41 Pet Adoption Statistics

In recent years, people have come to understand the importance of pets in their lives. Many people are also adopting pets instead of buying from breeders, but there are overflowing pets shelters due to the increased number of puppy mills.

 If you intend to adopt a pet from a shelter, pet adoption statistics will help you understand how you will impact the lives of these needy animals.

General Pet Adoption Statistics

1.About 810,000 stray animals in shelters are sent back to their owners.


Dogs are more likely than cats to be given back to their owners among those pets, contrasted to 100,000 cats, about 710,000 dogs are given back to their owners.

2.From 2016 and 2022, the number of no-kill animal shelters doubled.

(Best Friends)

The percentage of no-kill shelters in the US in 2016 was 24%. However, they increased to 48% in 2021.

3.In 2020, approximately 55,000 animals were fostered.


Fostering a pet entails giving shelter animals temporary care in your house until they are adopted. 54,500 animals were fostered in 2020. Both dogs and cats were fostered at a higher rate in 2020, with an increase of 17% of dogs and 8% of cats receiving foster care.

4.Annually, the expenses of owning a pet are estimated to be $809 to $1,040. 


Average annual expenses for owning a pet

The type of animal pet owned significantly impacts pet owners’ annual costs. According to an ASPCA study, you can find a summary of the typical annual costs of owning a dog or a cat below. A basic type of pet insurance is included in these costs, although the extent of the coverage is uncertain.

The average annual cost of owning a cat is approximately $809, while the average annual cost of owning a dog is as follows:

  • Small breed: $737
  • Medium breed: $894
  • Large breed: $1,040

5.In 2020, people had spent $99 billion on their pets.


The APPA estimates Americans spend over $90 billion annually on dogs. According to statistics on pet adoption for 2020, it is estimated that:

  • Food and treats cost more than $38 billion.
  • Over $19 billion was spent on supplies and OTC medication.
  • Product sales and veterinary care total over $30 billion.
  • The remaining, or almost $10 billion, is spent on “other” costs like grooming, boarding, insurance, etc.

6.During the Covid-19 outbreak, some shelters were rehoming up to 13 dogs daily.

(The Washington Post, Business Wire)

Statistics on pet adoption have both soared and fallen during COVID-19. According to shelters and sanctuaries, dog adoptions are extremely popular. Up to 13 dogs were being adopted out of shelters per day!

Other animals, though, weren’t that fortunate. The pandemic has resulted in a 36% decrease in overall adoption rates.

7.People’s view on rescue dogs is changing.

(New York Times)

The NYT’s research and animal adoption statistics reveal that perceptions regarding rescue dogs are improving. In particular, modern people consider having a rescue to be an achievement.

The ASPCA’s president, Matt Bershadker, asserts that adopting a dog from a shelter is now considered much more advantageous than in the past. The most recent statistics on homeless and shelter animals prove this.

Euthanized pet statistics

8.About 920,000 cats and dogs were put to death in animal shelters in 2020.

 (Best Friends)

About 20% of the animals that weren’t adopted were put to death due to injuries, sickness, or overpopulation. However, from 2 million in 2015, this number has been dropping annually. More than 50% of the animals put to death were sheltered in six different states in the United States: TX, CA, NC, FL, AL, and LA.

9.Many black pets in shelters are put to death.

(PETA 2, HuffPost)

Sadly, the pertinent adoption data for black cats is true. Unfortunately, most black cats in shelters are eventually put to death. Years of illiteracy, superstitions, and general intolerance are to blame. Nevertheless, adoption rates for black cats have somewhat increased over time.

Black cats are still linked to negative karma and are believed to cause misfortunes. This is why they make a majority of animals that are euthanized in shelters.  

Dogs used to experience the same injustice in the past years. Black syndrome is the name that is used for this syndrome. Fortunately, statistics on black dog adoption show that things are starting to go well for them.

The latest data show that these dogs thrive after public relations initiatives urging people to adopt black canines.

But some have a very low chance of being adopted. So, which breed has the least chance of being adopted? According to black dog syndrome statistics, black pit bulls continue to have the longest adoption wait period, and many are eventually put to death.

10.Reduced euthanasia rates are the outcome of improved sterilization and educational techniques.

(Animals – Basel – NCBI)

Pet adoption statistics reveal that dog management in the US has changed and improved.

There are some states where euthanasia has dramatically decreased. In addition, better sterilization techniques, new license fees, and shelter sterilization regulations have all been implemented.  

11.In the United States, euthanasia rates are steadily decreasing.

(New York Times)

Statistics show that pet euthanasia rates are far lower than in the past. In contrast, this percentage dropped by almost 75% more than ten years ago in big cities.

A pet is now likely to be rescued, given to the community, or adopted but not euthanized.

12.Less than a million pets were euthanized in 2019 for the second year in a row.

(ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society)

One of the more disappointing facts about animal adoption is that it doesn’t happen quickly enough. In 2019 about 625,000 pets were put to death due to overpopulation in shelters. 

This is still a tragic situation despite the number of euthanasia declining and no-kill shelters gaining popularity.

America and Pets

13.With almost 70 million and over 74 million cats and dogs, respectively, the USA has the biggest dog and cat population in the world.


According to statistics on dog adoption, more dogs and cats live in the United States than anywhere else in the world. 

The US has 69.9 million dogs, with China and Russia coming in second and third, with 27.4 and 12.5 million, respectively.

The numbers are closer when it comes to cats. There are more than 94 million domestic cats in the US, 53.1 million in China, and 17.8 million in Russia.

14.It is estimated that there are roughly 70 million stray dogs in the US


All data from dog adoption statistics and cat gathering data reveal that there are at least some favorable trends. They show a decrease in the number of euthanasia, and many people are treating pets as their family members.

Unfortunately, the ASPCA reveals that roughly 70 million furry souls are roaming in the US.

15.A sizable amount of strays are lost pets without the appropriate identification.


As per lost pet statistics, most strays rescued on the streets did not grow up there. They are usually lost and have no identifications to take them back to their owners.

16.In contrast to the 1970s, pet ownership in the US has surged by more than 300%


In modern life, it appears like everyone owns a pet, and that is with good reasons. They have endless benefits like companionship, security, and unwavering love. This explains why pet ownership has tripled over the years.

Data from pet adoption reveal that over 50% of American households own a cat or a dog.

17.On the continent of North America, there are 10,000 animal sanctuaries and rescue organizations, in addition to around 3,500 animal shelters in the United States.

(The Humane Society)

Even though there is always a need for reform, over 3,500 animal shelters are spread across the US.

Additionally, per the Humane Society’s pet adoption statistics, there are 10,000 animal sanctuaries and rescue organizations on the North American Continent.

18.Most pets are offered for adoption without any of their faults.

(Best Friends)

Because of unexpected situations, around 75% of animals are given for adoption. The two main reasons animals are given up are the owner having too many pets (16.1%) and housing problems (13.7%). Only 8% of animal surrenders result from the animal’s behavior or character.

19.A quarter of animals who end up in shelters were left by their owners.


According to data on dog and cat adoption, a quarter of shelter animals have been surrendered by their owners.

Stray dogs, who are the majority of animals in shelters, have been living on the streets for some time. Sad to say, a large number of animals are abandoned by their owners.

Financial difficulties, having too many duties, or just plain carelessness are a few causes. The fact remains, though: many people make impulsive pet purchases.

20.In the United States, there are an estimated 10,000 puppy mills

(Puppy Mill Project)

This figure includes mills with and without a USDA license. Annually, puppy mills produce about 2 million puppies in total. Most of these puppies from mills are sold online or in pet stores.

21.  90% of Americans treat their pet as a member of the family.


Research shows that 9 out of 10 Americans who have acquired pets said they consider their pet a family member.

They invest a lot of time, money, and passion into their pets, treating them nearly as equals.

22.In 2019, the market for pet insurance in North America exceeded $1.71 billion.

(Code Condo, NAPHIA)

Many people are insuring their pets, according to 2019 pet adoption data. In 2019, there were 2.81 million insured pets.

There are several leading insurance providers nowadays. Most of them are protected by the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA). More than 20 different pet issuance brands are included in this coalition.

Dog adoption Statistics

23.The most common age for adoption is when a dog is a puppy.


Puppies constituted 42% of all dogs adopted from animal shelters in 2020. Around 28% of dogs were adults when adopted, and 26% were categorized as young adults. Only 5% of senior dogs were adopted.

24.There was a decrease in the number of dogs adopted from animal shelters in 2019–2020.

(The Humane Society of the United States)

And per the 2019–2020 American Pet Products Association (APPA) report, dogs adopted through animal shelters or rescue organizations than from other means was 39%. Comparatively, it decreased from 44% in the 2017–2018 poll.

25.Six dog breeds are more commonly found in shelters.


The following dog breeds are most frequently seen at shelters:

  • American Pit Bull Terriers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • German Shepherds
  • Dachshund
  • Chihuahuas
  • Boxers

Stereotypes, overbreeding, or the demand for more care than other breeds are the major causes of them becoming the most prominent dog breeds in shelters. Pit Bulls and Chihuahuas are the two breeds most likely to be put to death.

Cats Adoption Statistics

26.Per year, about 3.2 million cats are moved into animal shelters.


Over half of the 6.3 million animals that enter animal shelters annually are cats. Only about 2.1 million of the 3.2 million cats are adopted annually.

27.Few cats were adopted from animal shelters in 2019–2020.

(The Humane Society of the United States)

From the 2019–2020 APPA report, 43% more cats were adopted from animal shelters or rescues than from other sources. This shows a decrease from 47% in 2017–2018.

28.Over half of all adopted cats are kittens.


48% of the cats adopted in 2020 were kittens. Adult cats made up 20%, while young adult cats made up 19%. Merely 3% of cat adoptions in 2020 were of senior cats, which makes them the least likely to be adopted.

Adoption VS Breeders Statistics

29.Approximately 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred animals.

(The Humane Society of the United States)

There are purebred dogs in animal shelters, which is one of the less well-known facts about animal shelters.

This should not be a big deal when adopting a dog. Still, not many people are aware of this fact.

For example, one-quarter of all shelter dogs are purebred dogs, which are sometimes abandoned (or the dogs simply run away).

This means you don’t have to go to a breeder to get a pure breed. 

30.More dogs are bought from breeders than are adopted.


23% of dogs with permanent homes were acquired from a shelter, while 34% were bought from breeders. Only 6% of dogs are taken in as strays, whereas 20% are obtained from relatives or friends.

31.Cats are adopted more frequently than they are acquired from breeders.


About 31% of cats with homes are acquired from animal shelters. Just 3% are bought directly from a breeder. 27% of cats are adopted as strays, and 28% are acquired from relatives or friends.

32.Freshwater fish and birds are the most widespread pets, after dogs and cats.


According to pet adoption statistics, 42 million households have cats, while 63 million have dogs. Nevertheless, adopting birds and freshwater fish is also popular.

Freshwater fish are kept in over 11.5 million households, while birds are kept in about 5.7 million. Be informed that there is undoubtedly a lot of overlap because many families have multiple animals. 


33.Why adopting a pet is the best choice? 

Adopting a pet is one of the best options you can make for yourself, your family, and the animal you’re planning to adopt. Here, you acquire a devoted buddy who will show you nothing but unwavering love and affection.

Owning a pet is a wise decision. You’ll probably spare their lives and lessen the number of pets that must be put to death.

34.How many pets are adopted each year?

Annually, the ASPCA estimates that 4.1 million pets are adopted from animal shelters. On average, 2.1 million cats and 2 million dogs are adopted yearly. As stated before, dogs are more frequently bought from breeders than adopted, and cats are adopted more frequently than they are bought from breeders.

4.1 million animals being adopted each year sounds like a very big number. But on the other hand, 6.3 to 6.5 million animals enter shelters annually, leaving about 2 million adopted animals, many of which are euthanized or die at the shelter from illness or old age.

35.What is shelter life like for animals?

Thanks to modern technology, animals are scanned for microchips and are posted on social media platforms before they are taken to shelters. If it is impossible to find the owner after a given time, the animal will be kept in a kennel by himself or with others.

Normally, the animals are thoroughly checked by a vet, and if need be, they are treated. They are fed, bathed, and well taken care of by the shelter workers or volunteers until they find a new owner, and if unlucky, they are euthanized though it is a hard decision by the shelter workers.

Shelters euthanize animals due to overpopulation, old age, and terminals or costly diseases to treat. This only emphasizes the need for adoption. It will ease the burden in shelters and give the animals a new home reducing the euthanization rate.

If you want to adopt a dog or a cat, you can consider old and black ones as the above statistics show that they are less likely to be adopted.

36.How to adopt a pet?

It’s actually very simple to adopt a pet. Choose a suitable shelter first, mostly one that is nearby. Then, visit websites, call friends—do anything you can.

When you arrive at the shelter, you will speak with someone who will hand you a form and show you around. Once you’ve located your preferred pet, you will be required to sign some paperwork.

You need to be aware that many shelters in America have the right to inquire about your living condition. They should evaluate if you can offer your future adopted dog or cat a good home.

The general guidelines apply nonetheless; however, these terms may vary between shelters and states.

37.How long does an animal stay in a shelter before being euthanized?

An animal’s duration in the shelter before being euthanized varies from one shelter to another and its location. In addition, the shelter rules differ from one state to the other. For example, some states allow their shelters to euthanize their animals within 48 hours if they do not find their owner, but under certain circumstances. However, some give the shelter 7 days.

However, the overall rate of euthanasia is forcing some governments to make their animal shelters no-kill. To sustain as many animals as possible, no-kill shelters aim for a 90% success rate. Unfortunately, there are just two states where all of their shelters are no-kill, despite the fact that most states have at most one no-kill facility. The first state to accomplish this was Delaware, then New Hampshire. While other states are taking steps to achieve no-kill for now, these two little states have succeeded in saving every animal that enters a shelter, even though they have fewer animal shelters.

38.How many animals are mistreated every year?

It’s very challenging to give clarity on this. For instance, there are between 1,000 and 2,000 instances of animal hoarding each year. Additionally, animal cruelty cases aren’t discovered until it’s too late, such as dog fighting and lab testing.

39.How much does it cost to adopt a dog?

The price of adopting a dog is among the factors that disturb people the most. These costs, however, are hardly ever anything close to substantial. The standard adoption price ranges from $50 to $300.

40.How much does it cost to adopt a dog?

The price of adopting a dog is among the factors that disturb people the most. These costs, however, are hardly ever anything close to substantial. The standard adoption price ranges from $50 to $300.

41.If you can’t adopt or foster, what else can you do to help shelter pets?

Some people cannot adopt a pet due to their lifestyle, budget, age, allergies, and other factors. But that doesn’t restrict you from making other contributions to aiding animals in shelters.

There are 3 essential ways for you to participate:


Donating supplies



Adopting a pet help in saving a life, getting a standard breed at a low cost, and reducing the demand for pets from unscrupulous breeders. It is good to note that adopting a pet is not complicated as you might think.

It is also crucial to encourage your friend to adopt a pet rather than buying one to help reduce overpopulation and pet euthanization in shelters.


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