Mars Petcare launched the "Keeping People and Pets Together" report, which draws insights from consumer and shelter survey data to examine current trends in pet ownership. The report's findings center around the increased time families–including their pets–spent together and how the pandemic transformed the way we work, live and go about daily routines. The third annual report analyzes the strengthened relationships between people and their pets, as well as what is top of mind for pet parents in the year ahead, with a look across several key areas including: pets and emotional well-being, welcoming pets in more places (work, travel and play) and barriers to pet ownership.
"Keeping pets and pet parents at the center of everything we do allows us to focus on our purpose: A Better World for Pets," said Ikdeep Singh, regional president, Mars Petcare North America. "The insights from the 'Keeping People and Pets Together' Report will help us continue to drive data-driven innovation in pet care and nutrition–and help fuel our ambition to create a world where all pets are wanted, cared for and welcome."
The Mars Petcare "Keeping People and Pets Together" Report key findings1 include:
An Increased Emotional Bond:
- Through the challenges of the pandemic, pets have been a source of joy. 80% of pet parents said they were able to spend more time than usual with their pets during the pandemic, 84% felt that the time together increased their emotional bond and 90% of pet parents say they want to spend as much time with pets going forward as they did last year.
- 63% would feel more comfortable at a social gathering with friends or family if they were able to bring their pets, and 42% say doing so would make their pets feel less lonely or anxious.
Pet Parents Want their Pets with Them: Work, Travel and Play:
- 89% say it's important they can continue to spend time with pets during the workday. For those who got a pet during the pandemic, that number rises to 95%.
- 72% of those working from home say they want to be able to take pets to work and, for those that are returning to work, 79% are concerned about pets' health or well-being.
- 65% of pet parents say they're likely to bring pets with them as they travel; 8 out of 10 Millennials and 85% of Gen Z pet parents prioritize finding pet-friendly accommodations when they travel.
- The majority of pet parents would feel more comfortable in public spaces like restaurant patios (59%) or outdoor stores or events (57%) if they were able to bring their pets.
Despite Growing Bonds, There are Challenges to Pet Ownership:
- 70% noted the lack of pet-friendly housing is a limitation to adopting pets, with dogs (54%) and cats (38%) being particularly difficult to own in apartments.
- About 6 in 10 of Gen Z and millennial pet parents have or are considering moving to a new home with more outdoor space for their pets.
Mars Petcare Launches First-Ever State of Pet Homelessness Index
The findings from the "Keeping People and Pets Together" report are grounded in Mars Petcare's first-ever State of Pet Homelessness Index, which measures the scale of pet homelessness. The Index, launched globally, leverages quantitative research from more than 200 global and local sources, and counsel from leading animal welfare experts and organizations, to better understand the problem and the best ways to make a meaningful impact.
According to the first-of-its-kind State of Pet Homelessness Index, the U.S. scores 6.4 out of 10–where 10 represents no pet homelessness. The Index looks at three main factors:
- All Pets Wanted (5.9): Evaluating spay/neuter and responsible breeding practices, roaming and stray populations, disease prevention and cultural attitudes toward pet ownership
- All Pets Cared For (6.3): Evaluating rates of shelter adoption and pet ownership, assessing shelter pain points and access to veterinary care
- All Pets Welcome (7.2): Evaluating barriers to responsible pet ownership, as well as government support and policy
Challenges contributing to pet homelessness in the U.S., as identified by the Index, include:2
- Perceived costs of dog ownership (56%)
- Modest awareness of fostering opportunities (43% were interested in cats and 48% were interested in fostering dogs)
- Lower desire to adopt from shelters (33% said they would not consider adopting from a shelter)
Within the Index, the U.S. scored highest in the "All Pets Welcome" and "All Pets Cared For" categories. Mars Petcare has contributed to these key categories through various efforts that further our ambition to help end pet homelessness, including:
- The BETTER CITIES FOR PETS program, a research-based model for pet-friendly policies and practices, provides counsel and resources to cities and pet parents, and has donated $1 million in pet food and more than $1 million in grants to cities looking to make their communities more welcoming of pets since 2017.
- PEDIGREE Foundation, which has provided more than $9 million in grants to shelters and rescues across the country since 2008 and regularly contributes to key transport and behavioral-focused programs in the animal welfare community.
- Mars Pet Nutrition Brands (PEDIGREE, NUTRO, IAMS, SHEBA and many others) have donated more than $88 million in pet food to shelters over the last 10 years.
While positive strides have already been made, there's still work to be done. Mars Petcare and its family of brands will continue to introduce programs that help to ensure more pets are wanted, cared for and welcome in support of the company's global purpose: A Better World for Pets.
To read the "Keeping People and Pets Together" report and learn more about how Mars Petcare is furthering its purpose, visit BetterCitiesforPets.com/2021report. To find out how to get involved, visit BetterCitiesforPets.com and EndPetHomelessness.com.