white rabbit wearing glassesAmericans love owning a pets!! That’s a generalization,  but one based on statistical facts from huge surveys that are conducted on an ongoing basis, and compiled every year by some very reputable research organizations. There are some very interesting facts that these studies reveal about pet ownership in the U.S. – and we’ve included some of the most interesting and recent ones from below. If you are doing professional or serious research about pets and pet owners in the United States, you can order the detailed reports at the links listed at the end of this article. But for most of us, the summary information we’ve included here is what’s fun to learn, and doesn’t require getting out your calculator! What’s really amazing about this first fact is that it shows that if everyone who bought their pet from a breeder or pet shop instead ADOPTED from a shelter or rescue – that could, in just one year, reduce unwanted homeless pets in shelters by up to 30%!!

  • The majority of pets are obtained from acquaintances and family members. About 15 to 20 percent of dogs are purchased from breeders, 10 to 20 percent of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescues, and 2 to 10 percent are purchased from pet shops. (Source: Ralston Purina and NCPPSP)
  • About 63 percent of all households in the United States have a pet. (Source: American Veterinary Medical Association)
  • About 75 million dogs and about 85 million cats are owned in the United States. (Source: Pet Food Institute)
  • According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), about 65 percent of pet owners acquire their pets free or at low cost.
  • At least 20 percent of cats are acquired as strays. (Source: NCPPSP) Many strays are lost pets who were not kept properly indoors or provided with identification.
  • More than 20 percent of people who leave dogs in shelters adopted them from a shelter. (Source: NCPPSP)
  • The cost of spaying and neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies or kittens for one year.
  • The average cost of basic food, supplies, medical care and training for a dog or cat is $700 to $875 annually.

If you’re looking for the studies quoted above, here are three websites to help you: The National Council on Pet Population Study & Policy (NCPPSP) is at www.petpopulation.org, The American Veterinary Medical Association’s U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics are online at http://www.avma.org/reference/marketstats/ownership.asp, the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association has their most current survey for sale at www.americanpetproducts.org/pubs_survey.asp