Pet Overpopulation Statistics

If you don’t believe that spaying and neutering your pets is a good idea, maybe these statistics will change your mind.

The Humane Society of the United States estimates that between six and eight million cats and dogs enter animal shelters and rescues every year. Of that number, approximately half are euthanized — that means between three and four million dogs and cats die for no other reason than they are in a shelter that cannot afford the space or money to keep them. There are between four and six thousand animal shelters and rescue organizations in the United States.

Let’s think about fertility:

  • An average cat can produce THREE litters of kittens every year. If there are five kittens in an average litter, that means fifteen new kittens every year.
  • An average dog can produce TWO litters of puppies every year. If there are eight puppies in an average litter, that means sixteen new puppies every year.

Pet overpopulation is a real problem for animal shelters and rescues… and not just for mutts and moggies! The Humane Society of the United States estimates that a quarter of all dogs in shelters are purebred.

A 2006 survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association found that just over seventy percent of pet dogs in America are spayed or neutered. Cat owners are a bit more responsible — approximately eighty-four percent of American cats are spayed or neutered. But only around fifteen percent of pet dogs or cats came from shelters.

There are approximately seventy-three million pet dogs and ninety million pet cats living in the United States. Those are some pretty amazing numbers — but there are still millions of dogs and cats without homes, and millions euthanized. I think about the dogs in my family and can’t imagine life without them — I am so glad that they lived long enough at the shelter to find me. It breaks my heart to think about the animals that never find a forever home. But if you don’t spay or neuter your pets, you risk contributing more animals to the millions we already have in the U.S. that don’t have homes.

Rhode Island signs spay/neuter law.

Learn about Spay Day USA!