Comparison of survey responses ten years apart show lifestyle evolution of dogs and cats in the U.S.

2020 Pet Census reveals dogs and cats have a major positive impact on pet parents’ mental health; comparison to 2010 survey suggests significant changes in pet-people relationships

(Photo: Business Wire)

VANCOUVER, Wash.--()--Wisdom Health Genetics, the world's leader in pet genetics and maker of Wisdom Panel™ dog DNA tests, announced the results of the 2020 Pet Census survey today. The census provides a unique snapshot of the lives of dogs, cats, and their people across the U.S.

More than 13,000 pet parents responded to the 2020 Pet Census survey, representing nearly 25,000 dogs and more than 6,000 cats. Their answers reveal that pets continue to be our family—that we humans share an ever-tighter bond with our beloved dogs and cats.

[View the Pet Census results infographic here]

Then and Now: Changes in pet parenting over the past ten years
In 2010, Wisdom Health Genetics’ Mutt Census focused solely on mixed-breed dogs; now, a decade later, the 2020 Pet Census survey includes all dogs—purebred and mixed-breed alike—and offers insight into the pet-human relationship.

  • The Rise in Rescuing: Dog adoption has increased by more than 16% since 2010; now, in 2020, nearly 63% of pet parents surveyed adopted their pup and 51% adopted their cat from a shelter or rescue.
  • Together We Snooze: Pets have solidified their status as family members—the most common spot for both dogs and cats to sleep is in bed with their humans.
  • Mental Health Impact: 99% of dog parents and 96% of cat parents said their pet has a positive impact on their mental health. The activities pet parents enjoy most with their dogs and cats are snuggling and playing, and 75% of pet parents listed companionship as the top reason for getting their pets.
  • Joys of Missing Out: The bond with pets is so strong that 72% of dog parents and 32% of cat parents admit they’ve canceled plans to spend time with their pets.
  • #PetObsessed: Over half of pet parents post about their pets at least a few times a month, and more than 17% of pets even have their own social media accounts.
  • Pets are Family: 64% of pet parents view their dog or cat as a child or family member.

“The Pet Census results reveal that pet parents across the U.S. increasingly think of their animals as family. The bond we share with our dogs and cats rank among our most important relationships,” said Audrey Yoo, General Manager at Wisdom Health Genetics, a segment of Kinship. “In the last ten years, our pets have undergone an incredible lifestyle evolution. And they now play a central role in our own lives—whether they’re improving our mental health especially in these unique times or sharing a spot in our beds.”

[View the Pet Census results infographic here]

Pet genetic testing, 2010 vs. 2020
Between 2007 and 2010, the DNA database behind Wisdom Panel™ tests logged 57,453 DNA samples. Technological capabilities have since advanced, and the Wisdom Health Genetics DNA database now contains more than two million dog DNA samples worldwide.

When it comes to DNA tests, the 2020 survey revealed a stark difference between dog and cat DNA testing: 66.6% of dog parents have done a DNA test for their pet, while only 1.6% of cat parents have. The majority of dog parents were motivated primarily by curiosity. But both dog and cat parents indicated a desire to better understand their pets. Improving potential health outcomes were cited as additional motivators.

Wisdom Panel™ dog DNA tests—from the world’s leading dog DNA service—help pet parents plan better, care smarter, and love longer.

About Wisdom Health Genetics

The mission of the Wisdom Health business, a division of Kinship, is to strengthen the bond between pets and their people through world-leading insights powered by DNA. Wisdom Panel™ dog DNA tests—backed by WISDOM HEALTH™ scientific research—can help pet parents plan better, care smarter, and love longer. For more than a decade, Wisdom Health™ scientific research has contributed to state-of-the-art genetic tests for companion animals, revolutionizing personalized pet care. By unlocking the secrets of their dog or cat's DNA, pet parents and veterinarians can work together to tailor wellness programs that fit the one-of-a-kind needs of their pets. More than 7,000 veterinarians worldwide recommend and offer Wisdom Panel™ products. For more information, visit, and follow the Wisdom Panel™ brand on Facebook and Instagram.

About Kinship

Advances in science, technology, health, and nutrition offer an opportunity to transform the $100B+ pet care industry. With industry-leading data and analytics capabilities, a $100M venture fund and pioneering startup accelerator program, a unique set of technology businesses like Whistle Labs and Wisdom Health Genetics, Kinship is building the first-of-its-kind coalition of partners to transform the future of pet care. Kinship is a business division of Mars Petcare, a global leader in pet health, nutrition, and services, dedicated to one purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS. Follow @Kinshipco to learn more.

About Mars Petcare

Part of Mars, Incorporated—a family-owned business with more than a century of history-making diverse products and offering services for people and the pets people love—the 85,000 Associates across 50+ countries in Mars Petcare are dedicated to one purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS. With 85 years of experience, our portfolio of almost 50 brands serves the health and nutrition needs of the world’s pets—including brands PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, ROYAL CANIN®, NUTRO™, GREENIES™, SHEBA®, CESAR®, IAMS™, and EUKANUBA™, as well as the Waltham Petcare Science Institute, which has advanced research in the nutrition and health of pets for over 50 years. Mars Petcare is also a leading veterinary health provider through an international network of over 2,000 pet hospitals and diagnostic services including BANFIELD™, BLUEPEARL™, VCA™, Linnaeus, AniCura, and Antech. We’re also active in innovation and technology for pets, with Wisdom Panel™ genetic health screening and DNA testing for dogs, the WHISTLE™ GPS dog tracker, LEAP VENTURE STUDIO accelerator, and COMPANION FUND programs that drive innovation and disruption in the pet care industry. As a family business guided by our principles, we are privileged with the flexibility to fight for what we believe in—and we choose to fight for our purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS.


Lesley Albert


Lesley Albert