Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
Pet ownership has been steadily on the rise over the past few decades across the globe and in Canada, there are many residents across the country who own at least one pet. Whether it be a fish, a new family dog or cat, or a unique reptile, people in Canada seem to love animal companions of all types.
Keep reading to learn some of the statistics for pet ownership in Canada, along with the most popular pet choices in 2022.
Top 10 Most Popular Pets in Canada Statistics
- Since the pandemic, 3 million homes have welcomed a new pet in Canada.
- Most new pet owners live in Ontario, with a close second in Northern Canada.
- Most current pet owners live in Atlantic Canada.
- Most Canadian pet owners have more than one pet.
- Cats are the most popular pet in Canada.
- Canadians prefer cats to dogs due to their easy adaptability.
- Dogs are the second most popular pet in Canada.
- Labrador Retrievers are the most popular dog breed in Canada.
- Surprisingly, fish are one of the most popular pets in Canada.
- Birds are the fourth most popular pet in Canada.
The Increase of Pet Ownership Since COVID-19
1. Since the pandemic, three million homes have welcomed a new pet in Canada.
The pandemic resulted in most of the world adjusting to life in isolation. Since 2020 when the pandemic began, it caused a pause in normal life in so many ways with people losing their jobs, losing their homes, and missing out on social events and/or gatherings.
Many people who shifted to working from the comfort of their own homes (and many still do) have taken advantage of this extra time by getting themselves a new pet! It is reported through a survey that over 30% of Canadians across provinces have welcomed a new pet into their home in the past few years.
2. Most new pet owners live in Ontario, with a close second in Northern Canada.
When reviewing statistics in Canada in relation to pet ownership, it can be said that most new pet owners reside in Ontario in comparison to other provinces. According to a survey conducted by Pet Valu (in partnership with Narrative Research), 37% of residents in Ontario became new pet owners during the pandemic.
3. Most current pet owners live in Atlantic Canada.
While most new pet owners reside in Ontario, many of Canada’s current pet owners live in the Atlantic provinces in Canada. This is a whopping 61% of Atlantic Canadians, in comparison to 53% of Ontarians and Quebec residents already being pet owners prior to the pandemic. In BC and Northern Canada, this percentage drops to 54% and 53% respectively in residents who were already pet owners prior to 2019.
4. Most Canadian pet owners have more than one pet.
Another interesting statistic for pet owners in Canada gathered from this survey was that many new pet owners already had pets. Pet owners in both Ontario and Atlantic provinces are more likely to already own one or multiple pets prior to getting a new one. In Atlantic Canada, six out of every 10 pet owners have multiple pets, and in Ontario more than half of the pet owners already have pets.
Top Pet Choices in Canada
5. Cats are the most popular pet in Canada.
Whether this is a surprise to some but not at all to cat lovers, cats are ranked as the most popular pet choice in Canada in 2022 and have been for decades. In just this past year, over 8 million cats were adopted and kept as pets. This number is only expected to increase as time progresses. Cats are known to be much easier to care for and require a lot less time and attention—even when they are young.
6. Canadians prefer cats to dogs due to their easy adaptability.
It’s a widely known fact that cats do not need a ton of attention (especially compared to dogs) as their personalities are generally quite independent. Although they do need attention from owners daily, they are somewhat self-sufficient. Cats are great at adapting to almost any type of environment which makes them an easy choice for a lot more people. They can live well with less space, such as an apartment or condo.
7. Dogs are the second most popular pet in Canada.
Dogs are the second most popular pet choice in Canada behind cats. In 2021, Canadians owned over 7 million dogs across the country, and this is only expected to increase in the coming years.
8. Labrador Retrievers are the most popular dog breed in Canada
(Canadian Kennel Club)
Labrador Retrievers are the most popular dog breed in Canada in 2022, as reported by the Canadian Kennel Club. In fact, they have been one of the most popular choice of dog breed for over 20 years! This is not specific to Canada either, as it is the most popular choice of dog breed in America as well.
The next most popular dog breeds are Golden Retrievers, with German Shepherds taking the number three spot.
Less Popular Pet Choices in Canada
9. Surprisingly, fish are one of the most popular pets in Canada.
A popular choice of pet in Canada is also fish! You might be surprised to see this pet on this list (and so close to dogs and cats), but they are relatively inexpensive and don’t require much care. In comparison to dogs and cats, they don’t need walks, a separate space for bathroom breaks, expensive food, beds, etc. A fish has their entire environment and needs met in one spot—its fish tank!
10. Birds are the fourth most popular pet in Canada
Birds have made the list of top pets in Canada in 2022 with over 2.5 million bird owners currently existing across the country. This number, though, in comparison to dogs and cats, hasn’t grown much in the last few years and has been relatively stable.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why Are Cats the Most Popular Pet in Canada?
There are many reasons cats would be the top choice on the list of most popular pets in Canada. While many gear towards dogs due to their loyal, fun-loving, and energetic personalities, they are a massive commitment and require a lot of time and attention—especially as puppies.
Cats are very self-sufficient in comparison. They quickly adapt to any space and can even learn how to use a litter box in a matter of days. They don’t require regular walks outdoors, tons of interaction and exercise, and are generally happier to be left at home alone.
When it comes to pet ownership and the increase in families getting new pets over the past few years, it is easy to see who the clear winners are in terms of the most popular.
Dogs and cats have topped the charts for decades and again take the first and second spots as the most popular pets in Canada. This number is only expected to increase in the coming years. This may be influenced by shifts in living situations (i.e., the pandemic), but could also be influenced by the increase in pet boarding facilities, information, and simply wanting to add a furry companion to the family.