American households are home to almost 400 million pets, including 192 million dogs and cats. Between companion animals, service and therapy animals, and performance animals, nearly 70% of U.S. households owned at least one pet in 2021. More than half of U.S. households own a dog and more than one-third own a cat.
Pet owners rely on routine veterinary care and animal health products to keep their pets healthy and prevent diseases like rabies and avoid fleas and ticks. Ninety-five percent dog and cat owners consider their pets to be like members of the family. Eighty-six percent of pet owners say they would pay whatever it takes to address extensive veterinary needs.
Animal health companies develop cutting edge treatments for pet health problems, such as arthritis and cancer. Over the 15-year average lifetime of a pet, health care expenditures like medications, parasite control, vaccinations, checkups, and dental care are estimated to be at least $8,010 for a dog and $5,610 for a cat.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, research showed that pets improved the lives of their owners by reducing anxiety, depression, and PTSD; improving coping and social skills; and positively impacting development. As a result, pets help their owners live longer, improving cardiovascular health and increasing physical activity. Pet owners are also more likely to connect with people in their neighborhood and become more involved in their communities.
During the pandemic, the emotional benefits of pets increased, with research revealing that companion animals decreased feelings of loneliness, isolation, anxiety, depression and increased a sense of purpose.