Are you a dog person? Maybe you’re a cat person? Perhaps you prefer having birds as your pets. What may surprise you is that nearly 80 million households in the United States own at least one pet.
Dogs and cats are the two most popular pets that are owned. Birds are ranked #3 and horses come in ranked at #4 when ranking companion animals.
Pet Ownership Facts
There’s just one problem with information about pet demographics: they aren’t 100% accurate. This data is based on estimations that have come from surveys of the American population. Although they are considered to be a fairly accurate representation, it must be noted that this is not complete factual data.
- 36.5% of American households report that they own a dog. The average number of dogs owned is 1.6 per household.
- Hispanics [53% of total households] are more likely to own a dog than any other racial demographic.
- 30.4% of American households report that they own a cat. The average number of cats owned is 2.1 per home.
- Although more dogs are owned than cats, there is an estimated 5 million more cats living in the United States right now.
- Birds make up 3.1% of the companion animal market and the average household with birds owns 2.3 of them.
- Horses may only be owned by 1.5% of households, but the average owner has nearly 3 horses in their care.
- American households that own dogs spend more money on veterinary expenses [$378] than households that own horses [$373].
- The average veterinary expenditure of a household that owns birds: $14.
Veterinary care is an important part of the pet ownership process. Getting shots, checkups, and other care is critical to pet health. It’s also one of the expenses that many households are going to skip when the budget is running tight. This means the best option for a companion animal is having a pair of birds. With the average veterinary cost per animal being just $14, the change found in the bottom of the couch could potentially take care of the animal’s health.
Specialty And Exotic Animals Are Popular Pets
- Fish are the most popular specialty and exotic pet that is owned. 7.7 million households in the US own more than 57.7 million fish, which outnumbers any other pet that is owned.
- The second most popular specialty or exotic pet that is owned in the US is poultry, with over 1 million homes owning 12.5 million birds.
- Livestock that is considered a pet comes in third in the US, with 661k homes owning over 5 million animals.
- Rabbits are owned by the second-most households in the US with 1.4 million owners. They are caring for 3.2 million animals.
- 30,000 more households own hamsters than guinea pigs in the US, but 180,000 more guinea pigs are actually owned as pets.
- There are 2.29 million turtles that are kept as pets by 1.3 million American homes right now.
Pets come in all different shapes, sizes, and pets. Can you imagine having some pet chickens? Or maybe a pet cow? Even ferrets make the exotic and specialty pet list with greater numbers than gerbils do. The bottom line is this: if you love pets, then there’s a good chance that you’re going to own a pet.
How Do People Get Their Pets?
- Approximately 40% of pet owners learned about their pet through word of mouth.
- More than 35% of cats are acquired as strays.
- 29% of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescues.
- 28%. That’s the percentage of dogs which are purchased from breeders.
- 9% of dog owners and 4% of cat owners got them from a pet store.
- Only 18% of dog owners rent the home they are living in right now. 26% of cat owners are renters.
- 34% of people with incomes less than $25k acquired their pet from someone else.
- 32% of dog owners said they knew in advance what breed of dog they wanted. 52% of dog owners own a dog less than 25 lbs. Larger dogs are more likely to be owned by the 25-54 age demographic.
- More importantly, 3 out of 4 American households consider their pet to be an integral part of their family.
One of the most common assumptions that is made about pet owners is that low-income owners tend to be more neglectful of their pets. This isn’t necessarily true. A majority of them keep their animals inside their homes and let them have free-run of the house. Most pet owners consider their pet to be part of the family. Most pet owners may own their homes, but times are changing after the 2008-2009 recession. Pets are companions, entertainment, and fun all rolled up into a furry, scaly, slithery ball. If the costs can be managed, then pets will always be a wise investment. Just make sure to get your cats and dogs spayed or neutered.