U.S. pet ownership statistics

Companion animals | Exotic animals | Formulas/Calculator

Source: 2017-2018 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook  


Companion animals

  Dogs Cats Birds Horses
Percent of households owning 38.4 25.4 2.8 0.7
Number of households owning 48,255,413 31,896,077 3,509,032 893,152
Average number owned per household 1.6 1.8 2.1 2.1
Total number in United States 76,811,305 58,385,725 7,538,000 1,914,394
Veterinary visits per household per year (mean) 2.4 1.3 0.3 1.6
Veterinary expenditure per household per year (mean) $410 $182 $40 $614
Veterinary expenditure per animal (mean) $253 $98 $18 $291

  View 2012 statistics  


Specialty and Exotic Animals

  Households Population
  (in 1,000) (in 1,000)
 
Fish 10,475 76,323
Ferrets 326 501
Rabbits 1,534 2,244
Reptiles 3,669 6,032
Pet Livestock 494 1,786
Pet Poultry 1,397 15,367
Other Mammals 1,978 3,521
All Others 322 961

View 2012 statistics  


Formulas for estimating percentage of pet-owning households and pet population in your community

Most communities do not have data on the number of households that own dogs, cats, birds, or horses, nor do they have data on the numbers of these pets in their communities. The following formulas can be used to estimate the number of pet-owning households and pet populations in your community.

These formulas will give you an approximation of the number of pet-owning households and pet populations. These formulas assume that the demographics and rates of pet ownership in your community are similar to national, state and regional demographics and rates of pet ownership. However, because these formulas use sample survey data, they should not be considered 100% accurate.

To use the formulas below you need to know the total number of households in the community in which you are estimating. If you only know the population of the community, you can estimate the number of households by dividing the population of the community by the average number of members per household. In 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey estimated that there were 2.6 members per household.


Estimate the Number of Pet-owning Households  

Use the Pet Ownership Calculator to estimate the number of pet-owning households in your community.

To estimate the number of pet-owning households in your community, multiply the total number of households in your community by the percentage of households that owned pets. For dogs and cats you may replace the national percentage with the percentage for the state in which the community is located. For birds and horses you may replace the national percentage with the percentage for the region in which the community is located.

The demographics of the state or region may be more similar to the demographics of your community, but, as indicated above the state and regional estimates have a greater degree of statistical error associated with them than the national estimates. Therefore, without additional analysis, it is undetermined whether an estimate for the number of pet-owing households in your community will be more accurate by using the national estimates, regional estimates or state estimates.

Formulas for estimating the number of pet-owning households using national percentages:
All Pets:
Number of pet-owning households = .568 x total number of households
Dogs:
Number of dog-owning households = .384 x total number of households
Cats:
Number of cat-owning households = .254 x total number of households
Birds:
Number of bird-owning households = .028 x total number of households
Horses:
Number of horse-owning households = .007 x total number of households

Estimate the Number of Pets  

Use the Pet Ownership Calculator to estimate the number of pets in your community.

There are two alternative methods for estimating the number of pets in your community. You can multiply the total number of households in your community by a factor determined by multiplying the percentage of households that own pets by the number of pets owned per household. Alternatively, you can multiply the number of pet-owning households determined above by the mean number of pets owned per household.

As with the number of households, state or regional values may be substituted for the national values if desired. (The number of dogs, cats, birds or horses per household for states or regions can be determined by dividing the total population of the state or region by the total number of pet-owning households in each state or region.) However, the same caution mentioned previously must be noted. Without additional analysis, it is unknown whether the error in the estimate introduced by differences between national and community demographic and pet-ownership characteristics is greater than or less than the error introduced by the larger error inherent in the smaller state or regional samples.

 Formulas for estimating the number of pets using national percentages and number of pets:

Dogs:
Number of dogs = 0.614 x total number of households in your community
 
Number of dogs = 1.6 x number of dog-owning households
Cats:
Number of cats = 0.457 x total number of households in your community
 
Number of cats = 1.8 x number of cat-owning households
Birds:
Number of birds = 0.058 x total number of households in your community
 
Number of birds = 2.1 x number of bird-owning households
Horses:
Number of horses = 0.015 x total number of households in your community
 
Number of horses = 2.1 x number of horse-owning households

 

EXAMPLE:
Suppose that you know a community has a population of 50,000.
To estimate the number of dog-owning households in this community:
Divide total population by the average number of people per household from the Census:
50,000 ÷ 2.6 = 19,231 households
19,231 x .384 = 7,385 dog-owning households
To estimate the number of dogs in this community:
19,231 x 0.614 = 11,808 dogs
Alternatively:
1.6 x 7,385 = 11,816 dogs

Additional information on state and regional demographics are available in the 2017-2018 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook.