Specially formulated pet food trends of dog, cat owners

The American Pet Products Association’s (APPA) 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey examined buying trends among cat and dog owners.

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(ikostudio | BigStock.com)
(ikostudio | BigStock.com)

Dog owners tend to buy different types of specially formulated pet food than cat owners, according to results from the American Pet Products Association’s (APPA) 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey.

Fifteen percent of dog owners reported purchasing formulations meant for senior canines making it the most frequently purchased type of specialty formulation for canines. Weight-control formulations were the second most common at 11 percent, followed by foods for middle-aged pets at 9 percent. However, 41 percent of dog owners do not use any type of specially formulated dog food.

Cat owner purchased foods specially formulated for indoor cats most frequently (39 percent). Hairball management formulations were the second most popular with 16 percent of respondents. Fourteen percent of cat owners reported buying formulations for senior cats, making it the third most frequently purchased. Cat owners who reported not using specialty formulations made up 30 percent of the total.

Pet food spending in the United States

In 2017, pet owners in the United States spent more on their dogs, cats, birds and other creatures than ever before, according to the APPA. Consumers spent US$69.51 billion on their companion animals in 2017. That figure surpassed the previous year's by nearly three billion dollars (US$66.75 billion spent in 2016), a 4 percent growth.

The largest percentage of total pet product spending in the US was on pet food. Approximately, $29.69 billion of the 2017 total went to pet food, according to APPA statistics.

Pet ownership in the United States

During the past two decades, pet ownership has risen consistently in the US, according to the survey. Sixty-eight percent of US households include a pet. Considering that the most recent census reported 124.6 million households, approximately 84.6 million households own pets. Of those households, 46 percent included multiple types of pets. Dogs are the most common pets in the United States, followed by cats and then birds.

How National Pet Owners Survey was conducted

The National Pet Owners Survey included responses from 2,559 pet owners from various parts of the United States.

The survey included respondents from four generations:

  • Gen Y (millennials) – aged 18-36; born 1994-1980
  • Gen X – aged 37-51; born 1979-1965
  • Baby boomers – aged 52-70; born 1964-1946
  • Builders – aged 71+; born 1945-1920

Respondents answered one of eight sets of questions about specific types of pets, including dogs, cats, reptiles, freshwater fish, birds, saltwater fish, horses and small animals. Ipsos, Inc. conducted the survey.

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