Americans are a pet loving society with 43.5-54.1 million households (37-46%) owning a dog and 35.3-45.9 households (30-39%) of households owning a cat. The wide range of households counted is due to the presence of two different surveys used to tally pets. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Pet Products Association (APPA) both separately track pet populations in the United States and are considered equally authoritative.
Every year, these organizations deliver online surveys to American households in effort to understand trends in pet ownership. The surveys uncover trends that impact and influence organizations, industries and interest groups such as veterinary professionals, businesses that support veterinarian medicine, animal welfare organizations, local governments with animal control and shelter operation and makers and merchants of pet foods, drugs and accessories. This year the AVMA reported 70 million dogs and 74 millions cats and the APPA reported 83 million dogs and 96 million cats.
Counts taken by these organizations have traditionally diverged. Conclusions drawn from the AVMA reveals a recent decrease in pet ownership whereas the APPA suggests that pet ownership is at an all-time high. Both surveys demonstrate an increase in pet ownership over the last thirty years that trends “almost exactly parallel” with the number of households in the United States. Interestingly this trend is independent of economic indicators negating the popular perception that people cannot afford to keep pets during economic slumps.
LA county has one of the biggest pet populations in the nation with 700,000-2 million cats and dogs. Again, the wide range is due to discrepancies in reporting with five sources reporting different numbers.