Every now and again a good bit of research catches my eye and I just have to have a good look at the number crunching. Hardly surprising that the annual pet population data report* from the Pet Food Manufactures’ Association (PFMA) on the number of pets owned by households in the UK made interesting reading.
So, is it true that we are a nation of pet lovers? Well, from the statistics in this report, it would appear we are and not just that, but we’re a GROWING nation of pet owners. 26% of households in the UK now own a dog, an increase of about 300,000 households since last year. Around 6.6 million households own, on average, 1.4 dogs. If you do the maths, this equates to around 9 million dogs in the UK. So, it would appear we really do love our dogs!
If you look at the dog owning statistics by region, the highest percentage of dog owning households is in Northern Ireland where 35% of them have at least one dog. The lowest? Can you guess? It’s London! Just 9% of households in our Capital are dog owners. Topping the chart of multiple dog households is East Midlands, where there is an average of 1.5 dogs in each home. The region with the highest population of dogs is the South East, with 1.32 million resident dogs.
The increase is pet ownership isn’t just restricted to dogs. The PFMA data reveals that the cat population is also on the up and at 8 million, is now at the highest level in 5 years. Around 18% of all households own a cat.
Here are the percentages of households in the UK owning at least one of the major pet species (average of the last 3 years):
Indoor fish - 8%
Outdoor fish - 4%
Cats - 18%
Dogs - 26%
Rabbits - 2%
Guinea Pigs - 1%
Indoor Birds - 1%
Hamsters - 1%
Perhaps the most interesting finding in the published research, is the correlation between households with both pets and children. I’ve often wondered if the notion of the ‘perfect’ family unit comprising Mum, Dad, 2 kids, a dog and/or a cat really does exist nowadays. Well, the number of households with children and pets is increasing and particularly when it comes to dog ownership. The number of households with children and dogs rose 11% to 2.3 million from 2017, highlighting just what amazing family pets dogs can make.
So it just goes to show that the statistics prove what we already know. We are most definitely a nation of pet lovers and this trend only seems to be on the increase. But we don’t really need a bunch of numbers and percentages for us to realise how much fulfilment, joy and love owning a pet can bring. We just know!!
*You can view the full PFMA Pet Population Data Report 2018 here: https://www.pfma.org.uk/regional-pet-population-2018
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