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Pets by the Numbers

Pet ownership survey data and The HSUS's estimates on pets adopted from or euthanized in U.S. shelters in 2012 and 2013

January 30, 2014

The number of dogs and cats euthanized every year has gone down, but annually there are about 2.7 million healthy shelter dogs and cats who aren't adopted. iStockphoto

Pet ownership in the U.S. has more than tripled from the 1970s, when approximately 67 million households had pets, to 2012, when there were 164 million owned pets.

In other words, in 2012, 62 percent of American households included at least one pet.

That same year, according to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent more than $50 billion on their beloved cats, dogs, and other animal companions.

U.S. pet-ownership estimates from the APPA for 2012

Dogs

  • 83.3 million—Number of owned dogs
  • 47 percent—Percentage of households that own at least one dog
  • 70 percent—Percentage of owners with one dog
  • 20 percent—Percentage of owners with two dogs
  • 10 percent—Percentage of owners with three or more dogs
  • 1.47—Average number of owned dogs per household
  • 20 percent—Percentage of owned dogs who were adopted from animal shelters
  • $231—Average annual amount spent by dog owners on routine veterinary visits
  • 83 percent—Percentage of owned dogs who are spayed or neutered
  • Even—Proportion of male to female owned dogs

Cats

  • 95.6 million—Number of owned cats
  • 46 percent—Percentage of owners with one cat
  • 31 percent—Percentage of owners with two cats
  • 24 percent—Percentage of owners with three or more cats
  • 2.11—Average number of owned cats per household
  • 26 percent—Percentage of owned cats who were adopted from an animal shelter
  • $193—Average annual amount spent by cat owners on routine veterinary visits
  • 91 percent—Percentage of owned cats who are spayed or neutered
  • 73 percent vs. 62 percent—The difference in number of owned female cats and owned male cats, respectively

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Help provide affordable services to pet owners in communities without veterinary clinics and pet-supply stores by volunteering for Pets for Life >>


 
U.S. shelter and adoption estimates for 2012-13

There is no central data reporting system for U.S. animal shelters and rescues. These estimates are based on information provided by the (former) National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy.

Just as the U.S. has come a long way over the last few decades in terms of increased pet ownership, it's also progressed in terms of euthanasia. The number of dogs and cats euthanized each year in shelters has decreased, from 12–20 million to an estimated 3–4 million. However, there's still work to do: An estimated 2.7 million healthy shelter pets are not adopted each year, and only about 30 percent of pets in homes come from shelters or rescues.

  • 3,500—Number of animal shelters
  • 6 to 8 million—Number of cats and dogs entering shelters each year
  • 25 percent—Percentage of purebred dogs in shelters
  • 3 to 4 million—Number cats and dogs adopted from shelters each year
  • 2.7 million—Number of adoptable cats and dogs euthanized in shelters each year
  • 30 percent—Percentage of shelter dogs reclaimed by their owners
  • 2 to 5 percent—Percentage of shelter cats reclaimed by owners