In the wake of COVID-19, the overall percentage of U.S. households owning petsnotched up from 54.0% in 2019 to 56.4%, according to Packaged Facts’ just-released Pet Population and Ownership Trends in the U.S.

By type of pet, 44% of households own dogs, 25% own cats, and 12% own otherpets (including fish, small mammals, herptiles, and birds).

Pet adoption and pet acquisition trends in 2021 have remained positive,according to David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, if not assupercharged as in the near-term wake of COVID-19.

Packaged Facts estimates that pet population growth in the wake of COVID-19brought the number of pet dogs to 96 million in 2020, up by over 10 millionfrom 2019, and the number of pet cats to 32 million, up by nearly 2 millionfrom 2019.

The stay-at-home, work-from-home, and school-kids-at-home dynamics in theCOVID-19 era, also edged up ownership rates for fish, small mammals (whereguinea pigs now have pride of place) and reptiles/amphibians. Pet birds,however, continue to decline in popularity and have slipped to last placewithin these four main classifications of “other” pets.

Acquisition of pets other than dogs and cats in the aftermath of COVID-19reflects the intertwined trends of owning multiple pets and owning multipletypes of pets. While 11% of pet-owning households overall added pets otherthan dogs or cats, 19% of those who already had dogs or cats did so.

Not surprisingly, pet acquisition has been higher among the youngergenerational cohorts: among Millennials/Gen Zers who were already pet ownersgoing into the COVID-19 era, 25% increased their level of pet ownership,compared with only 9% of their Boomer counterparts.

At the same time, the share of dog- or cat-owning households with senior petshas steadily risen such that over half of dog-owning households now have dogsage 7 or older, as holds true for their cat-owning counterparts.

From a longer-term 10-year perspective, some of the key growth for dogownership has been in demographics traditionally under-represented as dogowners. This trend is spurred by several dynamics, including the graying ofthe U.S. population, the shifting composition of American households, and theincreasing appeal of dog ownership to demographics traditionally less prone tokeep pet dogs.

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