19 Most Popular House Pets in America

brown hedgehog on brown tree branch
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Pets are fun to have around and can make us feel better when we’re sad or lonely. Dogs and cats have been our pals for a long time, even in ancient times. They helped us hunt and kept us company at home. Lots of American families have pets—about 57%! So, let’s talk about the most popular house pets in America!


Medium Short-coated White Dog on White Textile
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In America, most people have dogs as pets. The American Veterinary Medical Association says there are around 76 million pet dogs in the country—with about 48 million homes taking care of them. That means, on average, each home has 1.5 dogs. It’s no surprise they’re so popular—they’re known as man’s best friend! Dogs are easy to look after, fun to talk to, and great buddies for kids and grown-ups.


black and white tabby cat
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In 2023, cats were part of 46.5 million households. But where do all these cats come from? According to the AVMA, 43% of cat owners got their cat from a store, 40% from an animal shelter or rescue, and only 7% chose their furry friend from a breeder’s litter. Even though they are less work than dogs, cat owners still need to make sure their feline pals get enough exercise and things to keep them busy.


white and black hedgehog
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Even though some people might be afraid of hedgehogs because of their prickly quills, they’re becoming super popular in the U.S. These little guys need hardly any looking after, making them perfect pets for many folks. Although six states in the U.S. don’t allow people to have them as pets, that hasn’t stopped people in other places from keeping them.


Close Up Photo of Clownfish
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There are around 10.5 million fish owners in the United States! Fish are awesome pets for kids because they teach responsibility without needing much care. Freshwater fish are usually easier and cheaper to care for than saltwater ones. Their tanks are simpler and don’t need as much special stuff like salt. So, if you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to begin with freshwater fish before trying saltwater ones.


Scarlet Macaw
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Birds make great pets because there are many kinds to pick from—depending on your liking. About 6 million households in America have pet birds. Cockatiels are a good choice if you want a bird for your kids. But if you’re an adult looking for a chatty companion, conures are louder birds that can be great buddies. That way, you can find the bird that fits your life best.


A Person Petting a Long-Tailed Chinchilla
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Chinchillas are a favorite pet in the USA with over 5 million families keeping them. They’re affordable because they eat less, so you won’t spend lots on food. Plus, they don’t need a big home, which is great. Chinchillas are tidy and can live a long time if you take care of them well, even up to 20 years! And here’s a bonus—they don’t shed much, so they’re safer for folks with allergies.


brown and white horse
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Did you know almost two million people in the U.S. own horses? Just like having a dog, having a horse is perfect if you love being active. Riding and looking after horses are excellent exercises for both of you. But owning a horse isn’t cheap. They need a lot of care and the right place to live. So before getting a horse—think about your money and where you can keep them safely.


person holding turtle
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Turtles may look tough on the outside, but they’re actually pretty friendly, which is why they’re in 2 million homes in the U.S. Sadly, because they’re super popular, people are catching them illegally, making turtles disappear from the wild. Now, people are speaking up for turtles. They want rules to make sure turtles are sold ethically and legally, and they want poaching to stop.


brown bunny near green grass during daytime
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Did you know that millennials (mostly young adults now) have many small pets? Rabbits are their favorite—with 1.5 million of them in homes. Rabbits used to be pets for kids in the 90s, but now those kids have grown up and still love having rabbits around. Since rabbits don’t need much space, they’re great for folks who live in apartments or small houses.


selective focus photography of brown hamster
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Hamsters are also popular. People like them because they’re easy to take care of and usually stay healthy. They’re tough little creatures, so they’re more likely to live a long life rather than suddenly get sick and die. According to the AVMA, almost nine out of ten American households have a hamster.


brown and red rooster on gray concrete floor
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Keeping chickens used to be mostly about making money, but now, more people are doing it just for themselves. They’re raising hens in their own yards because it feels good to know where your eggs are coming from—happy chickens living in a good environment. Do you know? Over a million American families have their own chickens.


black and brown snake on brown soil during daytime
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When you think about snakes, you might not imagine them as great pets. But when you check out the top 19 favorite house pets in the U.S.—you’ll see a surprise. Ball pythons and corn snakes are two snake types that lots of people love to have. They’re making folks see reptiles in a new light. Over a million snakes are kept as pets in American homes.

Guinea Pigs

medium coated white and brown animal
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Guinea pigs might not be as famous as hamsters, but they’re still a big hit—living in over a million American homes. Kids really like having them around, as they’re super fun. These little guys are lively and friendly, making them great playmates. It’s predicted that by 2030, the food industry for guinea pigs in the U.S. will be worth millions.

Bearded Dragons

a close up of a lizard in a cave
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Even though they need special care because they’re used to Australia’s climate—bearded dragons are still super popular pets because they’re gentle and look amazing. You have to keep their environment just right, with specific temperatures and plenty of room. But even with these needs, people still adore them. Do you know? About 670,000 American homes have a bearded dragon as a pet.


shallow focus photo of white hamster
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Mice are simple to look after and can be quite fun as indoor pets. You don’t have to take them for walks, but with a bit of training and patience—they can learn lots of tricks. People who like friendly and lively pets often choose mice because they’re just the right mix of sociable and active. Around 500,000 households in the U.S. have mice as pets.


a herd of cows standing on top of a lush green field
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Almost 494,000 American families have livestock. Livestock is usually raised for making money—especially in states like Nebraska where it’s a big part of the economy. But that doesn’t mean these animals can’t also be great companions. Cows, for example, can be amazing pets. They’re really affectionate towards their owners and often form strong bonds with them.


white mouse on brown cardboard box
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Rats are often overlooked as pets because people see them more as pests. But veterinarians say that rats bred specifically as pets can actually form emotional connections with their owners. This sets them apart from other rodents, who are known for being nippy. And guess what? About 400,000 people in America own pet rats. You can also buy cute toys for your rat, like a mini skateboard.


black and grey otter animal
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Ferrets were once really popular pets and lived in nearly a million homes because they were easy to find in pet stores and not too big. Lately, however, their popularity has dropped because they need a lot of care—and some places, like California and Hawaii, don’t allow them to be pets. Now, there are only about 300,000 ferrets in homes.


green and brown iguana on brown wooden surface
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Nearly 6 million American homes have reptiles as pets—and while we’re not sure of the exact number, iguanas are often listed as one of the top choices. More folks are choosing pets like these as they get busier with work and want animals that don’t need constant care. Places like Hawaii and Texas have lots of iguanas, so there’s a growing local market for them.