Smile Dog. (Photo by Kevin Sando at Dog. (Photo by Kevin Sando at

Canadian pet population rises according to new survey

If you have at least one dog or cat in your home, you are among six out of ten Canadian households.

The Canadian Animal Health Institute has released the results of its 2022 Pet Population Survey, estimating the number of cats, dogs, rabbits, and other pets in Canada.

Not surprisingly, it said pet populations increased during the pandemic as more people worked from home and coped with the loneliness during COVID-19 shutdowns.

Between 2020 and 2022, the Canadian dog population grew from 7.7-million to 7.9-million. For cats, the increase was similar, 8.1-million to 8.5-million. file photo by Sue Storr.

"We know that dogs, cats, and other animals can provide many benefits for mental health, including companionship and coping with stressful situations," said Doctor Emily Bond with the Institute. "It will be interesting to see if this trend continues now that life is returning to the new normal."

One interesting note that came out of the survey results, the gap between dog and cat owners who took their pets to the veterinarian is decreasing. Historically, dog owners were more likely to seek a vet, but there was a three per cent increase in cat owners who sought veterinary care. The rate increased from 58 per cent in 2021 to 61 per cent in 2022.

For dogs, the rate remained stable at 68 per cent.

"The growth rate of the Canadian dog and cat populations, and the rate of Canadian pets visiting the veterinarian continues to surpass pre-COVID crisis levels," said Research Lead Colin Siren with Kynetec Canada. "Nearly one in five pet owners wanted or needed preventative care in the past 12 months but were not able to access it due to affordability or the inability to get an appointment. Despite these challenges, veterinary services remain highly valued."

Kynetec, formerly Ipsos, surveyed 4,000 pet-owning households across Canada. It has tracked pet ownership for the institute since 2004.

The Canadian Animal Health Institute has been the science-based voice of the Canadian animal health industry since 1968.

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