Spring 2013 Magazine

Pet Ownership Statistics and Trends

The American Pet Products Association releases a biennial National Pet Owners Survey which reports relevant statistics of pet ownership and the spending patterns of pet owners on their animals. The current report, which was released in April, 2013 covers the years 2011 and 2012.

62% of households own a pet which equates to 73 million homes.

Number of pets owned in the United States in millions:
Bird - 16.2
Cat - 86.4
Dog - 78.2
Equine - 7.9
Freshwater Fish - 151.1
Saltwater Fish - 8.61
Reptiles - 13.0
Small animals - 16.0

Annual cost of owing a dog or cat:
                                 Dogs   /   Cats
Surgical vet visits - $407.00 / $425.00
Routine vet visit - $248.00 / $219.00
Pet food - $254.00 / $220.00
Pet kennel boarding - $274.00 / $166.00
Pet vitamins - $95.00 / $43.00
Travel expenses - $78.00 / $48.00
Groomer/grooming aids - $73.00 / $34.00
Pet treats - $70.00 / $41.00
Pet toys - $43.00 / $21.00
(Figures from APPA's National Pet Owner Survey 2011/2012)

It's estimated that $52.87 billion dollars was spent on pets in 2012. This is compared to ten years ago in 2002 when we spent $29.5 billion dollars on our pets.

Comparative statistics for dogs and cats:

There are approximately 78.2 million owned dogs in the United States.
Thirty-nine percent of U.S. households own at least one dog.
Sixty percent of owners have one dog.
Twenty-eight percent own two dogs and 12% own three or more dogs.
Twenty-eight percent of owned dogs were adopted from animal shelters.
Seventy-eight percent of owned dogs are spayed or neutered.

There are approximately 86.4 million owned cats in the United States.
Thirty-three percent of U.S. households own at least one cat.
On average owners have two cats.
Twenty one percent of owned cats were adopted from an animal shelter.
Eighty-eight percent of owned cats are spayed or neutered.
(Figures courtesy of HSUS compilation.)

Some pet industry trends are continuations of ones from previous years but a few have gained in prominence. While pets have been considered part of the family for many years, in 2012 there appeared to be more discretionary income spent on pets. A large part of that discretionary income went to products and services.

There has never been such a variety of products and services for pets and their owners to enjoy. There is increased spending on Halloween costumes for your pet to travel-related expenses to specialty medical practices such as feline-only veterinary practices and more veterinary specialists. Although it appears the spending on routine veterinary visits is down that is expected to increase again.

Pet companies, like companies marketing to humans, are becoming more concerned about the environment. There is an increase in the number of earth-friendly products available for animals from organic food options to natural litter. The increased interest in feeding organic and non-traditional foods such as elk and bison to pets is traced to the many recalls on pet foods in recent years. People are concerned the food they feed their pets may not be safe so even though the organic foods may be higher in price, people are willing to pay the extra amount to have their animals stay out of the veterinary clinic.

The number of people traveling with their pets has increased and with it the services to help them find hotels that accept animals and places to visit with their pet. Some hotel chains have truly gone to the dogs. They offer oversize pet pillows, plush doggie robes and even check-in gift packages for the dog. The gift package might include a pet toy, a treat, an ID tag and a bone. Some hotels even have a licensed dog masseuse on the staff. If you want to take your dog with you in the car or truck while you travel, there are seat belt systems for dogs and portable crates to keep your dog safe.

Grooming is being taken to new levels. Now pet parents can go beyond a simple bath hair cut and nail trim to mouthwash and canine electric toothbrushes to enhance the grooming routine. Pet owners can keep their homes cleaner, too, with automatic self-flushing litter boxes, special cloths to keep muddy paws clean before they hit your living room rug and gel air fresheners to keep away pet odor.

All signs point to increased spending on pet insurance. As the cost of veterinary care and specialist care goes up, people are becoming more aware of the benefits of pet insurance.

Pet aftercare is also becoming the normal thing to do. More services are available for handling your pet's burial needs from cremation to funerals to pet cemeteries. Ten years ago there were almost no pet aftercare facilities in the United States. Now there are approximately 700. There are also many online services for buying urns, headstones and sculptures for your departed pet.

There is a rush for products that make life simpler for owner and pet. These products are often digital or electronic in nature. There are computerized ID tags, automatic doors and feeders, digitally controlled aquarium kits and touch-activated toys to keep your pets stimulated mentally and physically.

People are spending more on monogrammed items for their pets, too. These could be bowls, sweaters or other clothing and, handmade treats. Owners want their pets to have their own belongings.

All of these trends point to good business opportunities in the pet industry. The statistics have been on the rise in all areas from pet ownership to money spent on making your pet happy and healthy. If you are an owned pet, this may the best time to live. And if you are a pet owner, you certainly seem to be doing your best to pamper and care for your pets. Let's continue to make our pet's lives as good as we can in return for the unconditional love they give back to us.

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