Green space is good space

When pets have a place to run and play, it can help keep them healthy, improve coordination, reduce anxiety or boredom, and stimulate their minds. Plus, active play with other pets helps improve social skills.

There’s ample evidence that shows being active with pets is good for people too. The more accessible parks, trails and sidewalks a community has, the easier it is to get outside together and get some exercise.

That’s why Mars Petcare US’s BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program makes parks a priority, including finding innovative spaces for pets to play in urban areas and educating about the responsible use of public spaces when out with pets.


Developing the dog park of the FUTURE

In March, we introduced an innovative new dog park design as a way to test green spaces for pets in urban areas. It’s part of Mars Petcare’s efforts to benchmark what makes a better park for both people and pets, as well as how to get more green space for pets into urban areas.

The park, designed by our partner Nashville Civic Design Center, debuted during South by Southwest in Austin. Passersby were invited to share ideas about what makes a park pet-friendly and also learn more about Mars Petcare US and its brands Whistle® and Wisdom Panel®, and pick up some of the company’s dog and cat treats.

Over the course of two days, more than 4,500 people – and more than 200 dogs! – visited the park. Many shared their own vision for a perfect park, and echoed the need to welcome pets in more places. We are applying the findings from onsite research to our ongoing tests of this concept.

The event also offered a chance to raise money for local shelters, including Austin Pets Alive that was on-hand with adorable, adoptable dogs. For each 10 minutes a shelter dog was walked, Mars Petcare US and its brands donated $100, reaching the max donation of $10,000 during the weekend thanks to more than 100 walks.

Best of all, thanks to the introduction and chance to get to know each other, five of the pups were adopted.

Supporting ACTIVE OUTDOOR PLAY at home

As part of our community support in Middle Tennessee, where Mars Petcare US is headquartered, we have contributed funding and volunteer labor to develop 5 dog parks in our local area.

As an example, with supplies we funded, in September 2016 Associates gave 54 hours to help the City of Franklin dismantle the old K-9 Korral at Harlingsdale Farm and move it to a new location. Volunteers helped remove and load up old fence posts, tore out turf, removed and rolled up wire fencing, and filled holes in the new dog park with dirt. The new park includes three fenced-in areas that add up to nearly four acres of space for local dogs to play.

Other initiatives include a dog park installation at Fair Oaks Farms in Fair Oaks, Indiana and shelter play area enhancements as part of a 2017 Mars Volunteer Program initiative in Tucson, Arizona.

Exercise is as important for pets as it is for people. By helping develop outdoor spaces where people and pets can run and play, we help both maintain a healthy, active life.