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25 Interesting Dog Euthanasia Statistics

Although dogs might be considered mankind’s best friend, there’s a sad fact that dominates society today. There are more than 7 million companion animals that enter into shelters every year. Nearly half of those animals are dogs.

Only 1 out of every 3 dogs that enters an animal shelter will be adopted before it is euthanized.

Dog Euthanasia

Dog owners who have their pet go missing are rather proactive in claiming their dogs back from a shelter. More than 500,000 dogs are returned to their owners after coming into a shelter facility as a stray. About a third of dogs are returned to their owners. It’s the other third of dogs that face being euthanized because of their circumstances. Is there anything that can be done to save dogs from becoming another euthanasia statistic?

  • It is estimated that up to 80 million dogs are currently owned by Americans right now.
  • Up to 47% of American households have at least one dog that lives with the family as a companion animal.
  • About 30% of the dogs that are owned as pets have been adopted from an animal shelter.
  • The percentage of dogs owned that came from a pure-bred breeder: 28%.
  • 29% of people say that they’ve had to give away their dogs or admit it to an animal shelter because their new place of residence doesn’t allow pets.
  • The percentage of households that give up pets because of death or a divorce: 10%.
  • 10% of dogs are brought to animal shelters because of behavioral problems that they have.
  • Another 10% of dogs are given to a shelter just because the pet owner claims that they don’t have enough time to spend with the animal.
  • Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats.
  • Approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.6 million dogs and 1.6 million cats).

The problem with pet ownership, especially with dogs, is that they are considered only part-time members of the family. Instead of looking for a pet-friendly residence, for example, households will not plan enough time for the searching process and wind up accepting a place to live that won’t accept the dogs. Others simply feel guilty about not being around to spend time with their dog and so they give it away. Would so many households be willing to do so if they knew that there was a 1 in 3 chance that their beloved pet would be euthanized instead of adopted?

Pet Overpopulation Is A Major Contributing Factor

  • It is believed that there may be up to 70 million stray animals living on the streets of the United States at any given time.
  • The average female dog can have a litter of puppies every year, with the average litter size being 4-6 puppies.
  • Many strays that are on the streets are former companion animals that were not kept properly indoors or provided with any proper identification so that they could be returned home.
  • Only 10% of the dogs that enter an animal shelter, for any reason, have been spayed or neutered.
  • Americans spend up to $1 billion every year just to pick up stray animals, house them, and then eventually euthanize a third of them.
  • On average, it costs approximately $100 to capture, house, feed and eventually kill a homeless animal.
  • About 25% of the dogs that are taken to an animal shelter every year are purebred animals.

Dogs are loving animals that will protect a family like no other animal. They are fiercely loyal, love kids, but are also a responsibility that must be fully considered. Many households don’t realize what the costs of animal care happen to be with the average animal. It will cost a couple thousand dollars to care for a dog, including food and veterinary care, and those are costs that some families don’t realize until it is too late. Running budget numbers now, looking for low-cost veterinary clinics and vaccination days, or simply asking someone for help can help to save a lot of the dogs that are headed to the shelters as their final home.

What Dogs Are At The Most Risk Of Being Euthanized?

  • Pets that spend most of their time separated from their families, in kennels, cages, or outdoor runs, are the most likely to be surrendered to shelters.
  • The number of animals euthanized each year has decreased dramatically over the past four decades, from some 20 million in 1970 to about 3 million in 2011.
  • The number of pets has more than doubled since the 1970’s, to about 160 million dogs and cats.
  • Dogs that are not spayed or neutered run the highest risk because it shows that they have not been treated to the modern standard of veterinarian care.
  • When there aren’t any no-kill shelters in a community and the local shelter becomes overpopulated, dogs brought in to be surrendered are at a high risk of euthanasia.
  • Sick dogs, even those that catch something as simple as kennel cough, have higher risks of being put to sleep.
  • When Reno, NV put a no-kill policy in place in 2006, dog adoptions rose by 51%.

Being a dog owner might be a big responsibility, but it is a fun responsibility to take on. There’s nothing like being able to play with your dog out in the backyard, to experience the love of a dog’s smile, or the fierce loyalty that causes the dog to sit at your feet when you watch TV or guard the foot of your bed while you sleep. Some people don’t want dogs and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just giving up a dog, however, without weighing all available options, is what is leading the the high euthanasia rates. The numbers might be dramatically better than they were 40 years ago, but with 1 million dogs losing their lives every year just because a loving home doesn’t want them is still a number that is way too high.

United States Dog Ownership Rates

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