One of the most common topics of conversation at the dog park (or anywhere pet parents get together) is how we acquired our pets. While we may know how friends and family members ended up with their fur kids, what does the national data show? There are two major sources of statistics that provide a snapshot of where our pets come from: the American Pet Products Association (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook.
The Humane Society of the United States has crunched the numbers from the latest editions of both of these pet ownership reports. Here is a quick overview of the data:
We’re happy to see that a majority of dogs and cats in the U.S. were acquired from either animal shelters or rescue groups! We also take in a good number of strays…mostly cats, since it’s much more common to see a homeless kitty show up at the back door than a stray pup. We also get a fair number of dogs and cats from friends and relatives, again more cats than dogs (unaltered cats allowed to roam outside and breed).
It’s also clear that pet store dog and cat purchases are way down into the single digits for both animals. We still get a fair amount of dogs from breeders (make sure to do your research before choosing a breeder to verify that your dog does not come from a puppy mill), while the number of cats coming from breeders is quite low.
Where did your best friend come from?
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