Pet Welfare and The Pet Population


As a nation of pet lovers, here we look at pet welfare and the UK population of cats and dogs. Looking after your pet requires a great deal of responsibility. So we’ve put together some handy information on what you need to think about when caring for your pet.  

Pet Welfare 

The Pet Food Manufacturers Association regularly produce an Animal Well Being report, which helps to identify pet welfare needs and current issues. The animal welfare act places a legal duty of care on owners or keepers to look after their animals. This means that it is your direct responsibility to ensure that they are cared for appropriately.  

As an owner or keeper you must provide for the following pet welfare needs: 

  • Health – this includes protecting your pet from pain, injury, suffering and disease. Helping your pets to live a safe and healthy life is your responsibility, which includes ensuring they receive treatment if they are unwell or injured.
  • Behaviour – this means enabling your pet to behave as it should, whether that be running, jumping etc. It is also your responsibility to ensure that where necessary they are trained to behave and are kept on a lead if required.
  • Companionship – depending on their species some animals need to be kept alone and others needs companions. It is your responsibility to ensure that they are housed safely and appropriately.
  • Diet – a healthy diet is important for your pet. Your pet should have a well balanced diet and access to fresh clean water.
  • Environment – keeping your pet in a suitable environment includes ensuring that they have a comfortable place to rest, as well as space to exercise/explore depending on their needs.

You can find more information on this here, including tips and advice on how to care for your pets.  

According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) there are 9 million dogs and 8 million cats in the UK. A recent study by using data from the PFMA looked into the percentage of cats and dogs owned as pets per region. 

Highest Percentage of Dogs 

The region with the highest percentage of homes with dogs is Northern Ireland with a total of 35%. The North East of England is second, housing 33%. As dogs require a great deal of walking, this is not surprising, given the vast amount of outdoor space in these areas.  

Lowest Percentage of Dogs 

Looking at the other end of the scale, London accounted for the lowest percentage. Figures showed just 9% of households owning a dog, which is a significant difference. However, this may not come as a surprise due to the city having limited interior space, fewer private gardens and less green areas compared to other regions in the country. 

Highest Percentage of Cats 

In comparison, the region with the highest number of cats is Wales and the South West of England. Both areas saw figures of 22% respectively.  

Lowest Percentage of Cats 

Scotland, the North East of England and London had the lowest percentage of cats with totals of just 14%. Whilst these figures are still considerably small, this is still higher than London’s 9% for dogs. It is noticeable that London quite clearly prefers cats over dogs as there is a 5% difference between the amount of cats compared with dogs in the city. Cats don’t require walking as we know, so there isn’t the same need for outdoor spaces and gardens. Many cats are also happy to remain as a house pet, enjoying the indoors.