Purina Pet Institute Announces First Ever Reportof Pet Healthiest Cities

ST. LOUIS, Aug. 14 /PRNewswire/ — Senior citizens might choose Phoenix. Politicians might choose Washington, D.C. But where would your dog or cat live if he had the choice? According to the nation’s leading pet experts, he might be a mile high. The Purina Pet Institute’s Healthy Pets 21 Consortium, a think tank of leaders in the pet health and welfare community, today announced the first-ever list of the Pet Healthiest Cities in the U.S. These cities exemplify superior care, services and legislation for pets’ health and well-being.

According to the Consortium, the top five*
Pet Healthiest Cities are:

1) Denver, CO
2) Minneapolis, MN
3) Columbus, OH
4) Philadelphia, PA
5) Seattle, WA

To determine the Pet Healthiest Cities, the Healthy Pets 21 Consortium developed an extensive list of 23 objective criteria in the areas of canine/feline health, legislation and services. Criteria was then weighted according to its importance in furthering pet health. The report was conducted in conjunction with demographic consultant Bert Sperling, who collects and analyzes the data for Money magazine’s annual “Best Places to
Live” feature. The Consortium worked with Sperling to collect, analyze and rank the data.

“This is the first comprehensive, qualitative and quantitative evaluation of factors that impact pet health,” says Aine McCarthy, DVM, executive director of the Purina Pet Institute.

Pet Healthiest Cities criteria included:

  • Health: Veterinarian-to-pet ratios, presence of affiliated staff at accredited veterinary hospitals, number of veterinary surgeons, access to emergency veterinary care, and environmental factors such as watershed and air quality.
  • Services: Number of certified shelters, average annual pet-related expenditures, top-rated dog shows, and number of people working with their pets to help others through animal-assistance programs.
  • Legislation: Presence of appropriate rabies vaccination requirements, presence of pet identification requirements, licensing fee reductions for spayed/neutered pets and presence of cruelty investigation programs.

“Through the Consortium members’ knowledge and breadth of expertise, we identified a multitude of factors that contribute to pet health — some obvious and some not so obvious,” says Dr. McCarthy. “For instance, watershed quality may seem like a small point. But drinking water is the main source of hydration your pet receives, so if that quality is poor, it can affect a pet’s health.”

Mile High City – High on List
Denver rose to the top as the Pet Healthiest City because of its veterinarian-to-pet ratio, with one veterinarian for every 1,200 pets, as well as its 47 American Animal Hospital Association accredited hospitals with 119 AAHA affiliated veterinary professionals — more affiliated professionals than any other city in the report. The ranking for Denver is also boosted by its access to veterinary specialists and emergency clinics. Additionally, Denver boasts the lowest flea population of any city in the report and the watershed quality rates high.

“There are more than 141 million dogs and cats in the U.S. — that’s almost half the human population in the nation,” says Dr. McCarthy. “We want to honor cities, such as Denver, that champion health and well-being for these animals as well as inspire individuals and city officials to work together to create better communities for their pets.”

In recognition of its Pet Healthiest City status, the Consortium presented Denver’s mayor, Wellington E. Webb, with a special “Wagging Tail” award and a check for $10,000 to be used by the city to promote pet health. Mayor Webb said the money will be directed toward the Denver Animal Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the welfare of animals housed in Denver animal shelters. Minneapolis, Columbus, Philadelphia and Seattle received certificates in recognition of their pet health efforts.

“Pets are an important constituency to Denver,” said Mayor Wellington E. Webb. “This study reflects what those who live here already know — that for Denver residents, businesses and city employees, the quality of life for our cat and dog companions is very important. It is gratifying to be recognized for our efforts and we’re proud to be known as the Pet Healthiest City in America.”

Announcement of the Pet Healthiest City in America marks the launch of the Consortium’s comprehensive five-year pet health agenda to champion improved health and well-being for dogs and cats and the quality of their relationships with people. The Consortium’s upcoming agenda includes:

  • Improving the health and well-being of pets by providing pet owners with a comprehensive pet health checklist covering all life stages;
  • Educating owners on the importance and benefits of training;
  • Reducing pet overpopulation through a spay and neuter outreachcampaign.

Pet enthusiasts can log on to http://www.purina.com/institute to find out more about the Pet Healthiest Cities, as well as read tips on ways they can help make their city pet healthy. Visitors to the site also can submit comments about the cities they think are pet healthy.

The Consortium’s charter members are the AKC Canine Health Foundation, American Animal Hospital Association, CENSHARE (Center to Study Human-Animal Relationships and Environments), Delta Society, Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and Ralston Purina.

The Healthy Pets 21 Consortium is an initiative of Ralston Purina’s Pet Institute. The Institute’s mission is to advance the quality of life for dogs and cats and their owners through scientific discovery and the enhancement of the pet/owner relationship.

* Please note: A complete ranking of the top 50 markets follows.

Pet Healthiest Cities in America Rankings

1) Denver, CO
2) Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
3) Columbus, OH
4) Philadelphia, PA
5) Seattle, WA
6) Portland, OR
7) Washington, DC
8) San Francisco, CA
9) Phoenix, AZ
10) Hartford, CT
11) San Diego, CA
12) Oakland, CA
13) Los Angeles, CA
14) Milwaukee, WI
15) Sacramento, CA
16) Atlanta, GA
17) Boston, MA
18) Chicago, IL
19) Salt Lake City, UT
20) Norfolk, VA
21) Charlotte, NC
22) Cleveland, OH
23) Anaheim, CA
24) Tampa, FL
25) Kansas City, MO
26) Detroit, MI
27) Orlando, FL
28) Nassau, NY
29) Bergen-Passaic, NJ
30) San Jose, CA
31) Providence, RI
32) St. Louis, MO
33) Houston, TX
34) Buffalo, NY
35) New York, NY
36) Dallas, TX
37) San Antonio, TX
38) Baltimore, MD
39) Newark, NJ
40) Greensboro, NC
41) Las Vegas, NV
42) Cincinnati, OH
43) Fort, TX
44) Nashville, TN
45) Riverside, CA
46) Pittsburgh, PA
47) Fort Lauderdale, FL
48) New Orleans, LA
49) Indianapolis, IN
50) Miami, FL

CONTACT: Paula Greear, +1-312-729-4372, or Laura Kolodner,
+1-312-729-4223, both of Golin-Harris for Ralston Purina, or Kerry Lyman of Ralston Purina, +1-314-982-2094.



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