Choosing a family pet is an important life decision, one that will affect not only the quality of your daily life, but the health and welfare of the pet you’re considering to bring into your home. There are so many factors to consider when deciding which type of pet is right for you; space, cost, activity level, and time commitment, to name a few.

By taking a look at some of the most popular pets in the U.S. and world at large, we might get a better idea of which types of animals people enjoy living with, and why.

Pet Ownership Around the World

Pets are a big part of life in many parts of the world, and a growing economy often means a growing pet population. Dogs and cats are the most popular pets in North America and abroad:

  • Asia – Although some Asian countries are densely populated, there aren’t as many households with pets as in other parts of the world. China ranks as one of lowest pet populations (11 million cats and 26.8 million dogs), while Japan has more pets per capita (9.8 million cats and 13.1 million dogs).
  • Africa – Many African countries haven’t been properly surveyed, so it’s difficult to tell just how many Africans own pets. Ethiopia has an estimated dog population of 5 million, and just 250,000 cats. South Africans also prefer pet dogs (7.4 million) over cats (2 million).
  • Australia – Due to heavy restrictions and regulations regarding pets, Australia’s pet ownership is lower than in other places (only 3.5 million dogs and 2.4 million cats).
  • Europe – The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) performed the largest pet ownership survey so far in Europe (2008), and it found that there are an estimated 6.7 million pet dogs and 9.8 million pet cats.
  • South America – Argentina has the highest pet ownership rates in South America: a whopping 80% of the residents polled reported in as pet owners. Brazil comes in at a close second with 75%.

Most Popular Pets in the U.S.

Studies show that the U.S. ranks fifth in the world for pet ownership. In a recent survey performed by the American Pet Products Association, pet ownership in the United States is at an all-time high, with dogs and cats reigning as the most popular pets.

According to the 2007 National Pet Owners Survey, pet preferences in America are as follows:

  • 142 million freshwater fish
  • 88.3 million cats
  • 74.8 million dogs
  • 24.3 million small animals
  • 16 million birds
  • 13.8 million horses
  • 13.4 million reptiles
  • 9.6 million saltwater fish

And the Worldwide Winner Goes To…

Our tried and true best friend, the dog! Pet dogs don’t beat out cats, fish, or birds in sheer numbers, but more households have at least one dog in them than any other pet, making dogs the most popular pet in the world. Recent surveys show cats are a close second, followed by fish (12%), birds (6%), and other pet types (6%).

All pets, regardless of species, need to visit the veterinarian for a wellness checkup at least once per year. This important visit ensures that they are staying healthy, receiving necessary vaccines and parasite preventives, and gives pet owners the opportunity to discuss their pet’s ongoing needs and other concerns.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center for your pet’s next check-up or other care service. We look forward to seeing you!