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12 Incredible Canadian Pet Spending Statistics & Facts: Updated in 2024

Keri-Beth Clur

By Keri-Beth Clur

Canada Pet Spending Facts & Statistics

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

Although the most popular pets in Canada are dogs and cats, it’s a country that loves all kinds of pets, from fish to birds. An increase in pets has been seen since the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as a rise in pet spending. With health becoming a priority to so many people, many pet owners have taken out pet insurance to ensure that their pets receive the care they need when they need it. They’ve also turned to premium diets and preventative treatments to reduce the risk of disease.

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Top 12 Canadian Pet Spending Statistics

  1. There are around 16.4 million pet dogs & cats in Canada.
  2. It costs over $2,700 to care for a cat in Canada annually.
  3. It costs around $4,000 to care for a dog in Canada annually.
  4. Dental cleaning is the highest expense per year for cat owners at around $743.
  5. There are only 3,825 veterinary practices in Canada.
  6. $6.6 billion is spent on pets in Canada annually.
  7. Dog food is the highest expense per year for dog owners at around $1,200.
  8. Ontario has 776 pet stores, which is the highest number of pet stores in Canada.
  9. Purchasing pet food in-store is more popular among Canadians, with a market share of 76.6%.
  10. The pet food market size was $3.34 billion in Canada in 2021.
  11. By the end of 2021, 432,533 pets were insured in Canada.
  12. The number of pets insured increased by 22.7% between 2020 & 2021.
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How Much Does Pet Care Cost?

1. There are around 16.4 million pet dogs & cats in Canada.

(CAHI)

In Canada, the most popular pets are dogs and cats, which increased in numbers during the Covid-19 pandemic between 2020 and 2022. During this period, the dog population grew from 7.7 million to 7.9 million, and the cat population grew from 8.1 million to 8.5 million. Currently, around 60% of Canadian households have one or more cats and/or dogs.

During the pandemic, many people became new pet owners, and many households that already had a pet welcomed a new one. These pets reduced the feeling of isolation and provided comfort and companionship during the difficult event the world faced.

Woman holding a white fluffy cat and Jack Russell Terrier dog while sitting on the bed
Image Credit: Reshetnikov_art, Shutterstock

2. It costs over $2,700 to care for a cat in Canada annually.

(Statista 1)

It can cost around $2,700 to care for a cat every year. Of course, depending on your lifestyle, your budget, your cat’s needs, and whether you have pet insurance, this cost could be significantly higher or lower.

This figure has taken medical care, pet insurance, cat food, litter, toys, and a collar into consideration for the year. However, you’ll need to consider one-time costs, as well as the cost of your cat. The cost of your cat will depend on whether you’re adopting one from your local shelter or purchasing a purebred from a breeder.

Adopting a cat can be as low as $75, whereas purchasing a cat through a breeder can be as high as $3,000.


3. It costs around $4,000 to care for a dog in Canada annually.

(Statista 2)

If you thought caring for a cat was expensive, you’d be surprised to find out that it costs almost double to care for a dog on average. You can expect to pay around $4,000 annually to feed, care for, and keep your dog entertained in Canada. Once again, this cost does depend on your budget and your dog’s needs.

Caring for a dog is more expensive because they eat more than cats do and require more vet procedures. Unsurprisingly, they also tend to find themselves in more accidents than cats do, and pet insurance premiums are much higher.

Owner brushing golden retriever teeth, tooth brushing dog
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

4. Dental cleaning is the highest expense per year for cat owners at around $743.

(Statista 1)

The most expensive costs you’ll need to cover when owning a cat are their food, pet insurance, and dental cleanings, with dental cleanings listed as the highest expense.

Depending on your vet’s recommendation based on your cat’s health, they may need dental cleanings every 6 months, or they might only require the procedure every 2 years. Unfortunately, many pet insurances don’t cover dental cleanings, and you’ll be responsible for the vet bill. This procedure is so expensive because it needs to be done under anesthesia for the safety of your cat.


5. There are only 3,825 veterinary practices in Canada.

(CVMA)

In 2022, nearly 1 in 5 pet owners sought out preventative care and didn’t receive it. Two of the main reasons why their pets never received treatment were being too expensive or not being able to get an appointment with the veterinarian.

Canadians are aware of the value that pets add to their lives and strive to provide their pets with the right diets and necessary veterinary care. They’re relatively good at providing their pets with the preventative care they need because they know that by doing so, their pets will remain healthy. Another reason for doing so is to reduce the high demand for veterinary services because the capacity is low.

In Canada, there is a shortage of veterinarians, with only around 15,322 across the country. There are only 3,825 veterinary practices available to care for the needs of the 16.4 million dogs and cats, as well as the various other types of pets in the country.

vet examining cat and dog
Image Credit: FamVeld, Shutterstock

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Pet Food Expenditure

6. $6.6 billion is spent on pets in Canada annually.

(Square One)

Canadians are willing to spend a lot of money on their pets. However, the $6.6 billion spent on pets in Canada includes more than vet bills and pet food—it also includes new pet technology, premium diets, and pet sitting and walking.

This culture may not be what you grew up seeing your parents do with their pets, but pampering and treating your pets as though they’re truly part of the family has increased in popularity and has become common in recent years.


7. Dog food is the highest expense per year for dog owners at around $1,200.

(Statista 2)

The majority of a Canadian’s money goes to food when caring for a dog. This is $624 more than the food bill cat owners pay per year—of course, dogs eat more than cats.

Pet insurance and dental cleanings are the next two highest expenses that Canadians face when caring for a dog.

woman gives her labrador retriever dog food in a feeding bowl
Image Credit: Christian Mueller, Shutterstock

8. Ontario has 776 pet stores, which is the highest number of pet stores in Canada.

(Statista 4)

Ontario is where you’re likely to find the most success when looking for pet food and pet supplies because they have 776 pet supply stores and 132 animal food manufacturing establishments spread out across the province. After Ontario, Quebec has the highest with 506 pet supply stores, and British Columbia comes in third.

Of these pet supply stores, you’re most likely to find PetSmart and Petco companies, as these two dominate the market, with over 1,500 of their stores dotted across North America.


9. Purchasing pet food in-store is more popular among Canadians, with a market share of 76.6%.

(Statista 3)

Many Canadians are struggling to let go of the traditional method of purchasing pet food in the store, which is evident in the 76.6% market share representation. This is surprising considering the Covid-19 pandemic and the hard lockdown many countries had to adhere to in an effort to remain and keep others safe from the spread of the virus.

During the pandemic, many people resorted to online shopping, but even with the lifestyle change, many pet owners chose to rather purchase pet food in-store, with only around 21.7% of pet owners purchasing pet food online.

woman buying dog food in pet store
Image Credit: BearFotos, Shutterstock

10. The pet food market size was $3.34 billion in Canada in 2021.

(GlobeNewswire)

Although there is a larger population of cats than dogs in Canada, dog food brings in the most money for the pet food market in Canada. Dog owners seem to be more willing to pay for premium dog food and treats than cat owners.

However, cat food is also a massive contributor to the pet food market. With the growing number of pets in Canadian households, it’s believed that the market will increase in the coming years and is expected to reach $4.56 billion by 2027.

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Pets & Insurance

11. By the end of 2021, 432,533 pets were insured in Canada.

(Naphia)

Although the United States is responsible for 90% of insured pets in North America, Canada is also a contributor, albeit a small one. By the end of 2021, the United States had a total of 3,979,282 insured pets, while Canada only had 432,533. Of that figure, around 92,300 insured pets were cats, and 335,300 were dogs. This means that only 1.2% of cats and 4.35% of dogs in Canada are insured.

couple with a dog getting a pet insurance
Image Credit: RobertKneschke, Shutterstock

12. The number of pets insured increased by 22.7% between 2020 & 2021.

(Naphia)

Although Canada has a long way to go to match the number of insured pets in the United States, it’s clear that they are becoming more and more aware of the benefit and necessities of pet insurance. With the increase in pets over the past few years, there was a combined growth of 22.7% in pet insurance from 2020 to 2021. More impressively, there has been a growth of 59% in total insured pets when compared to the figures in 2017.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why has pet spending increased?

With the growing number of pets in Canadian households, there has been a natural increase in demand for pet food and pet supplies. Many Canadians treat their pets like children and are happy to spend their money on them, buying into popular services and products. These can include pet technology, holistic diets, professional grooming, boarding, and pet insurance.

More pet owners have become diligent in making sure their pets receive preventative care and have regular dental and physical checkups to ensure that they have a long and healthy life.

Is the pet care industry also growing in Canada?

The pet food and pet supply markets aren’t the only ones growing in Canada. The pet care industry, which includes pet grooming and boarding, has a market size of $837.4 million in 2023, with an expected 2% growth rate for the year. Since 2018, the market size has only increased each year, with an average growth rate of 3.8%.

The Covid-19 pandemic kept everyone isolated in their homes for a long time, but with the decline in infected people, more and more Canadians have booked international trips to visit loved ones and take a bit of a holiday overseas. With all these international trips, pets are being booked into boarding facilities to be cared for while their owners are away, benefitting the industry further. (IBIS World)

dog playing with chew toys
Image Credit: mattycoulton, Pixabay

Why is vet care so expensive in Canada?

Part of why vet care is so expensive is because it costs so much to become a vet. Vets are trained professionals that have undergone many years of studies at a university which leaves many of them in high amounts of student loan debt. Their salaries need to be high enough to repay these loans while still funding their life.

Another aspect is that vets are overworked and under high levels of stress due to the nature of their jobs. Many vets run their own practices and need to charge patients appropriately to cover the cost of their employee’s salaries, the rent for the practice, utilities, inventory equipment, and so much more.

Why does Canada have a shortage of veterinarians?

Although there is accessibility to vet care in Canada, vets are limited, which has become a bit of a problem as there aren’t enough new graduates to meet the rising pet care demand in the country.

The reason for this is that the tuition fees to study to become a vet are very high in Canada, and many students can’t afford to pay them. Another reason is that there is only a handful of veterinary colleges in Canada, and acceptance rates are very low. Another problem is that many vets are leaving their careers to pursue something new due to feeling overworked and burnt out.

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Conclusion

With over 16 million pet cats and dogs in Canada, it’s clear that many people in Canada value the companionship and affection they receive from their pets. Many of them treat their pets as they would their own children and are happy to spend a great portion of their salaries on them. In fact, spending on pets has increased in recent years with pet-related industries benefitting and growing with each passing year.

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