The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) has announced the results of its annual pet population survey of 8000 households1

The data shows a stable population of 12m pets, as follows:

  • 9 million dogs (23% households)
  • 7.5million cats (16% households)
  • 600,000 rabbits (1% households
  • 500,000 indoor birds (1% households)
  • 400,000 Guinea Pigs (1% households)
  • 500,000 domestic fowl (0.3% households)
  • 300,000 tortoises and turtles (0.5% households)
  • 200,000 hamsters (0.5% households)
  • 200,000 snakes (0.4% households)
  • 200,000 lizards (0.3% households)

There were also:

  • 2.7M indoor fish tanks 
  • 1.3m outdoor ponds

The survey also provides an interesting point at which to note some historical trends. Whilst cats and dogs have always been the most popular pets, 50 years ago it was budgerigars that held third place. Since then, the dog population has grown 76% and the cat population has grown 63%, whilst rabbits have moved into third place. 

Nicole Paley, PFMA Deputy Chief Executive, said: "Almost half of UK households are benefitting from pet ownership and whilst cats and dogs continue to be the most popular pets, rabbits came in at third place followed by indoor birds, guinea pigs and domestic fowl.

"A key role of PFMA is to provide educational resources on how to ensure the full range of pets get the right nutrition and we really value the role of vets and vet nurses being at the front line to pass this information on.

"At PFMA we are here to support the veterinary profession and we have a series of factsheets on popular feeding topics such as ‘Do all small mammals eat the same food’ and ‘Nutrition for indoor birds. Our pet companions fill our lives with love and joy and in return, it’s important we provide the care they need. "

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  1. 8000 UK adults were interviewed by TNS / Solus Consulting in February 2019, in face-to-face interviews.
  2. cross checked crossed checked with a 1963 figure and growth levels vs. PFMA data in 1987 'Companion Animals in Society' published by Oxford University Press in 1988 (which quotes PFMA data, pages 11 and 12).   

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