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National Pet Week: Pets By Number

May 1 2023

National Pet Week starts on May 7th this year. There’s no shortage of animal holidays on the calendar, and we love to honor them all. This one is a pretty broad topic, so it seems like a purrfect time to go over a few interesting statistics about our animal companions. A Rancho Santa Fe, CA  vet delves into this pawesome topic below.


Our furry (and feathered and scaled) friends play important roles in our lives. The US Census Bureau apparently agrees, as they now include pet information in their surveys. As far as popularity goes, well, let’s just say that Man’s Best Friend isn’t giving that title up anytime soon. Dogs were the most popular pet in the 2021 study: about 49 million households have a canine companion. Fluffy also did pretty well here, as she is currently sound asleep in about 22 million homes. Fish came in third, at about 4.9 million households. Birds, small animals, and reptiles closed out the ranks, with each coming in at over 2 million households apiece. (It’s probably safe to say that hissing cockroaches came in dead last, but the figures didn’t break it down that far.)


There does seem to be some correlation between household makeup and pet ownership. Families with children were the most likely to have pets. Nearly 60 percent of families with kids under 18 had animal companions, compared to about 46 percent of those without kids. Homeowners were also slightly more likely to have pets than renters: those figures came in at 56 and 38 percent respectively. Of course, the fact that many landlords don’t allow pets may factor in there. 


Fido seems to have been at our side the longest. Scientists estimate that we’ve been pals with our canine friends for possibly as much as 30,000 years. Silver and Fluffy were next in line. Though no one knows for sure, we seem to have domesticated kitties about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, and horses about 6000 years ago. Both were part of everyday life by ancient Egyptian times. In fact, our feline pals apparently haven’t changed too much over the years: a recent excavation of a Roman ruin revealed a telltale kitty pawprint in cement. 

Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Rancho Santa Fe, CA animal clinic!