Pet ownership may not have changed for two-thirds of American pet owners surveyed in late 2021. However, for those who did lose or gain a pet, the person’s age may have influenced their decision. The majority of respondents to a November 2021 survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) have the same number of pets now as they did three months ago. Fourteen percent said they have more pets, but 18% said they have fewer. Death of the dog, cat or other animal was the leading reason for loss of pets. The APPA survey noted differences among baby boomers, Gen X, millennials and Gen Z for why they had fewer pets.
Demographic differences in pet ownership change
The younger age groups showed more variability during the three months preceding the November poll. While 22% of Gen Z and 25% of Millennials have more pets now, 20% of Gen Z and 15% of millennials report fewer pets. When asked why they had to get rid of these pets, Gen Z and millennial respondents stated they didn’t have enough time for the pet at much higher rates than older groups.
Baby Boomers had different reasons for losing pets, with fewer getting new pets. In the three months before the survey, fewer than 10% of baby boomers acquired more pets. Yet, 20% said they have fewer pets. Of these, 42% of boomers said their pet had died, compared to 31% overall.
Among all respondents who reported fewer pets, 10% could no longer afford the animal and another 9% couldn’t take care of the pet for some other reason. Eight percent said they did not have enough time for their pets, while 4% were no longer working remotely and couldn’t manage a pet anymore. Another 35% cited “other” reasons for why they had fewer pets.