disaster Preparedness Tips to Help Keep Your Pets Safe

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Homes: Traits 4, 5 and 6


Pet-friendly housing options exist for all families and pets

Despite the many ways pets make life better, it can be hard for pet owners to find places to live – especially if they rent instead of owning homes. They may face pet breed or size bans, a lack of pet policies, or unreasonably high fees for pets. In fact, moving is the number one reason people surrender their pets to shelters. But restrictive pet policies often discriminate unfairly. Pets, like people, are individuals. Behavior is determined by their training, experiences and the care given by their owner. There is little scientific evidence that there are innately “aggressive” breeds. Requirements related to size aren’t grounded in science either. Small dogs can be excitable and vocal, while large dogs are often docile and quiet. Size is not an indicator of how well a pet will succeed in a particular home. In pet-friendly cities, housing developments recognize that pets make people happier and healthier. They welcome pets and, in return, gain loyal tenants who are grateful for the chance to live a great life with their pets.

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In tough times, support exists to help keep pets in homes

When pets end up homeless, the reason often has nothing to do with them. A financial issue might mean their owner can’t afford pet supplies and food. A weather emergency might mean evacuating without them if shelters won’t accept pets. Other times, it’s a behavior issue, like a pet that keeps escaping the yard and an owner who can’t afford a taller fence. Or, a pet might act out, and the pet owner might not know how to deal with it other than surrendering the pet to a shelter. In pet-friendly cities, there are safety net programs to help. A pet owner in a tough financial situation might get free food from a shelter or food bank. Low-cost dog training can correct behavior problems and keep pets in homes. When animal welfare groups in a community collaborate, they can make sure pets don’t fall through the cracks and that pet owners get all the support available.

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Pet amenities are available in housing and neighborhoods

Over 80% of dog owners say their pet gives them companionship and love. Yet even with that powerful bond, some people choose not to have pets because the challenges where they live seem insurmountable. This can include not having pet relief areas within close walking distance. Or, not having nearby green space for dogs to get the exercise needed for health and good behavior. In pet-friendly cities, housing developments recognize the power of pets and take steps to make them welcome. Some now include water bowls in common areas and even have pet concierge services to arrange pet-sitting and dog walking. The result is happier, healthier residential communities – and that makes people want to move there and stay there to enjoy a great life with their pets.

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We’re happy to stay in touch to help as you make your city as pet-friendly as possible.

Thank you!

With the Playbook for Pet-Friendly Cities, you’re on your way to a happier, healthier place for people and pets alike.