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How Many Americans Have Pets? A Look at the Statistics

Americans love pets. In fact, we are one of the most pet-friendly countries in the entire world. Have you ever wondered just how many Americans have pets? It’s probably a question that many have asked and we thought that it was time to find out for ourselves.

We’ve done some research and a little sniffing around. We went on an investigation of fuzzy statistics and what we found might just make your fur stand on end… At the very least, we think most of the information will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

American Pet Ownership Statistics

One of the most incredible facts about American interesting pet ownership statistics is that 76% of American homes have at least one pet. It’s incredible to think that of 128 million households, three-quarters of them have at least one pet in the household.

How many households have multiple pets? Great question! We wondered the same thing and found out that no one keeps those statistics because it would be just too difficult.

What we did find is that the top pet kept in the US is not what you might expect. Dog? Nope. Cat? Nope! Horse? No, not even close! The topmost kept pet in the United States is freshwater fish! 

You know that goldfish you had as a child? Well, apparently everyone has one of those. Plus, the large fish tanks that are kept by collectors can house dozens of fish together, quickly adding up to a LOT of fish.

The reason that fish are so popular is likely because they are small, don’t require walks, and don’t really take a ton of care. If you live in an apartment, you can easily keep a fish or several of them in an aquarium.

What About Cats? Dogs?

These are certainly the next most popular pets in America. Cats outnumber dogs and it likely boils down to the same reason that people like fish. Cats are more independent and relatively easy to take care of.

Cats can be left for the entire day or even for a weekend with plenty of food, water, and a clean litter box. They will be waiting for you when you get home.

Dogs, on the other hand, need to be walked outside. That makes it hard for most apartment dwellers or folks who travel to have a dog.

There are approximately 92 million cats living in the US and 90 million dogs. As you can see, it’s a close race for second and third place, with cats narrowly edging out the dogs for that second-place spot.

Photo by Velizar Ivanov on Unsplash

Americans Spend a Lot on Their Pets

American consumers spend $75 billion per year, on average, to take care of their pet’s needs. This multi-billion dollar industry grows a bit more each year.

The pet industry has become keen at advertising toward pet owners and even makes special Valentine’s day gifts for pets, Halloween costumes designed just for them, and of course, you’d be remiss if you didn’t have a stocking hung for your pet at Christmas.

All of the marketing for pet products is aimed at the average age group of pet owners. Consumers who spend the most on their pets for these holiday occasions are between 25 and 34 years old. 

This means that if you are in this age group and you have a pet, you’re probably seeing a lot of social media advertisements for pet products — just in case you wondered.

The total expenditure on pet-related items has nearly doubled from 2010 to the present. There’s really no end in sight because people love pets and treat them as part of the family more and more.

Costs of Owning Pets

Another large factor in who keeps what type of pets is the cost of keeping them healthy. Going back to fish, for example, once the initial cost of the aquarium has been spent, the yearly upkeep is roughly $150.

The cost of keeping dogs and cats is far greater because of spay and neuter costs, incidental surgeries, flea control, and daily food costs – which Pet Food Sherpa told us that Americans spent close to $100 billion on last year! The average dog owner can spend up to $1500 per year on yearly combined costs, while the average cat owner can spend up to about $800 a year

Don’t forget that these figures are per pet. Two dogs could easily cost you as much as $3000 per year if there are any emergencies. Dogs and cats are both prone to certain ailments that might cause costs to be more. For example, your pet could develop diabetes and require insulin. 

Pet ownership statistics track how many times pets of each type see the veterinarian. Dogs are the most likely to need emergency vet care, but cats aren’t far behind, especially if they are outdoor cats. 

Fish also have their challenges and sometimes need to see the vet, but most fish will never need surgery. Sadly, fish don’t tend to live overly long lives and this deters some people from owning them, but more than half the world’s population does enjoy pets.

Brazilians love pets, as do many other countries. Dogs are pets and kept as working animals all over the world as well. No matter what type of animal you prefer, there are pets of every type to suit your personality. 

Birds, for example, are the fourth most popular pet in the world and make wonderful pets. You might enjoy a singing parakeet or a talking parrot?

Some people enjoy keeping reptiles. These people are typically called herpetologists because they love reptiles and learn so much about them. Reptiles might include lizards, such as iguanas, or large snakes. 

A boa constrictor or python makes an interesting pet but you should certainly learn all about them because they can also be quite dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

No matter what pet floats your boat, make sure that you take them on with the knowledge that you’ll end up spending more than you thought you would and you will likely end up getting another one because it’s really hard to just have one.

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