Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) announces the results of its annual pet population survey of 8000 households[i]. The data confirms a stable population of 12m pet owning households in the UK (12%) and PFMA would like to thank these loyal companions who are helping the 41% of pet-owning households through this pandemic and beyond.

Michael Bellingham, Chief Executive of PFMA comments: “Over recent months, our lives have been disrupted by unprecedented social, economic and emotional challenges as a result of Covid-19. Throughout this period, the tremendous support provided by our pets has been widely documented. Pets have helped many of us navigate these strange times by bringing much needed comfort, happiness and routine.”

Trends expert, Joeri Van den Bergh, looked at the impact of Covid19 on pet owners: “In our Covid19 lockdown researchii we witnessed confined pet owners paying extra attention to physical and mental wellbeing by playing with their cats and walking their dogs. Many mentioned having more time with their pets as the positive side of working remotely from home. With restricted contacts, pets turned out to be even more important companions than ever before providing a welcomed alternative for hugs from our human but distant friends and relatives.”

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)

Fifty years ago, the budgerigar was the UK’s third most popular pet and there were only 5.1m dogs and 4.6m catsi[ii]. Since then, the dog population has grown 76% and cat population has grown 63%iv. These figures transcend growth in the human population, which is 19% over fifty yearsv. Dogs have predominantly held on to the number one spot through the years, although cats did claw their way to number one over the millennium.