Almost everyone owns a pet today, as reported by the latest pet ownership statistics. These animals have come a long way from the strange, wild creatures they once were to the friendly family members we now consider them.
People adore their pets, which is apparent from the numerous animal videos found across the internet, the boutique grooming salons, and the many parks dedicated to them. Everyone knows that dog is a man’s best friend, but do you know how other pets rank? Don’t worry, we have the answers to all your burning questions.
But first, take a look at the most interesting facts and statistics about owning a pet:
The Top 10 Most Important Pet Ownership Stats and Facts
- Over 90% of pet owners consider their pets a part of the family.
- The first year of owning a pet can cost more than $1,000.
- More than 50% of pet owners admit they regularly talk to their pets.
- More than 85 million families in the United States own at least one pet.
- Over 95% of Americans buy their pets gifts during the holidays.
- Pet obesity is a real thing, affecting 56% of dogs and 60% of cats in the United States.
- On average, monthly insurance for cats costs $20.99.
- The pet ownership statistics note that approximately 66% of cat and dog owners buy gifts for other people’s pets.
- Nala Cat is Instagram’s most popular cat, with 4.2 million followers.
- The exotic pet industry is worth more than $20 billion.
So if you’re eager to know more about the benefits of having a pet, the latest statistics on dogs and cats, and how many people in the United States are pet “parents,” keep reading.
General Statistics on Pet Ownership
1. More than 50% of pet owners say they prefer natural and organic foods for their animal babies.
Natural pet food is free from preservatives, artificial flavors, and colors, while organic pet food has no toxic pesticides and preservatives, antibiotics, or synthetic hormones. There’s also partially organic pet food, which still has some of the aforementioned ingredients.
2. Over 90% of pet owners consider their pets a part of the family.
(Daily Dog Stuff)
As the pet ownership statistics from 2018 show, almost all pet owners consider their pet or pets to be a family member, and this isn’t only limited to cats, dogs, and traditional pets. Birds, fish, reptiles, and insects like tarantulas and cockroaches are all included in this family category.
3. The first year of owning a pet can cost more than $1,000.
(Money Under 30)
In the first year of pet ownership, there are a lot of one-time expenses like neutering, an initial medical exam, collars, leashes, training, and so on. To help pet owners, statistics from the ASPCA show that for every additional year, the annual cost of owning a pet is $500 on average.
4. The average annual cost of pet food and treats is around $300.
(Pet Food Processing)
The average price of pet treats and food has increased by 46% since 2011. At this rate, it’s estimated that the pet food industry will be worth $30 billion by 2022. On the brighter side, nowadays there are numerous varieties of pet foods, and many of them even imitate human food trends, so pets can enjoy the same foods as their human “parents.”
5. Pet ownership statistics for 2019 state that up to 85% of pet owners see their pets as sources of unconditional love.
(Daily Dog Stuff)
Besides unconditional love, pets give their owners unlimited affection, relieve them of stress, and improve their overall health. Various research has shown that pets in the workplace can do wonders for reducing stress and anxiety, as well as boost morale and productivity in general.
6. In 2016, the pet toy market was worth more than $1 billion.
According to pet ownership statistics from 2016, the pet toy industry has seen an annual growth rate of 4% since 2011. The research also reports that the industry has grown mostly due to the high demand in sports and fetch toys. Chew toys have also contributed to the market’s growth.
7. Dogs have been kept as pets since 30,000 BCE, which makes them the most historically popular pet.
Archeologists have found proof that dogs have always been very important to man. According to pet ownership statistics by country, even back in ancient times, the Romans kept dogs as pets. In fact, researchers have found elaborate burial places with dog bones. Archeologists also note that the dogs we know and love dearly today come from two wolf strains dating back around 15,000 years.
8. Approximately 66% of cat and dog owners buy gifts for other people’s pets.
According to the pet owner statistics, they’re most likely to buy toys, treats, and food. On the other hand, only 5% of non-owners buy presents for other people’s pets.
9. More than 50% of pet owners admit they regularly talk to their pets.
What’s more, since the ’70s, pet ownership has more than tripled. Americans love their pets so much, 27% of them have even had professional photos taken of them.
US Pet Ownership Statistics
10. More than 85 million families in the United States own at least one pet.
This makes up around 68% of all households in America. The American Pet Products Association (APPA) has been conducting this research since 1988, when only 56% of American households had a pet. The research also shows that over 60 million households have at least one dog, and more than 47 million own at least one cat.
11. More than 171 million freshwater fish are kept as pets in the US, making them the most common pet in the States.
Freshwater fish maintenance is simple, and as the pet ownership statistics report, most fish owners keep more than one. People find it comforting to watch fish, so they’re very useful in fighting everyday stress. The most common fish that are kept as pets in the United States include rainbow fish, guppies, the cherry barb, neon tetra, and angelfish. Some pet owners also consider fish great home decor since they’re so entertaining to look at.
12. Pet owners in the US spend more than $50 million in total every year.
(Pet Secure, Daily Dog Stuff)
According to pet ownership statistics by state, Americans are among the pet owners who spend the most on their pets. It’s no wonder when you take into account that non-routine or surgical veterinary visits can cost anywhere from $250 to $475 per year on average, depending on the animal. Then, there are routine vet check-ups ($182–$357), vitamins, food, treats, and so on.
13. Over 95% of American pet owners buy their pets holiday gifts.
(Daily Mail, Vetstreet)
Additionally, more than 50% of pet owners buy their pets birthday gifts, and a small number buys them a Valentine’s Day present, the pet ownership statistics from 2015 report. One in 20 US adults also spends over $100 on these gifts. Some even take their pets to fancy restaurants or give them bubble baths.
When it comes to our canine friends, the majority of dog owners spend somewhere between $10 and $25, but there are some who go overboard, as the more recent dog ownership statistics from 2017 indicate. They mostly buy toys, treats, and food, but harnesses, leashes, and collars are also popular among dog lovers.
14. The majority of pet owners in the US are millennials, at 35%, which makes them the largest portion of pet owners.
Approximately 56% of them are dog owners, and 36% have cats as pets. Male millennials are more likely to have a pet, according to the millennial pet ownership statistics. What’s even more interesting is that millennials would take leave from their jobs to take care of their pets if they got sick.
15. With a whopping 70.8%, Vermont is the state with the most pet owners.
(Cat Time, SmartAsset)
New Mexico, South Dakota, Oregon, Maine, and Washington follow. However, the most dog-friendly cities in the US are Tucson, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and San Diego, based on the pet ownership statistics by city. And 7 out of the 10 friendliest cities for dogs are in the West.
16. Approximately 6.5 million animals every year go into animal shelters.
Most of these animals are dogs, at 3.3 million, and then cats, at 3.2 million. A study has estimated that although this number is indeed worrying, it’s much lower than it was in 2011 when on average over 7 million animals were entering shelters.
17. When ranking pet ownership by state Arkansas has the highest number of dog owners, while Vermont is a cat-loving state.
According to the 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, cat ownership is slightly higher in the US than dog ownership when looking at a breakdown of each from state to state.
|States with the highest percentage of households with a dog||States with the highest percentage of households with a cat|
|1. Arkansas: 47.9%||1. Vermont: 49.5%|
|2. New Mexico: 46%||2. Maine: 46.4%|
|3. Kentucky: 45.9%||3. Oregon: 40.2%|
|4. Missouri: 45.9%||4. South Dakota: 39.1%|
|5. West Virginia: 45.8%||5. Washington: 39%|
|6. Mississippi: 45.2%||6. West Virginia: 38.1%|
|7. Alabama: 44.1%||7. Kentucky: 36.8%|
|8. Tennessee: 44.1%||8. Idaho: 34.6%|
|9. Texas: 44%||9. Indiana: 34.4%|
|10. Oklahoma: 43.2%||10. New Hampshire: 34.2%|
With that in mind, the District of Columbia was the state with the lowest cat and dog ownership, with 11.6% and 13.1% respectively.
Dog Ownership Statistics
18. As many as 90 million dogs are kept as pets in the United States.
One survey also found that the number of pet dogs is increasing as the number of households across the US rises. The popularity of pet ownership is on a steady rise, and it has grown by 9% in a very short period of time.
19. More than 40% of dog owners travel with their pets on an annual basis.
(Four Legged Travels)
The US dog ownership statistics report that only 5% of dog owners never travel with their pet. Close to 40% of them travel with their four-legged buddies every few years, and 15% travel with their dogs on a monthly basis.
20. An immense 64% of dog owners never leave their dogs in boarding kennels.
(Four Legged Travels)
They would rather travel with their dogs than leave them alone with unknown people. Most dog owners have actually traveled nationwide with their pet. However, those who do decide to travel without their dog often bring them a souvenir from their travels.
21. Pet obesity is a real thing—the pet ownership statistics from 2017 claim that it affects 56% of dogs in the United States.
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) conducts meticulous research every year, and their report from 2017 shows that the prevalence of pet obesity, in general, has increased alarmingly. It particularly affects cats—60% of them have problems with obesity—and for dogs, it’s never been higher.
22. The average monthly pet insurance for dogs is $44.66.
This is for a plan covering accidents and illnesses. However, the monthly insurance premium can vary from $10 to more than $100. Dog ownership statistics by state claim that the insurance rate depends on where you live, how old your pet is, their breed and species, as well as the insurance coverage package you choose.
23. Over 500,000 dogs that enter a shelter as a stray are returned to their owners.
Pet owners who lose their dogs are very proactive in the search for their missing fur friend. The great majority of lost dogs are happily reunited with their human families.
Cat Ownership Statistics
24. More than 88 million cats are kept as pets in the US, which makes them the second most popular pet.
Studies have shown that even though more households around the world have dogs, cat owners often have more than one. This is mainly because cats are pretty independent. They only need a litter box and don’t require as much attention as dogs do.
25. On average, monthly insurance for cats costs $20.99.
Studies have compared dog and cat ownership statistics, and not only are cats more independent than dogs, but their insurance costs can be more than 50% less. Of course, like with dogs, cats’ insurance premiums also depend on the age and breed of the cat and where you live.
26. Nala Cat is Instagram’s most popular cat, with 4.2 million followers.
Pet owners often make Instagram accounts for their fur babies, and sometimes they even turn it into a career. It’s not rare for animals to be Insta famous, and besides Nala (@nala_cat) some other influencer cats include Grumpy Cat (@realgrumpycat), with more than 2.4 million followers, Lil Bub (@iamlilbub), with over 2 million, and Smoothie (@smoothiethecat), with more than 2 million fans.
27. The historical pet ownership stats report that the ancient Egyptians began including cats in their art as far back as 3,000 BCE.
Scientists have also found that the ancient Egyptians were the first to domesticate cats, which occurred in the 16th century BCE. Ancient Egyptians were particularly fond of dogs as well, and they also kept hyenas, monkeys, and lions as pets. However, they absolutely worshiped cats. Even in their earliest paintings, cats are represented catching mice.
28. When it comes to the benefits of owning a pet, statistics show that having a cat lowers the chances of heart disease or stroke by 30%.
Scientists have proven that cat owners enjoy many other health benefits. A cat’s purr resonates at a frequency that can, for example, heal muscles, bones, and tendons—and cats can improve your quality of sleep. Cats can also reduce levels of anxiety and stress and even lower the levels of pet allergies in children. Even just watching videos of cats on the internet can boost people’s energy levels and improve their mood.
Exotic Pet Ownership Statistics
29. Between 5,000 and 7,000 tigers are being kept as pets.
Studies show that more tigers are being kept as pets than there are tigers in their natural habitats. There are approximately 3,200 tigers in the wilderness. Additionally, there were more than 1,600 reported incidents or deaths related to owning an exotic pet in a 21-year period.
30. Approximately 1 in 10 households in the United States keep an exotic animal as a pet.
As the US pet ownership statistics for 2015 report, every day more and more Americans are getting exotic animals as pets. Various lizards, snakes, and turtles are bought on a daily basis. The number of households in the US that own an exotic pet rose from 2.8 million in 1994 to 5.6 million in 2014.
31. The exotic pet industry is worth around $20 billion.
The most popular exotic pets include different kinds of spiders, lizards, snakes, turtles, and rabbits. However, Americans also love to keep various reptiles, hamsters, and guinea pigs. And as the US pet ownership statistics report, they even keep poultry as pets.
32. The capybara is the most popular exotic pet in the US, and it can live for 8–10 years in captivity.
(The Spruce Pets)
These giant rodents native to Panama and Brazil are not legal everywhere. They’re also very social animals, so they should be kept in pairs. Capybara can grow up to 2 feet and 170 pounds, so they require a lot of space. Nevertheless, people adore them, since they look like giant guinea pigs.
33. What country has the highest rate of pet ownership?
Across the globe, 57% of people own a pet. The most popular are dogs, cats, fish, and birds, in that order. The country with the most pets is Argentina, with 82% of the population owning pets. Mexico and Brazil follow, with 81% and 76%, respectively.
34. What percentage of cat owners are female?
According to a survey from 2017, the majority of cat owners are female, that is, 58% of them. Additionally, the average age of cat owners ranges from 55 to 64 years. On the other hand, dog owners are on average 10 years younger, and the majority of owners are, once again, female, at 53%.
35. Has pet ownership increased?
The AVMA’s regular research and studies show that pet ownership in the US is on the constant rise. They began collecting data in 1982, when only 38% of American households had a dog and 25% had a cat. Their data from 2016 shows that the number of households with a pet has risen to 57%, with dogs and cats remaining the most popular pets.
36. How many pet owners sleep with their pets?
Three-quarters of pet parents let their furry friends sleep with them in their beds. One survey has shown that out of that number, 43% of people sleep with their pets every night, and 5% of them share their beds with their pets only when their significant other is not with them. Furthermore, of individuals that sleep with their pets, 40% say they sleep better with their pets in bed.
The Bottom Line
Having a pet can be a blessing and a wonderful experience. It’s a very rewarding feeling when an animal joins the family. These pet ownership statistics are here to show everyone how much joy just one furball can bring people.
Pets indeed bring much joy and companionship, but they’re also serious business. They’re living creatures that require attention, love, and financial commitment, which should be very carefully considered before you adopt or buy one.
- Boston Globe
- Brandon Gaille
- Cat Time
- Daily Dog Stuff
- Daily Mail
- Fact Retriever
- Four Legged Travels
- Live Science
- Money Under 30
- Pet Business
- Pet Food Processing
- Pet Secure
- PR Newswire
- The Spruce Pets
- The Washington Post
- Trivia Genius
- VMD Today
- World Atlas