Furry Friends

By the numbers

December 11, 2005

Americans love their pets and are spending ever-growing amounts of money to care for them.

Here's a look at some pet statistics:


There are approximately 65 million owned dogs in the United States.

On average, dog owners spent $263 on veterinary related expenses in the past 12 months.

72% of owned dogs are spayed or neutered.


There are approximately 77.6 million owned cats in the United States.

Cat owners spent an average of $113 on veterinary related expenses in the past 12 months.

84% of owned cats are spayed or neutered.

39% of America's pet owners display their pet's picture in their home.

16% of America's pet owners keep a picture of their pet in their wallet or purse.

Biting the hand

A survey by the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta concluded that dogs bite nearly 2% of the U.S. population - more than 4.7 million people - annually.

Almost 800,000 bites per year - one out of every 6 - are serious enough to require medical attention.

Every year 2,851 letter carriers are bitten.

Abandoned friends

* More than 12 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters each year. Millions more are abandoned in rural and urban areas.

* As many as 25% of dogs entering shelters each year are purebreds.

*Approximately 61% of all dogs entering shelters are killed.

A Christmas warning

Christmas is a favorite time to buy a pet, but for the pet's sake potential owners should think long and hard about three basic questions:

Who will care for the pet?

Who will pay for the pet's veterinary care? Is the pet's new home suitable for its needs?

Sources: The Humane Society of the United States; Centers for Disease Control; American Pet Products Manufacturers Association; U.S. Postal Service

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