GUELPH, ONTARIO — The Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI) on Feb. 16 released the results from its 2020 Pet Population Survey, revealing key pet ownership data and pet owner sentiments throughout the country.

According to the survey, 58% of Canadian households own at least one dog or cat. These numbers were consistent with survey results from 2018, aside from a few key changes.

The dog population in Canada rose from 7.6 million to 7.7 million between 2018 and 2020, growing approximately 1.3%. The cat population remained roughly the same at 8.1 million. Cat-owning households continue to outnumber dog-owning households throughout the region.

The study showed significantly more cats received veterinary care in 2020 than dogs, primarily occurring in the spring following the onset of COVID-19.

“It is encouraging to see the increase in veterinary care for cats as it has lagged behind that of dogs for many years,” commented Colleen McElwain, programs director at CAHI. “However, there is still quite a bit of room for continued growth in the percentage of cats accessing veterinary care, which sits at about 58%.”

CAHI also learned through the survey that dog and cat owners are increasingly pleased with the quality of veterinary care in Canada, with the percentage of owners rating care as “good” increasing in 2020. Additionally, veterinarians remain the most frequently used source of information when it comes to pet care information.

“Since the start of the COVID crisis, Canadian veterinarians have experienced both a change in practice model and an increase in patient activity, particularly in cats,” said Colin Siren, research lead and senior vice president of Kynetec Canada. “In such challenging times, it is reassuring the majority of dog and cat owners rate veterinarians highly for value of money spent and credibility.”

The survey was conducted by Kynetec, formerly Ipsos. CAHI has commissioned these pet ownership surveys throughout Canada since 2004.

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