Pet Statistics

How many pets are in the United States? How many animals are in shelters?

Facts about U.S. Animal Shelters:

The terms “humane society” and “SPCA” are generic; shelters using those names are not part of the ASPCA or The Humane Society of the United States. Currently, no government institution or animal organization is responsible for tabulating national statistics for the animal protection movement. These are national estimates; the figures may vary from state to state.

  • Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats.  We estimate that the number of dogs and cats entering U.S. shelters annually has declined from approximately 7.2 million in 2011.  The biggest decline was in dogs (from 3.9 million to 3.3 million).
  • Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats).  The number of dogs and cats euthanized in U.S. shelters annually has declined from approximately 2.6 million in 2011.  This decline can be partially explained by an increase in the percentage of animals adopted and an increase in the number of stray animals successfully returned to their owners.
  • Approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.6 million dogs and 1.6 million cats).
  • About 710,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 620,000 are dogs and only 90,000 are cats.

Facts about Pet Ownership in the U.S.:

  • It's estimated that 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 44% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 35% have a cat. (Source: American Pet Products Association 2015-2016 (APPA))
  • Approximately 40% of dog owners and 46% of cat owners learned about their pet through word of mouth. (Source:  APPA)
  • According to the APPA, these are the most common sources from which primary methods cats and dogs are obtained as pets (Note: this information was based on a multiple response question, which results in the total % exceeding 100% individually for cats and dogs.  In addition, the ‘other’ category includes all source categories that were reported by <10% of both dog and cat owners):
     DogsCats
    Animal Shelter/Humane Society23%31%
    Friends/Relatives20%28%
    Breeder34%3%
    Stray6%27%
    Private Party12%6%
    Other32%39%

     
    APPA reports that 34% of dogs are purchased from breeders, while 23% of dogs and 31% of cats are obtained from an animal shelter or humane society.

  • Around 27% of cats are acquired as strays, down from 35% in 2012. (Source: APPA)

  • According to the ASPCA’s National Rehoming Survey, pet problems are the most common reason that owners rehome their pet, accounting for 47% of rehomed dogs and 42% of rehomed cats.  Pet problems were defined as problematic behaviors, aggressive behaviors, grew larger than expected, or health problems owner couldn’t handle.

The preceding data are ASPCA estimates unless otherwise indicated.

You may also wish to visit:

American Pet Products Association
http://www.americanpetproducts.org/

The National Council on Pet Population Study & Policy (NCPPSP)
http://www.petpopulation.org

The American Veterinary Medical Association
http://www.avma.org (see U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics)