How much do dog owners spend a month?
Pet Industry Market Size, Trends & Ownership Statistics
In 2022, $136.8 billion was spent on our pets in the U.S.
Pet Food & Treats $58.1 billion
Supplies, Live Animals & OTC Medicine $31.5 billion
Vet Care & Product Sales $35.9 billion
Other Services* $11.4 billion
Total $136.8 billion
*Other Services include boarding, grooming, insurance, training, pet sitting and walking and all services outside of veterinary care
Projected Sales within the U.S. Market in 2023
In 2023, a total of $143.6 billion in sales is projected in the U.S.
Pet Food & Treats $62.7 billion
Supplies, Live Animals & OTC Medicine $32.1 billion
Vet Care & Product Sales $37.0 billion
Other Services* $11.8 billion
Total $143.6 billion
Data sources and notes
- Pet Food & Treats – Source: Nielsen Scan – 52 Weeks ending 12/31/2022 for xAOC and Total Pet Retail. E-commerce pet food sales data powered by Rakuten Intelligence. Pet food sales for 2022 in Vet clinics, Farm & Feed, Direct-to-Consumer, and Costco were estimated using industry/financial reports and any available data for either of these channels.
- Pet Supplies Live Animals & OTC Medicine: Pet Supplies and OTC Meds are based on data provided by Nielsen Scan, Rakutan Intelligence and Packaged Facts. Live Animals includes fish, birds, small animals and reptiles and is based on APPA estimates and data provided by leading retailers and industry suppliers.
- Vet Care & Product Sales: Includes routine veterinary care, surgical procedures and sales of pharmaceuticals and other products through veterinary clinics and is based on data provided by AVMA, Packaged Facts, and industry sources. Excludes food and treat sales.
- Other Services: Includes grooming, training, boarding, insurance, pet sitting/walking and all services outside of Vet Care and is based on data provided by Packaged Facts and leading industry retailers.
All data was reviewed and validated by industry experts and leading pet retailers and manufacturers.
Pet Ownership Statistics from the 2023-2024 APPA National Pet Owners Survey
According to the 2023-2024 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 66% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 86.9 million households.
Estimated Number of U.S. Households that Own a Pet
Bird 6.1 million
Cat 46.5 million
Dog 65.1 million
Horse 2.2 million
Freshwater Fish 11.1 million
Saltwater Fish 2.2 million
Reptile 6.0 million
Small Animal 6.7 million
Pet Ownership by Generation (% of Current Pet Owners)
Generation Z 16%
Generation X 25%
Baby Boomer 24%
- Copyright ©1998�
American Pet Products Association, Inc.
42% of Pet Owners Cut Back on Pet Spending Amid Pandemic
Andrew Tavin is a personal finance writer who covered budgeting with expertise in building credit and saving for OppU. His work has been cited by Wikipedia, Crunchbase, and Hacker News, and he is a Certified Financial Education Instructor through the National Financial Educators Council.
Read time: 5 min
Updated on November 30, 2022
COVID caused a lot of financial setbacks, and some pets may have felt it in their treat budget.
In 2018, OppU partnered with Pollfish to research how much Americans spend on pet ownership. Given that our economy has drastically changed since then due to a global pandemic, we’ve decided to revisit that research. This time we commissioned The Harris Poll to conduct a survey on whether COVID-19 impacted how much pet owners were able to spend on their furry or scaly children. In this national pet owners survey, we asked more than 1,400 pet owners on which pet they spend the most each month, and whether the impact of COVID on their lives forced them to cut back on that spending.
The “tail” of COVID cutbacks
According to the study commissioned by OppU and conducted online by The Harris Poll, 42% of pet owners had to cut back on pet spending because of COVID-19, and 15% had to cut back on essentials like pet food and veterinary care. When it comes to age demographics, younger pet owners seem to have been hit even harder. Sixty-one percent of 18- to 34-year-old pet owners were forced to cut back on their pet spending, compared with only 12% of pet owners 65 and older. Employed pet owners are more likely to have cut back on pet spending due to the pandemic compared to those without a job (52% vs. 27%), which is somewhat unexpected and may merit further study. Despite those cutbacks, millennial pet parents still spend more on pet supplies and pet services than most older categories. Specifically, 18- to 34-year-olds spend on average $133.20 per month on their most expensive pet, only outdone by the $137 per month spent by the 35- to 44-year-old age group. As far as the reason younger adults spend more on pet care than older adults, there are certainly stereotypes about millennials who own pets either delaying or avoiding parenthood in favor of treating their pets like kids.
Pet ownership statistics
As you might expect, each type of animal has its own specific needs and associated costs. Dog owners who say their dog is their most expensive pet spend more on that pet each month compared to cat owners who say their cat is their most expensive pet, spending on average per month $117.20 and $81.40 respectively. It makes sense, as dogs can be expensive. Between dog food, vet care, pet insurance, and other costs, your pooch might take a bite out of your purse. But can you put a price on the well-being that comes with slobbery love?
Apparently, you can, and on average, it’s $117.20 per month.
Vet on it
Owner surveys can provide a sense of the big picture, but it’s still helpful to speak to those on the frontlines of pet wellness for additional context. “In a COVID pandemic reality, we have noticed a big decline in the number of veterinary appointments,” says Dr. Claudine Sievert, a Kansas veterinarian. “I think that the main reasons for this are owners who want to cut the costs and owners who do not want to be exposed to COVID.” Sievert tells us the primary decline has been in regular check-ups or less urgent issues like allergies and teeth cleanings. Instead, she finds owners waiting until a more serious issue arises before bringing in their pets. While that tracks with our findings, not every vet’s experience reflects our research. Texas veterinarian Dr. Sara Ochoa says that she has seen an increase in appointments since COVID started. “Many people were at home for long periods of time and were more aware when something [was] just not right with their pet,” explains Ochoa. Additionally, she points out that many people adopted pets during the pandemic, as ASPCA research has shown, which provides an interesting wrinkle to the current picture of pet spending, given that there are so many more owners spending money on pets, even as individual owners have had to cut back overall.
In 2018, we found that pet owners dished out an average of $126.19 each month on the pet they spent the most. In our 2021 survey, that number dropped to an average of $109.10 per month. That previous research also looked at the U.S. pet industry on a state-by-state spending basis and found that pet owners in Delaware spent the most per month, at $311.90. That’s a big jump from Idaho pet owners, who spent on average just $20 per month. COVID has been a difficult time for billions of people around the world, and while most pets can avoid catching it, they may still be feeling the effects in their cat food quality and toy budget.
2021 Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of OppU from July 26 — 28, 2021 among 1,428 pet owners. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
2018 Survey Methodology
The 2018 survey was conducted online within the United States by Pollfish on behalf of OppU from February 21-March 1 among 1,100 pet owners. Pollfish utilizes the Random Device Engagement method to conduct their surveys. More information can be found on Pollfish’s methodology page.
Sara Ochoa, DVM graduated from St. George’s University Veterinary School in 2015. Since then, she has been at a small and exotic animal practice in Texas.
Dr. Claudine Sievert is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine who provides nutrition and naturopathy services. She has been cited as an expert pet care specialist by more than 1,000 animals in her career and specializes in publishing about animal behavior, nutrition, and natural pet health practices through nationally recognized media outlets such as Reader’s Digest, CatPet, and printed media.
How to Budget for Pet Care Expenses
Pet care expenses can add up — even just the basics! Buy a bag of kibble here, a few new toys there, and then add in the annual wellness visit to your vet. You may be surprised when you look closely at the total cost of responsible pet care that we take for granted.
Creating a budget for your pet is helpful in projecting how much you will spend monthly and over the course of the year. It can give you insight into how much to expect to spend in the future and how you may be able to control unnecessary expenditures. A budget can even help you better plan for those anticipated expenses, like vaccines, wellness visits and parasite control.
Oakland Veterinary Referral Services has useful ways you can put together a budget to keep your pet’s wellbeing a priority year-round.
Pet Care Expenses: Average Cost of Owning a Pet
Depending on the pet’s breed and size, the average can vary greatly. A pet’s health plays a key role in cost, too, since an ill pet requires more veterinary care and medications. Dogs outweigh cats in the average cost of pet ownership, while bigger breeds are usually more expensive (the bigger the pet, the more they eat and use).
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the annual cost of dog ownership is, on the low end, $400 up to $2000, unless they are a puppy, which is more like $2500. An adult cat will average $400 up to $1800 per year.
Monthly Food and Treats
Food can be calculated per month by how much your pet eats and how often you replace the food. Most pets will require up to $50 per month in food for dogs, unless on a gourmet or special diet, which can range into the hundreds. Treats are estimated at about $10-50 per month.
Cat food runs from $10-40, with treats ranging $10-50. Most owners will agree that pet treats can be one of the bigger monthly expenses, depending on how generous you are with them.
Monthly Pet Supplies
You likely bought the major pet ownership necessities when you adopted your pet (litter boxes, pet beds, cat trees, a regular leash and collar, and so on). What then can you expect your ongoing monthly budget to be for pet supplies?
Here are basic costs and estimates for the average pup or cat:
- Pet waste bags – $5-12
- Litter – $8-15
- At-home grooming supplies – $5-15
- Toys – $5-50
- Grooming – $10-100
- Pet walking or daycare – $10-50 per day
- Pet fee for rental – $20 plus per month
These are basic pet care expenses that pet owners can expect to cover during a month to get you started. We’re sure that your pet gets extra goodies or splurges that you’ll want to add to your own budget.
Annual Veterinary Costs for Cats and Dogs
Assuming your fur friend is in reasonably good health, annual fees for cats and dogs range from $80 to $400 for routine examination, basic labs, and vaccinations. Add $40-250 for flea, tick, and heartworm prevention.
Obviously, if your pet is diabetic or has cancer, monthly expenses will be quite a bit more. Senior pet care may entail more diagnostic testing than what a normal, healthy adult pet might require.
There is no set budget for a veterinary injury, disease, or emergency. With these guidelines, you can plan for such an unfortunate event and ensure your pet gets prompt treatment.
Additional Pet Care Expenses
Dogs need training and socialization. They enjoy puzzles and outings. These additional expenses bring joy to you and your dog–but can be budget busters if you haven’t planned ahead.
Tips: Planning for Pet Care Expenses
To recap, there are some things you can plan for, like buying kibble and treats each month. Other items can be placed into the “possible needs” or emergency vet fund.
- Create a spreadsheet of your pet’s monthly budget line, which includes the pertinent things listed above.
- Add in additional “once a year” budgets, such as those annual examinations, shots, dental cleaning and preventatives. If you know that you are going to travel with your pet, factor in pet travel-related costs.
- Finally, start building your pet’s emergency fund. Some pet owners rely on pet insurance for things like an accident or injury. Others prefer to create a savings account that can include medication or out of the ordinary costs for your pet.
We hope these estimates and tips help you create a working monthly budget for pet care expenses for your best friend. It’s empowering to know what you spend and how to make the decisions to put your pet’s welfare first.
Please contact us on questions relating to your pet or pet care expenses.