(Family Features) Pets have an incomparable ability to improve owners’ lives in a number of ways, so it’s only right that pet parents do the same for them. That’s why, if you’re considering adding a pet to the family, adoption can be a great choice.

Through pet adoption, you can not only help save dogs and cats from homelessness, but also have the opportunity to experience a lifetime of laughs, snuggles and memories. To unite pet owners with their new furry best friends this year, Mars Petcare celebrated its 10th annual adoption weekend, furthering the Mars Petcare purpose of A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS™.

Consider these benefits of pet adoption and learn more at bettercitiesforpets.com.

  1. Gain a New Best Friend – When you adopt a pet, you also gain a friend to accompany you on life’s adventures, a family member to share life’s sweetest moments and a therapist to listen when you need an ear. Whether it’s a dog, a cat or one of the many other types of four-legged friends, pets are the perfect sidekicks for activities like walks around the park or cozy cuddle sessions in front of the TV. They also offer comfort and unconditional love during life’s happy moments and challenges.

  1. Find the Right Companion for You – Shelter staff are often familiar with the animals, their personalities and their needs, which allows them to accurately match you with a furry family member that’s compatible with your lifestyle. In addition, many adoptable animals are already spayed or neutered and up-to-date on their shots, meaning you won’t need to make a large up-front investment. There are also several programs and events that cover adoption fees throughout the year. For example, the Mars Petcare BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program holds an annual adoption weekend each August, working with local shelters to cover adoption costs. However, it’s important to remember the necessary daily care costs – as well as the unexpected ones – that come with owning a pet. While costs may be lower when you adopt, pet parents still need to invest time and training in their adopted pets to make sure they are getting the love and attention they need.

  1. Rescue an Animal – More than 8 million pets end up in shelters nationwide each year, a majority of which are ready to be loving pets or can be ready with veterinary or behavioral care. Through pet adoption, you not only gain a new family member, you can feel the joy of knowing you gave a pet in need a loving forever home.

  1. Build a Strong Community – Pets are not only great companions for playing around in the yard, they also offer adoptive families a sense of community. Research from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition found that pet owners report stronger social connections in their neighborhoods than non-pet owners and experience social benefits such as friendliness, helpfulness and trust between neighbors. Adopting a pet can also provide motivation that pushes you to get out of the house and increase your daily activity.

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