Pets: Number in the U.S. by species 2017/2018

Freshwater fish were the most kept pet in the United States in 2017/18 in terms of volume. In total, Americans were estimated to own approximately 139.3 million of the aquatic animals in that year. This large volume is no surprise when considering their small size and minor cost increases when owning more than one fish as a pet. Cats and dogs were the second and third most owned pets, with around 94.2 and 89.7 million living in U.S. households respectively.

Freshwater vs. salt water fish

Freshwater fish spend most or all their lives in fresh water. Fresh water’s main difference to salt water is the level of salinity. Freshwater fish have a range of physiological adaptations to enable them to live in such conditions. As the statistic makes clear, Americans keep a large number of freshwater aquatic species at home as pets.

American pet owners

In 2017, around 68 percent of all household in the United States owned a pet. This is over a ten percent increase from 1988. It is no surprise that as more and more households own pets, pet industry expenditure has also witnessed steady growth. Expenditure was estimated to reach around 75.38 billion U.S. dollars by 2019, over a threefold increase from 1998. The majority of pet product sales are still made in brick-and-mortar stores , despite the rise and evolution of e-commerce in the United States.

Number of pets in the United States in 2017/2018, by species

Number of pets in millions
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Release date

April 2017


United States

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

The figures are based on the 2017-2018 APPA National Pet Owners Survey.
The source does not mention the publication date. The date given is the date of access.

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Statistics on "Pets in the U.S."

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