More Pets than Ever Before: Pets By the Numbers


Pet numbers were gradually but clearly rising year after year, and in the pandemic they skyrocketed. Here’s the latest pet ownership data

Two out of every three American homes includes a pet.  There are more pets in America today than ever before:

  • 85 million or 67 percent of American homes include a pet.
  • 95 percent of American pet owners consider their pets to be family members (often referred to as “children” or “fur babies.”)
  • Actually, the most popular pet are freshwater aquarium fish with 139.3 million (give or take a few) of them nationwide.
  • Americans spend $1 billion annually on pet insurance.
  • Pet ownership has increased 20 percent since 1988.

More on pets by the numbers:

  • 84.9 million or 67 percent of American households own at least one kind of pet.
  • 63.4 million or 53 percent of American households have at least one dog with 89.7 million dogs.
  • 42.7 million or 35.7 percent of households have at least one cat with 94.2 million cats.
  • 11.5 million or 9.6 percent of households own freshwater fish, averaging 12 fish if you’re counting.
  • 5.7 million or 4.8 percent of households keep birds, averaging just over three birds per home and 20.3 million total pet birds.
  • 4.5 million or 3.8 percent of households have reptiles, averaging two per household and a total of 9.4 million herps.
  • 1.6 million or 1.3 percent of households own horses, averaging just over four per owner and a total of 7.6 million horses considered pets.
  • 5.4 million or 4.5 percent of households have another type of small animal as a pet, totaling 14 million Guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters, pet rats, domestic ferrets and chinchillas.

Per parenting by the generations:

  • 89 percent Millennials share their home with at least one pet and 35 percent of all pet owners are Millennials.
  • 32 percent of pet owners are Generation Xers.

State by State

  • In 80 percent of states, over half of households include at least one pet.
  • Wyoming households are the most likely to include pets.
  • Households in Montana are the most likely to include dogs.
  • Households in West Virginia are the most likely to include cats.
  • Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, and Oklahoma are among the top ten states in dog ownership.
  • Washington, Kentucky, Indiana, and New Hampshire are among the top ten states in cat ownership.
  • Rhode Island households are the least likely to include cats and the least likely to include any kind of pet.
  • Households in Connecticut are the least likely to include a dog.

Pet Healthcare

Pet health is the second most significant expense to pet parents after their animals’ food. In general, mixed-breed animals have fewer health problems than purebreds.

  • Some pet parents report spending more on their pet’s medical expenses than they do on their own healthcare costs.
  • On average, dog owners take their dogs to a veterinarian 2.7 times per year; cats are less often.
  • Bird owners take their pets to see a veterinarian the most, with an average of 3.1 vet visits annually.
  • Surgery is the most expensive veterinary cost, averaging $474 for dogs, $245 for cats, and $75 for birds.
  • Routine veterinary appointments cost an average of $75 more for dogs than they do for cats. And those costs are generally more expensive in large urban areas.
  • An emergency veterinary visit costs dog owners $349 and cat owners $154 on average.