The American Veterinary Medical Association’s Veterinary Economics Division recently shared the results of a survey of 2,000 pet owners.

They found that both dog and cat populations in the US have increased in recent years, with more households owning either dogs or cats. However, there are fewer pets per household than in past years.

Animal shelters are growing in popularity as a source for pets. In 2020, 40% of cats and 38% of dogs came from shelters. Many people who reported that they got their pets from pet stores also said that the pets originally came from local shelters and rescues.

In 2016, there were 76.8 million pet dogs and 58.4 million pet cats in the US. In 2020, these numbers increased to 83.7 million dogs and 60 million cats.

In 2016, 38% of households owned dogs and 25% owned cats. These numbers rose in 2020, with 45% of households owning dogs and 26% owning cats.

The increase in pet ownership is tied to the pandemic and people’s ability to work at home. Remote workers were 8 times more likely to get a pet in 2020 than in previous years.

Two-thirds of younger pet owners cited “having more time” as a reason why they chose to get a new pet in 2020. 55% of older pet owners cited “companionship” as their primary reason for getting a new pet in 2020.

When it comes to veterinary care, the increased number of new pets combined with pandemic safety protocols made for busy veterinary practices.

There has been an increase in appointment wait times, especially at emergency clinics. But most owners were able to get an appointment within one week and most had appointment wait times of under 30 minutes.

Did you get a new furry companion in 2020? Let us know!


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