57% of American households today own either a
dog or cat, a substantial increase from the four in ten
households (44%) which had these pets in
From 1956 to 1996, households containing dogs
increased from 35% to 43%, while households with cats
have climbed from 21% to 31%.
Based on recent international surveys conducted
in 20 of the world's major nations, the U.S. has the
hichest percentage of households with with dogs and
Although dog households outnumber cat
households, there are more cats (64.1 million) than dogs
(63.8 million) in the U.S.
Cat owners tend to have more animals than dog
owners on average - 2.1 cats compared with 1.5 dogs per
Cat and dog owners feel strongly about the role of
animals in their family.
Nine in ten pet owners surveyed say they
consider their pet a member of the family.
63% of dog owners and 58% of cat owners surveyed
said they give their pets presents at
Americans spend about $5 billion on holiday
presents for their furry friends.
40% of dog owners and 37% of cat owners hang
Christmas stockings for their pets.
36% of dog owners give their pets presents on
their birthday, as do 20% of cat owners.
About one quarter of both dog owners (27%) and
cat owners (23%) sign their pet's name on greeting cards
64% of surveyed pet owners said they include
news about their pet, and 36% include a photograph. in
their holiday cards.
About 27% of pet owners claim to have taken
their pet to a professional photographer to have a
picture taken with family, Santa, or the Easter
About a third (37%) of dog owners and a similar
proportion of cat owners (31%) have their pet's picture
prominently displayed in their homes, and 14% and 10%,
respectively, display it at their place of
About 10% of both dog and cat owners carry their
pet's picture in their wallet or purse.
In about 20% of both dog and cat households, the
TV, radio, or stereo is left on when the animals are left
alone, presumably so they don't get lonely.
16% of dog owners and 14% of cat owners claim to
have bought a car or home with a pet in mind.
Americans treat their pets like
In 70% of feline households, cats are allowed to
lie on the furniture. In 40% of canine households, dogs
are allowed to do so.
In 65% of cat-owning households, cats are
permitted to sleep at night on some family member's bed
compared with 39% of dogs.
45% of pet owners set up a special bed for their
pet in the house.
In 75% of the nation's dog-owning households,
the dog is treated to rides in the family car compared
with 8 % of households with cats.
In one third (34%) of households surveyed, the
dog goes along on family vacations, whereas only 11% take
the cat along.
25% of pet owners surveyed said they blow dry
their pet's hair after a bath.
When a pet dies, 58% of pet owners bury the pet
on their property.
Dog and cat owners
endow pets with human
Almost half of the pet owners surveyed admit
they sometimes talk to their pet. And 80% of those people
stated that on those occasions, the animal seemed to
respond by means of sounds, facial expressions, or body
80% of dog and cat owners surveyed claimed that
their pets could sense their moods. And three in four
believed their dogs tried to make them feel better when
they were unhappy.
70% of dog owners surveyed expect their pet to
come to their rescue when they are In distress,compared
to 31 % of cat owners.
About 48% of cat owners and 36% of dog owners
say their pets appear to watch television.
More than 90% surveyed (including non-pet-owning
households) said that the following groups could lead
more satisfying lives -if they had a dog or cat
companion: people living alone, senior citizens,
handicapped or disabled people, and young
While a solid majority of American households
(57%) currently have dogs, cats, or both pets in
residence, virtually everyone-more than nine in ten-would
like to have either or both of these animals as household
Pets are big business.
In 1995, Americans spent $5.5 billion on dog
food and $3.8 billion on cat food.
In 1995, Americans spent more than $1 billion on
dog treats compared with $281 million in
Americans spent $ 100 million on cat treats in
1995 compared with a nonexistent market just 15 years
Approximately 1.1 million tons of by-products
from the meat, poultry, and seafood processing industry
are used in pet foods annually
Americans welcome many kinds of
companion animals into their homes.
After dogs and cats, fish are the next most
popular pet in the U.S. with a population of about 24
More than 5.2 million birds are kept as
companion animals in the U.S.
More than 1.4 million households keep rabbits as
About 735,000 snakes, 314,000 lizards, and
281,000 other reptilian animals are kept as pets in the
Favorite breeds still
The top five dog breeds registered with the AKC
(American Kennel Club) in 1995 were the Labrador
retriever, rottweiler, German shepherd, Golden retriever,
Labrador retrievers lead the pack as the most
popular dog in America for the fifth straight year. Prior
to that, the cocker spaniel was the favorite for eight
140 breeds of dogs were registered with the AKC
in 1995 compared to 129 breeds in 1985.
In 1995, more than 1.2 million dogs were
registered with the AKC - a 17% increase from 15 years
533,630 dog litters were registered with the AKC
Poodles produced the most litters, according to
AKC registrations in 1995, with 35,766 litters. Labrador
retrievers were second with 33,900 registered litters and
rottweilers were third with 30,950.
Since 1979, the most popular feline in America,
based on breed registration, has been the Persian
In 1995, 44,735 Persian cats were registered
with the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA). The Maine Coon
was second with 4,332, and the Siamese cat was third with
A total of 70,288 cats were registered with the
CFA in 1995--down 21% from just five years
A total of 430 CFA cat shows were held in the
world in 1995-369 of those shows were in the
More veterinarians than ever
Today, there are more than 54,852 veterinarians
in the U.S. - a 55% increase from 15 years
The U.S. has 27
colleges of veterinary medicine.
More than 8,700 students were enrolled in
veterinary medical schools in 1994-1995. Enrollment
showed that female veterinary students outnumbered male
students 2 to 1.
Dog, cat, and other small-animal practices
account for more than 60% of the private veterinary
practices in the U.S.
In a 1991 survey, more than 70% of dog and cat
owners claimed to have a regular
More and more people
watch our pets.
There are approximately 8,500 boarding kennels
in the United States.
The average kennel stay for a dog or cat is four
The average kennel customer boards their dog
about four times a year.
Based on projections using average occupancy
rates, approximately 23.7 million dogs and 4.6 million
cats were boarded at kennels last year.
No figures are available on the number of
professional pet sitters and their clients. However, the
American Boarding Kennel Association estimates that pet
sitters, house sitters, dog walkers, and grooming shops
that board animals may cost the typical boarding kennel
as much as $300,000 worth of business
In a survey of pet owners using pet-sitting
services, results showed:
-each client owns an average of 1.8 dogs or 2.9 cats.
-59% of pet-sitting customers own dogs and 41 % own
-respondents used pet sitters to care for their pets on
an average of 15 occasions per year.
Sources include the American Humane Association, American
Animal Hospital Association, American Boarding Kennel
Association, American Kennel Club, American Veterinary Medical
Association, Cat Fanciers' Association, Pet Food Institute, Pet
Sitters International, Gallup Poll on pet ownership, and National
Council on Pet Population Study and Policy.