30+ Fascinating Dog Ownership Statistics Any Pet Lover Will Enjoy (2022)

owner kissing her dog 365 per insurance

Dogs are a part of daily life for billions of people around the world. As any dog owner knows, they provide unconditional love and companionship, and are considered by most to be a part of the family. With more dogs now kept as pets than ever before, a huge chunk of the population around the world agrees: Life is better with a dog.

We’ve gathered a list of some of the most interesting U.S .dog ownership statistics for you to enjoy. If you already have a furry friend, see how you relate to the studies and trends on this list. If you’re thinking about adopting a dog, here’s your chance to get the big picture on the world of canine companions.

Dog Ownership in the United States

Dog ownership is now deeply embedded in the culture of the United States. Here’s a look at just how dog-friendly this country is:

  • One in three households around the world own a pet. Countries where dog ownership is highest are Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, and then the US. [1]
  • According to a 2021 survey, 90.5 million US households own a pet, and 69 million of these own a dog. [2]
  • The concept of owning a pet—“a companion animal that plays no functional role in a household”—only dates back about 3,000 years. [3]
  • Every US president in history has owned a pet while in office, except for James K. Polk, Andrew Johnson, and Donald Trump. Most of these pets were dogs; George Washington is said to have owned at least eight. [4]
  • About 4.1 million animals are adopted from shelters each year in the United States. Approximately 2 million of these are dogs. [5]
  • The average dog owner in the US spends $1,201 per year on their pet. In contrast, the average cat owner in the US spends $687 per year on their pet. [6]
  • As many as 3 in 10 people in the United States are allergic to dogs and cats, though cat allergies are twice as common. [7]
  • Seattle is the US city with the most dogs per capita: 246.67 per 1,000 inhabitants. [8]

Dog Ownership Trends

As with most other aspects of modern culture, dog ownership is subject to trends. Get an idea of what’s popular in US dog ownership right now:

  • 32% of millennials now own pets—more than any other age group—and 82% of that number own a dog. [9]

  • As of 2020, the most popular dog breed in the US was the Labrador retriever, followed by the French bulldog and the German shepherd. [10]
  • According to a poll, the most popular dog name in the US currently is Bella. [11]
  • The average number of dogs in dog-owning households is 1.6, which means a significant number of people own more than one. [12]

Dog Ownership and COVID-19

Did your dog help keep your spirits up during the worst of the pandemic? Or maybe you brought a new furry friend into your home during this time? Either way, you’re not alone:

  • More than 23 million American homes—that’s 1 in 5—have adopted a new pet since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (including the White House!). [13]
  • Dog names inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic have been popular for new pets adopted during this time. In 2021, the popularity of the dog name Fauci went up by 270%. The popularity of the dog name Covid went up by 35%. [14]
  • Dog ownership has been shown to have positive effects on mental health. One study found that pet-dog owners were less depressed than non-pet owners during the COVID-19 pandemic. [15]

The Proven Benefits of Having a Dog

There’s more than just unconditional love in store for you if you adopt a dog. Check out what scientific research shows about the physical, mental, and social benefits of having a pup:

  • Owning a dog can help you be more active. A 2019 study suggests that dog owners are four times more likely to meet physical activity guidelines than others. [16]
  • One study of stressed-out college students showed that petting a dog for just 10 minutes lowered their cortisol levels, suggesting that dogs may help alleviate stress. [17]
  • A study done in Japan found that staring into your pet’s eyes increases your levels of oxytocin, a hormone commonly associated with love and bonding. [18]

  • Dogs can even help you make new friends. One study shows that 40% of owners reported receiving some type of social support from people they met through their pet. [19]
  • Military veterans living with a service dog have been shown to exhibit significantly lower severity of PTSD, plus lower levels of anxiety, anger, sleep problems, and substance abuse issues. [20]

Insurance for Your Dog

Is your dog insured? A dog insurance policy can save you money if an unexpected vet bill comes along. Take a look at some interesting facts about the pet insurance industry:

  • The pet insurance industry began in Sweden around 100 years ago. As of 2020, it’s become a $1.99 billion industry in the US. [21]
  • Of all pets who are insured, about 82% of these are dogs. [22]

  • Pets in the United States are less likely to be insured than pets in other countries. Only about 1% of US pets are covered, whereas 25% of UK pets are and about 40% of Swedish pets are. [23]
  • The first pet insurance policy in the US was taken out in 1982 for the dog who played Lassie. [24]

Just How Much Do People Love Their Dogs?

It’s hard to quantify how much we love our four-legged friends, but the following stats paint a pretty good picture:

  • 54% of dog owners say they’d consider ending a relationship if their dog didn’t like their new partner. [25]
  • 73% of people in a survey said they tell their dog things they wouldn’t tell anyone else. [26]
  • 56% of dog owners report that they celebrate their dog’s birthday in some way. [27]
  • 55% of dog owners in a survey say they allow their dog to sleep in their bed with them at night. [28]
  • One survey found that 57% of pet owners say they’d rather have a pet than a person as their only companion if deserted on an island. [29]
  • 93% of dog owners consider their pet to be a part of the family. [30]

Whether you own one yourself or not, these dog ownership statistics make this much clear: Dogs are an important part of most of our lives, and dog ownership is definitely here to stay.

Sources

  1. https://www.gfk.com/insights/mans-best-friend-global-pet-ownership-and-feeding-trends
  2. https://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp
  3. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/09/why-millennials-are-so-obsessed-with-dogs/619489/
  4. https://www.presidentialpetmuseum.com/whitehousepets-4/
  5. https://www.aspca.org/helping-people-pets/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics
  6. https://s2.q4cdn.com/437609071/files/doc_news/research/2020/pets-and-finances-survey.pdf
  7. https://www.aafa.org/pet-dog-cat-allergies/
  8. https://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/san-francisco-top-dog-for-canines/
  9. https://www.petfoodprocessing.net/articles/13709-appa-provides-generational-insight-into-pet-product-purchasing
  10. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeds/the-most-popular-dog-breeds-of-2020/
  11. https://www.rover.com/blog/dog-names/
  12. https://ebusiness.avma.org/ProductCatalog/product.aspx?ID=1529
  13. https://www.aspca.org/about-us/press-releases/new-aspca-survey-shows-overwhelming-majority-dogs-and-cats-acquired-during
  14. https://www.rover.com/blog/dog-names/
  15. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0260676
  16. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/29/well/move/dog-owners-get-more-exercise.html#:~:text=Dog%20owners%20spent%20close%20to,walking%20than%20people%20without%20dogs.&text=Dog%20owners%20are%20about%20four,study%20of%20dogs%20and%20exercise.
  17. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2332858419852592
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19124024/
  19. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0122085#:~:text=Around%2040%25%20of%20pet%20owners,they%20met%20through%20their%20pet.
  20. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306453018300441?via%3Dihub
  21. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-pet-ownership-and-insurance
  22. https://naphia.org/industry-data/section-2-total-pets-insured/
  23. https://todaysveterinarybusiness.com/insured-pet-population-grows-by-18/
  24. https://naphia.org/news/naphia-news/dr-jack-stephens-receives-lifetime-achievement-award-from-pet-insurance-industry/
  25. https://www.rover.com/blog/press-release/rover-com-reveals-new-research-dog-people/
  26. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/dog-owners-choose-pets-people/
  27. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/canine-corner/201705/how-important-is-your-dog-in-your-family-and-social-life
  28. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08927936.2018.1529354
  29. https://faunalytics.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Citation1338.pdf
  30. https://theharrispoll.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Harris-Interactive-Poll-Research-Pets-2007-12.pdf