As reported in Packaged Facts’ just-released Pet Population and Ownership Trends in the U.S., there’s been a long-term gain in the share of pet-owning households with senior dogs or cats (those age 7 years or older).
Among dog-owning households, the share with senior dogs rose from 41.6% in 2012 to 53.5% as of 2022.
In contrast, the share with puppies under age 1 dipped from 12.5% in 2012 to 9.0% in 2022. A primary focus on new pet parents and puppy adoption, therefore, can mean looking at market opportunities from the wrong end of the telescope.
Among cat owners, in turn, the share with senior cats rose from 46% in 2012 to 52% as of 2022. In combination, 58% of dog- or cat-owning households have senior pets.
This trend is why animal wellness products targeting older pets—ranging from cognitive health pet foods to joint health supplements to orthopedic pet beds—have multiplied in number over the past decade.
With pets living longer lives due to advances in veterinary care and ever-increasing dog and cat owner attention to pet wellness and nutrition, growing numbers of aging dogs and cats can benefit from skin & coat, oral care, digestive, mobility, immune system, heart, urinary health, and cognitive support products, in addition to anti-inflammatory and pain management aids.
In addition, older pets (like their older human companions) tend to be heavier than their younger counterparts, and with pet obesity on top of senior age comes increased incidence of health problems such as diabetes, cardiac issues, and joint pain. The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded this effect, including in increased product offerings addressing pet immune system health.