ROCKVILLE, MD. — In its recently released “Pet Population and Ownership Trends in the U.S.” report, Packaged Facts detailed various pet ownership trends driving the industry’s product innovations, including the growth in senior pet ownership.

According to the report, pet-owning households with dogs or cats age 7 years or older have grown significantly. From 2012 to 2022, dog-owning households with a senior dog (7 years or older) increased from 41.6% to 53.5%. On the other side, dog-owning households with puppies younger than 1 year decreased from 12.5% in 2012 to 9.0% in 2022.

Senior cat ownership increased from 46% in 2012 to 52% in 2022, meaning more than half of cat-owning households in the United States own a senior cat.

With this in mind, David Sprinkle, pet market research director for Packaged Facts, cautioned pet industry companies against purely focusing on new pet owners and puppy or kitten adoptions.

“A primary focus on new pet parents and puppy adoption, therefore, can mean looking at market opportunities from the wrong end of the telescope,” Sprinkle wrote.

In combination, 58% of total dog and cat households in the United States own a senior pet, according to Packaged Facts. This represents a small shift in pet ownership trends, as pets continue to live longer thanks to advances in veterinary care.

With senior pet ownership increasing, it’s no wonder the pet and animal health and wellness industry has exploded during the past years, becoming flooded with functional products. As pet owners become more interested in their pet’s health and helping their pet live longer, products targeting cognitive, joint and mobility health have multiplied during the past 10 years, according to Sprinkle.

COVID-19 has also caused an increase in pet health awareness, driving pet obesity concerns and increasing consumer interest in pet products touting weight-associated health claims. Consumers are also becoming more interested in products supporting skin and coat, immune, urinary and heart health, oral care, healthy digestion, mobility, brain function, as well as those offering anti-inflammatory and pain management/relief, to help support their aging pets.

As pets continue to live longer and senior pet ownership continues to grow, consumers will likely expand their search for products, forcing the industry to expand its functional and solution-based formulations.

Keep up with the latest pet food trends on our Trends page.