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Mars Petcare Rolls Out Pet-Friendly Cities Certification

It’s an extension of the Better Cities for Pets program.




FRANKLIN, TN — Mars Petcare has announced the “Better City for Pets” certification.

The national certification is an extension of the Mars Petcare Better Cities for Pets program, which works with local government, businesses and non-profits “to help communities make our four-legged friends welcome, so everyone can enjoy the benefits of a life with cats and dogs,” according to a press release from Mars Petcare.

The certification will celebrate cities that recognize the importance of pets and have made progress toward becoming more pet-friendly.

“Cities across the country are making strides towards becoming more pet friendly, but there’s more work to be done,” said Mark Johnson, president of Mars Petcare North America. “Through this certification, we hope to inspire more cities to take real action that leads to a better quality of life for people and pets in their communities.”

Launched in 2017, the Mars Petcare Better Cities for Pets program “is rooted in insights and data that pets make individuals and communities better – from helping people live healthier lives to encouraging social connections,” according to the release.

Since its inaugural year, the program has impacted more than 100 cities, providing $100,000 in grants and $1 million in pet food donations, as well as resources and city-specific guidance to help more communities become pet-friendly.


The introduction of the Mars Petcare “Better City for Pets” certification coincided with the 87th U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting, which took place Jan. 23-25 in Washington, DC. Mars Petcare met with key government officials to introduce this opportunity for their cities to be nationally recognized as pet-friendly.

The certification, created in partnership with urban-planning organization Nashville Civic Design Center, evaluates cities based on 12 traits of pet-friendly cities across four categories: businesses, parks, shelters and homes.

City officials may apply for the certification online at Cities that meet the criteria will receive the certification, along with a toolkit of assets and resources that can be used to spread the news to their community. In addition, certified cities will be recognized on the Better Cities for Pets website so that community members can easily identify pet-friendly locations to live and visit.

In 2018, the Mars Petcare Better Cities for Pets program and USCM partnered to give $100,000 in grants. As grant recipients, the cities of Richmond and Hallandale Beach were able to quickly make an impact through therapy, training and educational programs.

To build on the success of the 2018 grant program and increase the number of pet-friendly cities in America, Mars Petcare and USCM have issued a call for 2019 grant entries. Cities seeking grants must demonstrate a commitment to existing and future pet-friendly community efforts.

Applications will be submitted to an independent panel of judges who will determine which cities will be awarded grants. All cities applying for the certification will also be prompted to apply for a grant, if they choose to do so, at the completion of their application. Grant applications are due March 8 and the grant recipients will be announced this summer during USCM’s 87th Annual Meeting starting June 28.


To learn more about the 2019 grant applications visit:




Webinar Replay: How One Store Reached the Top of the (Raw) Food Chain

Catch a PETS+ Live! webinar replay in which host Candace D'Agnolo hosts the owners of Ben’s Barketplace, the largest independent retailer of raw food in California. To see more PETS+ Live! webinars, visit

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Pet Food Sales on Amazon Hit $1B

Blue Buffalo was the top-selling brand.




BOSTON — Pet food sales on reached an estimated $1 billion in 2018, up 20 percent compared to 2017, according to data from Edge by Ascential.

According to the firm, the top five pet food brands (and their share of total pet food sales) on Amazon for 2018 were:

  1. Blue Buffalo (11%)
  2. Purina (9%)
  3. Hill’s (8%)
  4. Wellness (6%)
  5. Greenies (5%)

“Blue Buffalo’s continued top-selling status illustrates how important it is for brands to incorporate in their packaging what consumers are looking for: healthier pet foods,” said Pete Andrews, director of insights at Edge by Ascential. “Blue Buffalo’s top seller contains the keywords ‘Protection Formula’ and ‘Natural’ in the title.

“The brand includes in-depth content on their product detail pages along with complete ingredient lists, nutritional information, numerous customer reviews and peer-answered questions. The Blue Buffalo brand understands how important community is to the pet owner, whether they are shopping online or in-store. By encouraging consumer interaction on Amazon, brands can recreate some of the interactivity that pet owners value from brick-and-mortar stores.”

Other top-performing brands on Amazon in 2018 like No. 2 Purina (up 13 percent year-over-year), No. 10 Rachael Ray (up 27 percent) and No. 6 Fancy Feast (up 17 percent) demonstrate that pet owners are choosing brands with “the right combination of pet nutrition and shopper value,” according to Edge by Ascential.

“Amazon’s own label Wag, launched halfway through 2018, brought in almost $2 million in sales in 2018, a negligible share in the current Pet Food category,” Andrews said. “Not long after its Wag launch, Amazon began offering its dry dog food under the Solimo private brand as well. Much of the on-page content is nearly identical but Solimo actually offers more A+ content and a cheaper equivalent to Wag.

“Whether this is an A/B test on Amazon’s part to identify the effects of small product differences on sales or a transition away from Wag is yet to be determined – but it does suggest that Amazon is not yet ready to challenge major pet food brands head-on while they still gather experimental data.”

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Demand for Sustainable Pet Products Is Up, and Most Firms Aren’t Prepared, Report Finds

225+ responses were collected from pet industry professionals.




The World Pet Association and the Pet Sustainability Coalition have released a report focusing on sustainability in the pet sector, highlighting advancing business opportunities for environmentally and socially friendly pet product companies.

The report, analyzing over 225 responses from pet industry professionals, reveals a dramatic increase in demand for sustainable products, explores where companies are encountering roadblocks to successful sustainability programs, and examines what tools and resources are available within the industry.

Expectations are increasing, and fast

The data shows a dramatic increase in pressure on businesses to expand their responsibility strictly from shareholder value to now include demonstrating responsible treatment of communities and environments where they do business. The expansion in business accountability means that brands are held accountable not just for their own direct business practices, but also the practices of their tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 suppliers.

Current sustainability programs are ineffective

Only 23 percent of pet industry professionals rank their own sustainability program as effective, and 26 percent report that they have no sustainability program at all.

Support is needed to create success

This increase in accountability for businesses is fueling a need for more education to inform the industry about what is expected of them and where their current performance is, tools to ease implementation and collaborative opportunities particularly for small businesses that need more leverage to drive systematic improvement in areas that are too large for one company to change on its own.

Download the full report here:

PSC was founded in 2013 with the mission to advance business through environmental and social business practices.

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45-Store Pet Chain Acquired

Its 494 employees will be retained.




Independent Pet Partners has acquired Chuck & Don’s, a pet supplies chain with 45 locations spread across four states, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

New York-based Independent Pet Partners plans to retain Chuck & Don’s 494 workers, according to the Business Journal.

Jeff David, CEO of Independent Pet Partners, was quoted saying the acquisition “gives IPP a valuable and strong brand that can help us continue to strive to make pet parenting simple, smart, social and fun.”

Founded in 1990, Chuck & Don’s has locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas and Colorado.

Its 2016 sales totaled nearly $68 million.

With this deal, Independent Pet Partners, which has purchased several pet chains, now has 160 stores across 12 states and Washington, D.C., the Business Journal reports.

Read more at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

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