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An article in USA Today recently is reporting that pets in American households have declined by two millions dogs and 7.6 million cats between the years of 2006 and 2011.

The article reports that this is the first decrease in households with dogs and cats since 1991. It is estimated that 36.5 percent of homes in the United States have dogs and 30.4 percent have cats. Some veterinary experts interviewed for the article report the economy as the culprit for this pet ownership drop.

In the report, Karen Felsted, of Felsted Veterinary Consultants, shares, “The percentage of households that owned at least one pet was down 2.4 percent […] It’s a significant number.”

According to Dr. Kate Freeman, a veterinarian interviewed for the piece, the economy’s role in the decline has been significant, with the inability to care for pets financially a major reason why pet owners are finding new homes for dogs, cats, or decide not to adopt a pet at all.

Dr. Freeman told USA Today, “This drop in animal guardianship likely means that there are more animals in shelters. This not only puts a strain on the resources to which shelters have access, it may indicate that more animals are being euthanized due to space limitations, which is a tragedy.”

However, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) has reported that spending in the pet industry is expected to exceed $53 billion dollars in 2012. In a release issued earlier this year, the APPA revealed that pet insurance spending will increase and is estimated at $450 million and projected to grow to more than $500 million in 2012.


Pet sales and adoptions are flattening, according to APPA’s National Pet Owners Survey and others, meaning the total money spent is spread over virtually the same number of animals.

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