In the United States, 62 percent of households have a pet, industry statistics show. Pets provide positive physical and mental benefits to their owners, including decreasing blood pressure and depression. Not every pet is right for every human, but some animals consistently rank at the top of the popularity list.
dog playing on the shore image by Victor B from Fotolia.com
Dogs are part of the family in 46.3 million households in the United States, more than any other pet, according to the American Pet Products Association. The average dog owner has 1.7 dogs, meaning that there are about 78 million pet dogs. Dogs have been domesticated for about 14,000 years, longer than any other animal. People love dogs because they generally are easy to train, faithful and loyal, and can go almost anywhere. They will also protect your home and act as a playmate for the entire family.
Woman with a cat image by Alexey Stiop from Fotolia.com
Approximately 38.9 million American households own cats, notes the American Pet Products Association. However, there are more pet cats than dogs, at 86.4 million, because cat owners tend to have more cats per household – around 2.2. Cats can exercise themselves and don’t need to be walked or taken outside to relieve themselves. They keep themselves groomed and even when they’re full, will gladly perform rodent-control duties.
aquarium fish 8 image by cherie from Fotolia.com
While you can’t curl up with them, fish are the third most popular pet in America. The American Pet Products Association reports that about 12.5 million households have an average of about 12 fish, to the tune of 150 million fish! Whether you have a freshwater or saltwater aquarium, you'll likely find it’s calming to watch these gorgeous creatures swim around. You can leave them alone without worry and with minimal arrangements, and an aquarium makes an excellent addition to your décor.
2 parrots image by graham tomlin from Fotolia.com
About 16 million birds perch in 5.7 million households in the United States. From canaries prized for their singing to talking birds to the long-lived macaw, birds provide entertainment and striking visual beauty. Pet birds are not really domesticated animals, but can still form bonds with their humans.
rabbit image by Allyson Ricketts from Fotolia.com
While statistics are not as clear cut for rabbits, the American Veterinary Medical Association reports that 6.2 million rabbits reside in 19 million homes. Cute and cuddly rabbits need proper attention and should never be an impulse buy. Rabbits are quiet so make great apartment pets, but they also need exercise. Once they realize they are not your prey, they can make affectionate and entertaining pets.
- American Pet Products Association: Industry Statistics and Trends
- Responsible Dog and Cat: Domestication and Evolution of the Dog
- AVMA: U.S. Pet Ownership Statistics
- Healthy Pets: Ten Reasons Why Fish Make Good Pets
- Pet Station: Which Bird for Me?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Health Benefits of Pets
Leslie Darling has been a writer since 2003, writing regularly for "Mississippi Magazine" and "South Mississippi Living," specializing in food and wine, animals and pets, and all things Southern. She is a graduate of the University of New Orleans.