How many stray animals does Canada have? This is a statistic that I haven’t been able to find in any online resources. So, let’s do some math…many US animal agencies (ASPCA, PETA) reports that there are an estimated 70 million homeless pets in the USA, with between 200-600 million worldwide. Although they all just seem to reference each others reports, I can not find a source for these estimates. But anyways back to Canada and the math – if the USA has 70 million homeless pets with 332 million population – it would be reasonable to estimate that Canada has about 8 million homeless pets (70/332×38 is the equation for you math lovers).
How many animal shelters does Canada have? According to the 2020 Animal Shelter Statistics report from Humane Canada – Canada has 174 animal shelters operated by humane societies and SPCA’s. With the majority being in Ontario and British Columbia. Sadly, Quebec seems under-represented being the second largest populated province.
This number of 174 provided by Humane Canada does not include: other establishments that also shelter homeless animals, such as individual private shelters, rescue and foster groups, and municipal animal services – so the actual number of shelters could be much higher.
How many animals did Canadian shelters take in? Again looking to the 2020 Animal Shelter Statistics report from Humane Canada – in their survey of the 174 shelters, only 83 shelters responded (48% response rate) the number of animals those 83 shelters reported as intake was 79,032 pets (20,239 dogs and 58,793 cats) It is unknown if Humane Canada asked for intake numbers on animals other than dogs and cats or if the shelters reported only dogs and cats. I can not find the complete data from the survey; Human Canada may not have published it. So again, we get to do some math (and you thought math wasn’t useful!) If we assume that the 83 shelters who responded are an average sample of the full 174 shelters – then 79,032 divided by 48% = 164,650 pets estimated (42,165 dogs and 122,485 cats)
Sadly, this is approximately 2% of our estimated homeless pets. This percentage gets further cut down based on the intake sources reported in the Humane Canada report; stray animal intake percentage was 38% for dogs and 48% for cats. Surrendered by owner intakes were 34% for dogs and 35% for cats – almost as much as the stray animal intakes.
This number could be a low estimate as we are uncertain of how many shelters and rescues there are in Canada that actually take in animals.
A few more fun facts
- Various surveys provide a range of pet ownership statistics for Canadians – one reports 55%, one 58% and another reports 73% – either way we are a nation that loves our pets with many people owning more than one pet!
- According to Statista – there are almost 28 million pets in Canada! “The total pet population in Canada reached approximately 27.93 million pets in 2020, which includes pet dogs, cats, fish, small mammals, and pet reptiles. That figure is expected to reach just over 28.5 million pets by 2025.”
- Pet ownership stats published by The Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI) report that there are 7.7 million pet dogs and 8.1 million pet cats in Canada. If we put this together with the Statista info, that is approximately 56% of pets that are dogs and cats – leaving 44% (or 12.1 million pets) that are fish, small mammals and reptiles!
For those of you who don’t know, in my previous career I was a Financial Analyst working in corporate finance – so I am used to crunching numbers and data!
Sorry if this was a little dry for many of you – but it is important information. This post is a follow-up to my blog about Canada restricting the import of commercial dogs
Be responsible pet owners – get your pets spayed or neutered – don’t contribute to the world’s population of homeless animals.
A little information about Humane Canada – from their website:
Humane Canada, (previously known as the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies,) is Canada’s federation of SPCAs and humane societies. We bring together organizations that work with and care for animals to end animal cruelty, improve animal protection and promote the humane treatment of all animals.
If your organization is a shelter or rescue, please consider becoming a member of Humane Canada.