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About pets

In general terms ‘companion animals’ are all those animals which are kept by people for companionship and enjoyment. They are often referred to as “pets”.  Cats and dogs are among the most popular pets. Others include:

  • small mammals: rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs and ferrets, among others.
  • fish: including goldfish, rainbow fish, etc.
  • birds: such as parrots, monk parakeets and domestic canaries.
  • A new type of companion animal has emerged recently: exotic animals, such as e.g. reptiles.

How many pets are there?

In Europe there are 60 million cats, 56 million dogs, 35 million cage birds and 62 million homes have companion animals.

Source: FEDIAF

National figures


  • In France there are 36.4 million fish, more than 10 million cats and close to 8 million dogs. 
  • In the United Kingdom there are over 40 million fish, around 8 million cats and another 8 million dogs.
  • In Germany there are 8 million cats, over 5 million dogs and another 5 million small animals.

Sources: FACCO (France), PFMA (United Kingdom) and IVH (Germany)


  • In France 51% of homes have a companion animal.
  • In the United Kingdom almost 1 in 2 households (47%) own a pet.
  • In Germany 16% of households own cats, more than 13% have dogs and over 5% other small animals.

Sources: FACCO (France), PFMA (United Kingdom) and IVH (Germany)

Worldwide, there are 223 million dogs and 220 million cats. These figures exclude strays.

Source: Vetnosis Ltd.

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