U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics

Of all U.S. households, 59.5% owned pets in 2006. The
number of U.S. households owning pets grew to 68.7
million in 2006 from 61.1 million in 2001, an increase of
12.4%. About two-thirds of pet-owning households, or
64.0%, owned more than one pet in 2006, with 21.2% of
households owning at least 5 pets.

In 2006, nearly half of pet owners, or 49.7%, considered
their pets to be family members and nearly half, or 48.2%,
considered their pets to be pets/companions. Of all U.S.
households, 37.2% owned a dog in 2006. The number of U.
S. households that owned dogs increased to 43 million in
2006 from 37.8 million in 2001, an increase of 13.8%. Dog-
owning households had an average number of 1.7 dogs in
2006. More than half of the dog population, or 56.0%, was
under the age of 6 in 2006

At the end of 2006, the pet dog population in the U.S. was
approximately 72 million. More than half, or 53.5% of dog
owners, considered their dogs to be a member of the family
in 2006. Of all U.S. households, 32.4% owned a cat in
2006. Cat-owning households had an average number of
2.2 cats in 2006. Cat owners were fairly evenly split on how
they viewed their cats – 49.2% viewed them as family
members and about 49.4% viewed them as pets or
companions in 2006.

Of all U.S. households, 3.9% owned a bird in 2006. Bird
ownership has dropped since 2001, with about 4.5 million
households owning a bird in 2006, compared to 4.8 million
in 2001. More than half, or 51.3%, of bird owners
considered their birds to be family members in 2006. Of all
U.S. households, 1.8% owned horses as pets in 2006, up
5.9% in the past five years. The average number of horses
per horse-owning household was 3.5 in 2006, the highest
it has been in the past decade.

There were an estimated 2.1 million horse-owning
households in the U.S. in 2006, representing a total pet
horse population of about 7.3 million. Pet fish made up the
largest category of exotic pets, with 7.8% of U.S.
households owning them in 2006. The pet fish population
was 75.9 million in 2006. The average number of fish per
fish-owning household was 8.4 in 2006.

Dogs represented 61.9% of total veterinary visits in 2006;
cats, 32.8%; specialty and exotic pets, 2.4%; horses, 2.2%;
and birds, 0.7%. Total veterinary expenditures for all
household pets were estimated to be $24.5 billion in 2006.
The average veterinary expenditure per household for all
pets was $366 in 2006. The average expenditure per visit
was $104 and $130 per pet. Dogs represented 65.9% of
veterinary expenditures; cats, 29.0%; specialty and exotic
pets, 1.8%; and birds, 0.4%.

Among dog-owning households, 82.7% had at least one
visit to the veterinarian in 2006, down by 1.1% from 2001.
Households that owned dogs saw the veterinarian an
average of 2.6 times in 2006, a 3.7% decrease since
2001. Each dog saw the veterinarian an average of 1.5
times, down 21.1% from 2001.

Households that viewed their dogs as family members
visited the veterinarian an average of 3.0 times in 2006,
compared to 2.2 visits for households that considered their
dogs to be pets/companions and 1.1 visits for dogs
considered property. The average veterinary expenditure
per dog-owning household was $356 in 2006, an increase
of $95 since 2001. The average expenditure per visit was
$135 and $200 per dog. In 2006, the total spent on
veterinary care for dogs was about $16.1 billion, a 38.8%
increase over 2001 expenditures.

Dog-owning households that considered their dogs to be
family members spent 1.7 times more on veterinary
expenditures than those that considered their dogs to be
pet/companions and 3.4 times more than those that
considered their dogs to be property in 2006. Among cat-
owning households, 63.7% had at least one visit to the
veterinarian in 2006, down by 2.5% from 2001.
Households that owned cats saw the veterinarian an
average of 1.7 times in 2006, a 5.6% decrease since
2001. Each cat saw the veterinarian an average of 0.7
times a year in 2006, down 30.0% from 2001.

In 2006, cats made an estimated 63.3 million visits to the
veterinarian, a 10.6% decrease from 2001. Households
that viewed their cats as family members visited the
veterinarian an average of 2.0 times in 2006, compared to
1.4 visits for households that considered their cats to be
pets/companions and 0.7 visits for cats considered
property. The average veterinary expenditure per cat-
owning household was $190 in 2006, an increase of $30
since 2001. The average expenditure per visit was $112
and $81 per cat. In 2006, the total spent on veterinary
care for cats was about $7.1 billion, a 7.6% increase over
2001 expenditures.

Cat-owning households that considered their cats to be
family members spent 1.6 times more on veterinary
expenditures per household that those that considered
their cats to be pets/companions and 3.3 times more than
those that considered their cats to be property in
2006. The average veterinary expenditure per household
for birds was $25 in 2006, an increase of $7 since 2001.

The average veterinary expenditure per visit was $82 and
$9 per bird. The average veterinary expenditure per
household for horses was about $360, an increase of
about $97 since 2001. The average veterinary expenditure
per visit was $167 and $92 per horse. In 2006, the total
spent on veterinary care for horses was about $718.3
million, an 18.1% increase over 2001 expenditures. The
average veterinary expenditure for specialty and exotic
pets in 2006 was $93 per visit and $7 per pet.  In 2006, the
total spent on veterinary care for specialty and exotic pets
was $435 million.
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