Our Love for Pets, By the Numbers
Americans love their pets. Not only do over 73 million households own at least one pet (about 63 percent of all American households), these pet owners spent a whopping $50 billion on their furry, feathered, scaly friends last year! To celebrate this love, which admittedly can be odd at times, I have collected an interesting list of facts about Americans and their pets.
1. Americans spent over $50 billion dollars on their pets last year. That is more than on movies ($18 billion), video games ($25 billion) and children’s dental care ($30 billion).
2. Thirty-four percent of U.S. households have one or more cats, equaling about 86 million pet cats.
3. Thirty-nine percent of American households have one or more dogs, equaling about 78 million pet dogs.
4. Seattle has 1.5 dogs for every child.
5. Americans own more than 16 million birds, 9 million ferrets, 13 million small reptiles and 7.9 million horses.
6. Americans spend about $5 billion on holiday gifts for their pets.
7. Americans spend twice as much on pet food ($19 billion) than our government spends on the National School Lunch program.
8. Americans spend more on vet care and medical supplies ($25 billion) for their pets than they do on their own gym memberships ($17 billion) and vitamins ($6 billion) combined.
9. On average, family dogs visit the vet twice as often as men ages 18-45 visit their doctor.
10. Dog owners live up to three years longer than the average American.
11. The American Journal of Cardiology found that dog owners were six times more likely to survive an additional year of life after a heart attack than victims without a pet dog.
12. A ten-year study involving 4000 people showed a cat reduces your heart attack risk by nearly one-third!
13. The Mayo Clinic found that seniors living with a companion animal have 21% less doctor visits.
14. Many pets, like their American counterparts, do not get enough exercise and eat more than is required for a healthy weight. Consequently, about 12% of dogs are considered overweight, as are 14% of cats. Fortunately, this number is going down. For example in 2008, 21% of cats were labeled overweight, as compared to the current 14% listed above.
15. Americans lead the world in both cat and dog ownership.
16. About 63% of cat owners let their cats sleep with them in their beds while only about 42% of Americans let their dogs bed-snuggle at night.
17. 1 in 28 Americans generously donate to the Humane Society.
18. The American company, Neuticles, has sold over 500,00 pairs of fake testicles to owners of neutered pets.
19. Approximately 1.4 million Americans take their dog to work with them multiple times a month.
20. In the event of an disaster situation, most pet owners, regardless of type of pet, would opt to take their pet with them. In the case where a pet owner would have to choose between medical care for themselves and their pet, 16% of dog owners and 13% of cat owners said they would treat their pet first.
Most of the above information was derived from the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association’s 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey.