You may not know that October is National Adopt-a-Dog Month, the American Humane Association’s push to promote awareness and adoption of our little four-legged furry friends. There are many benefits to dog ownership and adoption; to get more exercise, have a companion, to keep your home and children safer, and even assist those people with physical or emotional disabilities. But if you’ve ever owned a dog then you know, their heartwarming excitement and tail wagging when you come home from work is all the reason you need!
To help promote dog ownership and especially responsible adoption, we bring you 25 facts and figures for National Adopt- a-Dog month.
1. As of 2012, there are approximately 164 million household pets in the United States.
2. That number includes an estimated 83.3 million pet dogs.
3. That’s way up from the 1970’s, when there were only about 67 million household pets.
4. 62% of American households have at least one pet and 47% of households have at least one dog.
5. According to the American Pet Product Association, Americans spend $50 billion annually on their dogs, cats, and other household pets.
6. 70% of dog owners have one dog, 20% have two, and 10% of dog owners have three or more dogs.
7. 20-30% of dogs that are now household pets were adopted from animal shelters or rescues.
8. 83% of pet dogs are spayed or neutered, while only 10% of dogs received by shelters are spayed or neutered.
9. How much spaying or neutering cost? A lot less than raising a litter of puppies for a year! The average healthy dog has one litter a year with an average of four to six puppies.
10. Dog owners spend an average of $231 annually on routine veterinary visits.
11. The average cost a dog owner incurs for food, supplies, medical care and training is $400 to $700 annually.
12. According to a National Council on Pet Populations study, the number of dogs and cats euthanized in shelters every year has decreased, from about 12-20 million a year in the 1970s to about 3-4 million now.
13. That is still a huge number of dogs and cats euthanized every year, and an estimated 2.7 million healthy and adoptable shelter pets are not claimed each year.
14. There are about 13,600 community animal shelters in the United States, though they don’t operate under one governing body or national organization.
15. The terms, “human society,” and “SPCA” are generic, which means any independent shelter can use them in their names.
16. Each year, approximately 7.6 dogs and cats enter shelters.
17. About 35%, or 2.7 million are adopted. 26% are returned to their owners, and 31% of shelter dogs are euthanized.
18. 5 in 10 shelter dogs are euthanized because no one adopts them.
19. Homeless animals outnumber homeless people 5 to 1.
20. Many of the dogs that end up in community shelters are found and reclaimed by their owners, an estimated 30% in some areas! That adds up to about 542,000 happy stories of lost dogs reunited with their owners every year.
21. About 40% of new owners who adopt learn about their pet through word or mouth, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
22. How do pet owners find their dogs? According to the American Veterinary Medical Association:
40% of new owners learn about their pet through word or mouth,
28% purchase through a breeder, and
29% are adopted from a shelter.
23. Why do people abandon their dogs? According to the American Humane Association, the most common reasons are:
29% Their place of residence does not allow pets.
10% They don’t have enough time.
10% The dog’s owners died or got divorced.
10% The dog has behavioral issues.
24. Do you assume that animal shelters will only have mutts? In fact, 25% of adoptable dogs in shelters are purebred!
25. 65% of pet owners acquire their dogs for free or at a nominal cost.
**If you’re not convinced yet that dog adoption is a worthy and needed cause, spend an afternoon and take your family down to one of these local animal shelters to see what kinds of dogs are available for adoption. Chances are, you might just drive home with a new member of the family!