The pawprints are spreading across the United States, with dog ownership experiencing a remarkable surge. While the pandemic acted as a catalyst, the trend extends far beyond lockdown days. US dog ownership has increased in the past three years, with 56% of Americans now saying they have a dog in their household.
According to survey data from YouGov, the percentage of dog owners in the US increased more between April 2022 and April 2023 than at any point in the preceding five years, indicating that the ‘pandemic puppy’ trend isn’t over yet. This surge in canine companionship presents a fascinating landscape for researchers, urban planners, and those considering a venture into the world of dog day care and dog boarding businesses.
States Leading the Pack in Dog Ownership
Dogs are the most common pets in the U.S., with 65.1 million households owning at least one dog. According to World Population Review, Idaho has the highest dog ownership rate at 58.3%. See below for the list of states leading the pack in dog ownership (percentage of US households owning at least one dog).
- Idaho: 58.3%
- Montana: 51.9%
- Arkansas: 51.6%
- Mississippi: 51%
- West Virginia: 49.6%
- Indiana: 49.4%
- Oklahoma: 47.7%
- Colorado: 47.2%
- Nebraska: 47.1%
- Tennessee: 47%
States With the Most Committed Dog Owners
Forbes Advisor analyzed states across seven key metrics based on a survey of 10,000 dog owners to determine which states have the most devoted dog owners. They took into account the following metrics:
- Percentage of dog owners who would spend $4,000 or more on life-saving medical care for their dogs.
- Percentage of dog owners who moved from an apartment to a house so their dog would have a yard.
- Percentage of dog owners who broke up with a significant other who didn't like their dog.
- Percentage of dog owners who left a job that they liked because another company let them work from home or had a dog-friendly office.
- Percentage of dog owners who took a pay cut or accepted a position with fewer benefits to work remotely or have access to a dog-friendly office.
- Percentage of dog owners who stayed at a job that they disliked because it allowed them to work remotely or had a dog-friendly office.
- Percentage of dog owners who have lived on a tighter budget to afford their dogs’ expenses.
Colorado took the #1 spot as the state with the most committed dog owners. See below for states that scored the highest for most committed dog owners:
- Colorado (100.00)
- Virginia (94.41)
- Georgia (92.45)
- Alaska (91.99)
- Nevada (87.92)
- Texas (81.42)
- Arkansas (80.97)
- Washington (80.97)
- Delaware (71.15)
- Oregon (70.69)
Additional Takeaways from this Study
- 39.29% lived on a tighter budget to afford their dogs’ expenses.
- 36% of dog owners would spend $4,000 or more out-of-pocket on life-saving medical care for their dogs.
- 7.47% stayed at a job they disliked because it allowed them to work remotely or had a dog-friendly office.
- 5.25% took a pay cut or accepted a position with fewer benefits to work remotely or have access to a dog-friendly office.
Unleashing the Reasons
While the pandemic initially fueled the boom, several other factors contributed to its long-lasting nature. Increased remote work allows for more dog-inclusive schedules while growing awareness of the mental health benefits of canine companionship strengthens the human-animal bond. Additionally, a societal shift towards prioritizing pet well-being fosters a supportive environment for responsible dog ownership. According to a new Pew Research Center survey, nearly all U.S. pet owners (97%) say their pets are part of their family.
Opportunities for Dog-Centric Businesses
This booming market presents exciting possibilities for dog day care and dog boarding businesses. By understanding the specific needs and existing competition within their target city, aspiring entrepreneurs can carve out a space catering to this growing demographic. Prioritizing safety, cleanliness, and engaging activities for furry guests while offering transparent communication with pet parents is critical for success.
*Source: 2023 YouGov US Dog Owner’s Report
Google Trends Data
Google US search interest for “Dog Day Care” and “Dog Boarding” has increased over time, with noticeable annual spikes in relation to consumer trends.
Dog Day Care
The pet product market has also seen steady growth over time. According to The Zebra, Americans spend about $99 billion on their pets and pet products every year. As an indicator, take a look at the Google US search interest for “dog collars” over the past five years:
A World Wagging Its Tail
The surge in dog ownership isn't just a heartwarming trend; it reflects a more profound societal shift toward understanding the immense value of canine companionship. This increase presents challenges and opportunities for cities regarding infrastructure, park space, and pet-friendly policies. For dog-loving entrepreneurs, it's a chance to build businesses that enrich the lives of pups and their humans.
As the world wags its tail with increasing enthusiasm, remember, responsible ownership, community support, and innovation are vital to ensuring this canine boom benefits all. So, let's celebrate the growing pawsitivity and continue fostering a world where every dog in every city can enjoy a happy and fulfilling life.