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3 in 10 New Dogs and Cats in US Homes are Adopted From Shelters or Rescues, Report Finds

7 million US households will get a dog this year, and 5 million will get a cat.




ROCKVILLE, MD — Pet ownership continues is trending upward, and more than a third of new dogs are adopted from pet shelters or rescue sources, according to a new report from market research firm Packaged Facts.

Similarly, three out of 10 cats are adopted from pet shelters or rescue sources.

For both dogs and cats, pet shelters and rescue sources are the leading single method of acquisition.

By the end of 2019, an estimated 7 million U.S. households will have acquired a new dog during the year, while more than 5 million U.S. households will have acquired a new cat over the same period of time.

The data and research are featured in the new report “U.S. Pet Market Focus: New Dog and Cat Owners.”

Primary motivations for adopting a new dog or cat include:

  • Love of dogs or cats.
  • Companionship for self or for others in the household.
  • Companionship for other pets in the household.
  • Personal mental health/stress reduction benefits.
  • Companionship for the sake of children in the household (though this tendency is notably more important in households adopting dogs versus households adopting cats).

When it comes to adding a new dog to the home, the size of the dog matters more than just about any other factor. Packaged Facts found that the majority of newly adopted dogs are medium-size or smaller.

Few new dog adopters fully research types of dogs for suitability (including disposition, space and exercise requirements, barking or guard dog characteristics, getting along with children, getting along with other pets).

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at

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