Monday, 04 March 2013 20:29

Survey Reveals Pet Ownership at All-Time High Featured

Written by 
Rate this item
(0 votes)

- American Pet Products Association (APPA) releases the 2013-2014 National Pet Owners Survey, the most comprehensive consumer research providing insight on demographics, buying habits, and other traits of U.S. owners of dogs, cats, fish, birds, equine, reptiles, and small animals.-

(GREENWICH, Conn.) – Bob Vetere, president & CEO of the American Pet Products Association (APPA) is pleased to announce the release of the 2013-2014 National Pet Owners Survey. Pet ownership in the United States is at a record high thanks in part to pet owners’ willingness to promote owning a pet to others. Nearly one-half of pet owners report they heard of their pet’s availability by word-of-mouth. The Survey indicates that pet ownership among all U.S. households is 68 percent. This equates to an increase to 82.5 million pet owning households in 2012.

“As an industry, we have been working very hard to promote the joys and benefits of responsible pet ownership and we are thrilled to see that more people are opening their homes and sharing their families with pets than ever before,” said APPA President and CEO Bob Vetere. “We believe that key initiatives have contributed to the growth and increasing word-of-mouth including the formation of the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative two years ago, a large national social media campaign called Pets Add Life, school program, Pets in the Classroom and public service ad campaign, The Shelter Pet Project.”

Coincident with the increase in overall pet ownership is a comparable gain in the total number of households owning a dog or cat. Dog ownership swelled to 56.7 million households, while cat ownership grew to 45.3 million. These gains in dog and cat owning households mean that the total number of these pets has also increased. The current Survey reports a total of 83.3 million dogs and 95.6 million cats in the U.S.

Ownership Level by Species

While the number of households owning a pet has increased in all categories from the last survey, the proportion of ownership by species has remained fairly stable. Dogs and cats are still the most popular species, owned by 46.7 percent and 37.3 percent of U.S. households, respectively. After a decline in 2010, freshwater fish returned to ownership levels previously reported from 2000 to 2008 (12 percent). The same can be said for bird ownership, which dipped in 2008 and 2010 to five percent, but is now back up to 5.7 percent. Horse ownership rebounded in 2012, returning to 2.3 percent after a slight drop in 2010. Small animal and reptile ownership levels have increased to 5.7 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively. Saltwater fish ownership saw an increase as well, at 1.5 percent of the total (online) U.S. population. More households than ever before own small animals, reptiles or saltwater fish.

Multiple Pet Ownership

An increase in multiple pet owning households also contributed to the overall growth in pet ownership. The Survey reveals that multiple pet ownership is at an all-time high, of 53.4 million in 2012. Similar to years past, the most popular combination of pets owned is a dog and cat, as noted by 29 percent of pet owners in 2012. Approximately 40 percent of pet owning households own multiple types of pets. Industry initiatives such as Pets Add Life and Maddie’s Fund have specifically targeted multiple pet owning households based on the idea that people with an affinity to pets already are more likely to add another to their household.

How Owners Learn of Pet’s Availability

A new question in the Survey asked owners to indicate how they learned of the availability of their pet. Between 40 and 50 percent of pet owners learned their pet was available through word of mouth, making it the most popular method. Signs and billboards are the least popular, with between two and 15 percent of respondents citing them as an awareness source.

Amount Spent on Pets in the Past 12 Months

As might be expected, food is one of the highest annual expenses for owners of all species, except freshwater fish, with $239 spent on food for dogs, and $203 spent on food for cats. Veterinarian visits, whether emergency, sick, surgical or routine, are also named as top expenses, particularly among dog, cat, and bird owners. Boarding is another item of significant expense for owners, with an average of $327 spent on dog boarding, $337 on cat boarding and $3,584 spent on boarding horses. It is also worth noting that for many common expenses, dog owners spend more, on average, than cat owners. For example, amounts spent on beds, treats, grooming, heartworm medication, leashes, surgical vet visits and toys for dogs are close to double amounts spent on those same items for cats.

Caring for a Pet’s Health

Increases in both dollar amount spent and services provided indicate pet owners’ priority in caring for their pets’ health. With pet insurance expected to increase in 2013, it is another sign of pet owners treating their pets like a true member of the family. The use of pet meds and supplements to ensure longer, healthier lives for pets is increasing as well.

The complete 2013-2014 APPA National Pet Owners Survey includes more than 500 pages of detailed information on pets. The Survey will be available for purchase online at

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) is the leading not-for-profit trade association serving the interests of the pet products industry since 1958. APPA membership includes more than 1,000 pet product manufacturers, their representatives, importers and livestock suppliers, representing both large corporations and growing business enterprises. APPA's mission is to promote, develop and advance pet ownership and the pet product industry and to provide the services necessary to help its members prosper. Visit for more information.


Read 2890 times
Jon Patch

Graduated from Penn State University in 1983 and landed my first broadcasting job at the flagship station to SUN Radio Network in St. Petersburg, FL as a producer of talk radio. In 3 months advanced to a network producer, then on air as a national eventually local weather reporter for the Tampa Bay area. Held a position in management as a trainer to new hosts and producers and later Affiliate Relations Manager, eventually in 1990 started hosting, Talkin' Pets. Left SUN radio several years later and worked with USA Radio Networks for 1 year. I worked with Business TalkRadio & Lifestyle TalkRadio Networks for19 years under the title of V.P. Affiliate Relations and Programming, later worked with Genesis Communications until starting a new network ATRN.  Currently working with GAB Radio Network and with Josh Leng at Talk Media Network.  I am still hosting the largest and longest running pet radio and internet show in the country, Talkin' Pets, for the past 29 years... My one true passion in life is to help to educate the world through interviews with celebrities like Betty White, Tippi Hedren, Bob Barker, Linda Blair and others, authors, foundations and organizations like the ASPCA, LCA, HSUS, AHA, WSPA on the ways to make this world a better place for all animals and mankind whom all share this very fragile and mysterious planet called earth. This is the only home we have so we all need to learn how to share and maintain it so that life for us all continues and evolves forever...

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.