From 2016 to 2018, the Canadian dog population has continued to grow while the population of cats has stabilized. Cats continued to outnumber dogs with 8.3 million cats considered household pets in 2018, down slightly from 2016. Dog population figures for 2018 increased to 8.2 million, up from 7.6 million in 2016.  The Canadian dog population is now nearly equal to the cat population for the first time since these measures were established in 2004.

This research also tracks a number of key attitudinal metrics related to the way pet owners perceive veterinarians and veterinary care.  Since 2016, there have been improvements in several key metrics:

  • The percentage of both dog and cat owners rating the value they receive at the veterinarian as “good” (8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale) has improved significantly.
  • The proportion of pet owners consulting a veterinarian or veterinary technician “frequently” as an information source continues to rise and has improved significantly since 2014.
  • When asked for their top of mind concern as it relates to their pet, pet owners are more likely to identify animal wellbeing concerns in 2018 (flea infestation, tick infestation, disease/illness concerns) than affordability of veterinary services.

These figures are the result of a nation-wide survey conducted by Kynetec (formerly Ipsos) of over 3,026 pet-owning households and are consistent with historical tracking done by Kynetec on behalf of the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI) since 2004.

Research lead, Colin Siren, Senior Vice President, Kynetec Canada indicates that “While the dog population growth continues to be a positive indicator for the animal health industry in Canada, the result we are most excited about is the growth in already positive attitudes toward veterinarians among pet owners.”

“It is encouraging to see the number of pet cats and dogs increasing in Canada over time and I think that reflects the special relationship we have with them. Over the last ten years the number of cats and dogs has increased by about 10%. Overall approximately 41% of Canadian households include at least one dog, and similarly around 37% include at least one cat.” indicated Colleen McElwain, CAHI Programs Director.

Healthy pets mean healthy Canadians. Pet ownership has proven benefits to both physical and mental health in people. Similarly, assistance animals improve the lives of those with disabilities. 

Members of CAHI provide Canada’s veterinarians and animal owners with the animal medications necessary to maintain the health of our pets and food animal population. More on the CAHI can be found on our website at:

Contact: Colleen McElwain, Programs Director