A recent National Pet Owners survey found that American pet ownership is more popular than ever. Around 71 million (63%) of American households have at least one pet. This is up from 51 million in 1988, which is the first year that the survey was conducted.
Freshwater fish make up the bulk of pets owned, but this is because many people have multiple fish in their aquarium. There are around 142 million freshwater fish living as pets in the United States. Saltwater fish, which are much more difficult and expensive to care for, hold the lowest popularity amongst common pets, at 9.6 million.
Cats are the second most popular, with 88.3 million cats living in households around the United States. Cats are a popular choice because of their independence and their ability to use a litter box.
Domesticated cats don’t require walks and most are happy to stay indoors.
Dogs are close behind at 74.8 million. Fewer households have multiple dogs, but more households own dogs than cats. While dogs are the prodigal companion for many aspiring pet owners, you must consider the amount of attention that dogs require. They must be taken outside multiple times a day, require plenty of attention and affection, and can have distinct personalities that may not be a fit for your family. Many dogs end up in shelters because owners do not consider the requirements of dog ownership.
Twenty-four million households own small mammals, which can include bunnies, hamsters, guinea pigs, or mice. These small rodents can be friendly and affectionate, but require frequent handling to reach domestication. Birds occupy the homes of 16 million of pet owners and 13.4 reptiles slither their way into the hearts of Americans. These animals are less popular, because they are often hard to find veterinary care for, and they have environmental or diet requirements that can be expensive. This can include UV lighting, wood shavings, and mineral blocks.