Young men have the highest dog ownership rates in the US, according to Mintel research. Along with ownership demographics, the research explored opportunities for market growth in pet foods for older dogs and cats.

Mintel found that 71 percent of men aged 18-44 own a dog compared to 60 percent of their female counterparts.

While the majority (67 percent) of Americans own a pet, dogs are the nation’s number one furry companion with half (50 percent) of all Americans owning a dog. This rises to 52 percent of all US men, compared to 49 percent of women. Older Millennials in particular make up a large portion of the nation’s dog lovers as three quarters (75 percent) of consumers aged 30-39 own a dog.

One third (35 percent) of Americans own a cat. As with dogs, men (37 percent) are more likely to own a feline friend than women (33 percent), with ownership peaking among Millennials (46 percent).

“While pet ownership over the last few years has remained near half of all Americans, our research indicates that dog ownership is elevated among younger men,” said Rebecca Cullen, associate analyst at Mintel, in a press release. “As pets are seen more and more as companions and family members, Americans are taking additional steps to ensure their health and happiness, and are spending more in the process.”

Growth in older pet market

The market for older pets presents opportunities for increased spend and product differentiation. Some seven in 10 (70 percent) dog owners own a dog that is within the adult or senior age range, with age appropriate pet supplies a top priority for many. In fact, more than half (54 percent) of pet owners agree that it is important for their pet to be comfortable in their advanced age, with the majority saying that their pet eats food (57 percent) and treats (46 percent) that are age appropriate.

“The aging pet population creates new market opportunities and will increase demand for products that target issues and age-related conditions including joint, coronary, cognitive, and immune-system related concerns, such as diabetes and cancer,” said Cullen.