Millennials led US pet ownership to 84.6 million in 2016

The latest American Pet Products Association (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey show pet ownership is up.

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photo by Andrea Gantz
photo by Andrea Gantz

Highlights from the latest American Pet Products Association (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey show pet ownership is up. Sixty-eight percent of American households now own a pet, accounting for 84.6 million pet-owning households, up from 79.7 million pet-owning households in 2015. Bob Vetere, president and CEO of APPA, announced the 2017-2018 results at Global Pet Expo, an annual trade show presented by APPA and Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA).

Pet ownership, in general, is up and the Survey shows a new generation of pet owners contributing to that growth. Gen Y/millenial pet ownership has officially surpassed baby boomer ownership by three percentage points to now account for 35 percent of all pet owners.

“Millennials may be the largest generation segment of pet owners in general, but they also account for more than half of reptile, small animal and saltwater fish owners,” said Vetere. “This is a very passionate, active and connected group, and it’s been very exciting to see the ways in which our industry is working to meet the demands of this powerful demographic.”

New data from the 2017-2018 APPA National Pet Owners Survey also reveals insight into how pet owners feel about their pets. 

Key personal statements:

  • 85% of owners believe pets are a good source of affection
  • 82% agree that interacting with a pet can help them relax
  • 81% are aware that owning a pet can be beneficial to their own health
  • 81% feel unconditional love for their pet
  • 61% feel buying a pet product made in the USA is important to them

New questions in the 2017-2018 Survey provided information on:

  • Data and trends in pet food and treats
  • Data on raw and freeze-dried dog and cat food
  • Limited-ingredient dog and cat food
  • Grain-free and gluten-free dog and cat treats
  • Grass treats for cats
  • Trends in calming products for pets
  • Trends in technology products
  • Interactive feeders
  • Pet doors with microchip sensors
  • Pet-monitoring systems/cameras

“The latest Survey includes everything from percentage of owners buying gifts for their pets and most popular types of reptiles owned, to pets in the workplace and more,” said Vetere.

The 600 plus-page Survey provides insight into demographics, buying habits and other traits of owners of dogs, cats, fish, birds, reptiles, small animals and horses and is provided to APPA members as a member benefit. Visit for more information.

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