By the end of 2019, an estimated seven million U.S. households will have acquired a new dog during the year, while more than five million U.S. households will have acquired a new cat over the same period of time. The data and research are featured by market research firm Packaged Facts in the brand new report U.S. Pet Market Focus: New Dog and Cat Owners.

A third (34%) of new dogs are adopted from pet shelters or rescue sources. Similarly, three out of ten 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.

Primary motivations for adopting a new dog or cat include:

  • love of dogs or cats
  • companionship for themselves or for others in the household
  • companionship for other pets in the household
  • for 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 themajority of newly adopted dogs are medium-size or smaller.  Beyond the eye test, very 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).