America’s Disappearing Dogs

The stats are in and the news is not good: after a generation of growth, America’s dog population is declining:

Americans had 2 million fewer dogs and 7.6 million fewer cats at the end of last year than at the end of 2006, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says.

The reasons are both economic and demographic as fewer Americans live in families, which are more likely to own pets.

Most pet owners have dogs: about 70 million of them in 36.5% of U.S. homes. Cats, at 74 million, are in 30.4% of homes.

It’s the first decline in dog or cat households since 1991.’

The decline, especially in the cat population is simply enormous. As tempting as it is to blame the economy (with the anticipated reversal when the economy improves) I am suspicious that the factors are part of a long term trend.

With the change in the family unit (fewer mum-dad-kids families) and smaller urban housing options, there is simply no room for Fido in some families. This has been the trend in Western Europe for a decade already. It’s not surprising that America is following the same path.

The sad thing is, with the family dog squeezed out, a generation of children could miss out on the wonderful health and emotional benefits of owning a pet.

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About Dr Vadim Chelom

Dr Vadim Chelom is a Registered Veterinarian, a writer and an educator

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