With increasing research and study in animal behaviors, pet owners have now begun to understand that pets are not just possessions or means to guard your property, but in fact there are many other advantages. They have feelings of their own. More and more people now consider them as a part of their family. They care for them like their children. These inferences have been backed by thorough analysis and statistics. Read on to know the pets as family members statistics as given by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The first part of caring for someone as a family member included providing them good, nutritious and wholesome food. Over the past few years, pet owners have started focussing on good quality meals for their pets. The sale of pet food has increased tremendously over the past five years. Apart from this, other necessities and some luxury pet products also fall into the category of good pet care. According to APPA, i.e., American Pet Products Association, the total US Pet industry expenditure has increased from $17 Billion in 1994 to $69.36 Billion in the year 2017. This expenditure includes everything from the purchase of animals to their grooming and basic vet care. Food constituted a major portion, i.e., $29.69 billion. Vet care and basic pet supplies including over the counter medicines constitute $16.62 billion and $14.93 billion respectively. Other services like grooming account for a relatively minor portion, i.e., $6.11 billion.
The preference of people regarding choosing a pet is also broadening. While dogs remain the most popular ones, just like the old times, more and more people are now going for other types of pets like cats, birds, fishes, small animals like hamsters, guinea pigs, etc. This major change is due to busy lifestyle as well as unpredictable and long working hours. While many of us crave the connection with an animal, not everyone can afford to keep a dog regarding maintenance. Hence, there has been a booming rise in the number of cat owners. Cats are easier to maintain and still offer a comforting companionship.
According to 2017-18 APPA survey, maximum people are owners of freshwater fishes. The exact number is 139.3 million freshwater fishes. The number of cats owned take the second position, i.e., 94.2 million. Some dogs back the third position with an estimate of 89.7 million. Birds come forth in the ranking with the number of 20.3 million. The percentage of households having a pet was 56% in 1988 which has increased to 68% in the year 2017-18.
Like us, our pets need regular veterinary check-ups. In case of an illness or accident, more vet visits are being made now than ever. The upward trend is evident from the fact that in the year 2016, the total amount spent on vet visits was $15.95 billion which has now increased to $16.62 billion in the year 2017.
As far as the emotional aspect of research is concerned, the results are marvelous. People were asked what do their pets mean to them? A remarkable 63% said that their pets were like family to them. This percentage has now gone up to 95% in the current scenario. Next came the people who said that their pets were like best friends to them. They provided them with companionship and comfort in times of need. This proportion of people constituted 35% of all pet owners. In the end, only around 1% people said that they regard pets as property or a profit-loss statement. It is an overwhelming report as we now have a statistical proof that humans are acquiring a more loving and caring attitude towards the animals.
The attitude that owners carry towards their pets is different for different animals. Comparing dogs and cats, people tend to consider dogs as a family while cats as companions. In a report published in the year 2011, 66% people considered dogs as a family while only 56% considered cats as family. It was reverse in companionship where 32% considered dogs as companions while 41% considered cats as companions. As far as property was concerned, cats were considered property by twice as many people like dogs.
Why do people consider pets as their companions and families? A very simple explanation to this is the intelligence these animals are blessed. Dogs have been a man’s best friend since the beginning of time. In the process of evolving together, this species has developed the capability to understand human emotions. There are several instances where dogs have saved human lives and mourned as any other person would do at the death of their owner. They act as excellent babysitters and house guards. The same is true in many aspects of cats. Though not as expressive as dogs, cats have not remained behind when it comes to showing affections for their humans.
Animal researchers have seen that animals consider their human families to be their ‘herds.’ Everyone sleeps, eats and lives together. When they are separated from this ‘herd,’ they experience anxiety. It is true for both cats and dogs. They become sad, and it is often seen that they stop eating for days together. This instinct and consideration that the pets hold for their owners have moved many men and women resulting in an increased level of care for animals in the recent years.
The pets as family members statistics are a reflection of merely a small chunk of emotions we carry. These numbers can only represent so much. People nowadays keep multiple pets as per their choice and convenience. All of them exist and thrive together as one family. There is no discrimination based on species. Dogs, cats, cows, goats, horses, birds and other exotic pets live in harmony under one roof. The beliefs of interspecies rivalry have now been overcome by these beautiful examples of coexistence. And when all these species live in the same house, the spirit of bonding and the emotion of love is much more than any other regular house which has no pets at all.