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Dog Adoption Statistics – How Does Adoption Help?

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According to the ASPCA website, there are over 6.3 million companion animals that enter various U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year.   Dogs are the most common of these animals, accounting for over 3.1 million of the total annual intakes.


Why should dogs be adopted?

For this reason, it is important to understand the reasons why dogs end up in shelters and what methods are being used to decrease shelter intake numbers. Dogs are thought of as man’s best friend, and they are considered to be one of the most loyal pets you can have.

Dogs provide comfort security, companionship, entertainment, and more for their owners.


Euthanasia statistics for dogs in shelters

What is sad is about 920,000 animals are euthanized each year, and although this number has gone down in recent years, especially with the pandemic, many more can be saved.


How many people have dogs in the United States?

It is estimated that 79 million dogs are owned in the United States.

  • Approximately 44% of all households in the United States have a dog.
  • 40% of dog owners learned about their pet through word of mouth according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA)
  • The APPA also reports that 34% of dogs are purchased from breeders, while 23% of dogs are obtained form an animal shelter or humane society


Common reasons dogs are put up for adoption

Why do people put up their dogs for adoption?  According to the ASPCA’s National Rehoming Survey 47% of rehomed dogs were put up for adoption due to “pet problems” these include:

  • Problematic behaviors
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Growing too large
  • Health Problems
  • Moving
  • Financial Problems

Another 75% of animals are surrendered for adoption due to human circumstances.

  • 17% of animals are surrendered because the owner decided they have too many pets
  • 13% of animals are surrendered because of housing reasons
  • Personality of the Animal only accounts for 8% of surrenders


What about fostering pets?

Fortunately, many dogs are saved from euthanasia by being put up for adoption.  Dogs that find themselves in animal shelters often have little time to be rescued and adopted into new homes before they are euthanized.  Dogs can take anywhere from two days to two weeks to be adopted.


Often times the way that shelters save dogs from being euthanized is by fostering dogs, but there aren’t many volunteers that volunteer to foster.  According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are only 8% of households that foster pets.

  • In a 2021 APPA Survey 54% of households own at least one dog
  • 47% of dog-owning households have a small dog
  • 31% of dog-owning households have a medium dog
  • 36% of dog-owning households have a large dog
  • 85% of dog owners consider their dogs to be family members
  • 14% of dog owners consider their dogs to be pets or companions


How much are veterinary fees with an adopted dog?

When owners consider adoption, one of the main considerations becomes finances.  But according to the Humane Society, dog owners are spending only about $1,344 a year in veterinary visits per year.  This is up from $495 in 2018, according to The Humane Society.


Are pure bred dogs available in shelters?

Additionally, it used to be widely believed that dogs in shelters were mainly mixed breeds or “mutts” that were abandoned by breeding accidents, however that is a myth that has been proven wrong, since there are many dogs available in shelters that are considered “pure bred” according to Pet Keen.

  • 78% of dogs are spayed or neutered
  • 56% of dogs are considered a “pure breed”
  • 54% of dogs are considered mixed or “mutts”


What breeds of dogs are available in shelters?

There are 6 common dog breeds that are found in shelters, mostly due to overbreeding, stereotypes, or dogs that require more care than other breeds.  Of these 6 breeds, Pit Bulls and Chihuahuas are most likely to require euthanasia.

  • American Pit Bull Terriers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • German Shepherds
  • Dachshunds
  • Chihuahuas
  • Boxers


Other amazing dog adoption statistics and facts:

  • Around 810,000 stray animals that enter shelters are actually returned to their owners each year.
  • The number of no-kill animal shelters has doubled since 2016
  • Only 55,000 pets were fostered in 2020, whereas 3.1 million dogs enter animal shelters each year
  • Dogs of puppy age are most likely to be adopted


How does insight to adoption statistics help?

Despite the many benefits that dogs provide, there are a number of reasons why they can end up in shelters.

There are a wide variety of statistics available, which can be helpful to provide insight to those thinking about adoption, so that they can know the kind of impact they can make.


What else can be done to decrease the number of dogs put up for adoption?

There are a number of organizations and initiatives working to decrease shelter intake numbers for dogs.  By understanding the reason why dogs are ending up in shelters and what is being done to prevent this from happening, we can help make sure these animals have a loving home.