Pet-friendly communities are becoming more commonplace. According to the American Pet Products Association®, 65 percent of U.S. households own a pet. We’re sharing our homes with 85.8 million cats, 77.8 million dogs and 36 million birds, reptiles and small animals. These furry, funny and feathered friends are more than just companions—they’re good for our health. WebMD® says pet ownership can lower blood pressure, decrease anxiety and boost immunity.
If you’re looking for a way to welcome man’s best friends and those who love them, keep reading for several tips on becoming a pet-friendly community:
- Welcome new pets: Getting a four-legged friend licensed is an important first step of pet ownership. In addition to being the law in most states, licensing your pet increases the chance a lost pet will be reunited with its owner, and it keeps communities safe by ensuring pets are vaccinated against rabies. Also, in many communities, the licensing fee goes toward supporting local animal shelters. Pet registration provides agencies the perfect opportunity to promote these benefits and to show they are a pet-friendly city or county. Welcome new furry friends by including a cat or dog collar with new registration tags. For their two-legged counterparts, toss in a magnet imprinted with important information on pet licensing.
- Parks and recreation: Pet owners want to enjoy the outdoors with their pets. Does your community make that easy to do? Are leashed pets allowed in parks and on walking trails? Or does your community boast a designated off-leash park for pets? These are important when it comes to being considered a pet-friendly community. Promote your pet-friendly parks with a community pet day where participants get a free gift for attending—pet bandana, bag dispensers and collapsible pet bowls are useful gifts. People with or without pets may appreciate pet-friendly parks and recreation trails that make it easy to pick up pet waste. Get the job done by placing pet-waste stations along the way.
- Subsidized spay-and-neuter programs: Pet-friendly cities understand that actions speak louder than words. Perhaps this is why some communities are opting to provide subsidized spay and neuter programs for low-income pet owners. Pet lovers everywhere can appreciate efforts made to curb the overpopulation of unwanted pets. If these or similar benefits are offered in your community, let the people know. Imprint Clip ‘N Scoops or pet litter scoopswith a link to more information and distribute them at area shelters, pet stores and veterinary offices.
- Pet-friendly policies: Does your agency have a policy that welcomes pets? A Virginia Commonwealth University study found pets at work can lower stress and increase job satisfaction. Consider welcoming four-legged friends for occasional visits—you’ll not only show your pet-friendliness, you may also increase employee happiness and productivity. Be sure to have some dog bones or other animal treats on hand to show your furry visitors some love.
Becoming a pet-friendly community is easier than you think. Embrace new pets with a little welcome gift, provide lots of outdoor space for animals and their companions to frolic, and roll out the red carpet for man’s best friend with some pet-friendly policies. You’ll be appreciated for a doggone good job!