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Top 10 Common Pets found in American Households

By Editorial Staff

Millions of families consider their pets as a member of the family. Whether they’re adopted shortly after birth or as adults, a wide range of common house pets give their owners years of unconditional love and companionship. This blog discusses the top 10 most common pets we see in American households. The most common house pets are figured by either the total number of animals owned or the total number of households that own them.

Pets for Keeps

There are over 100,000,000 house pets in the United States. The question now is, “What are common house pets found in an American home?” Here are the top ten most common types –some may surprise you.

10. Snakes and Lizards

Snake as part of the10 Most Common Pets
According to one 2011 study, there are 4.6 million reptile-owning households in the U.S., and about 13 million total owned. Many of these
exotic pets are snakes and lizards. The pets are relatively low maintenance, as in they don’t shed, claw your furniture, wake you up, use the floor as a bathroom or beg. Reptiles appeal to people who have an allergy to furry pets or simply find them exotic, unusual and beautiful.

9. Ferrets

Cute ferret pet
Loved for their hyperactive, inquisitive ways, ferrets are common house pets that frolic in mischief and love human interaction. While owners often keep them in cages so they don’t chew through the carpet when left alone, ferrets need exercise at least twice a day for their physical and mental well-being. Their high metabolism requires about 9 small meals every day, and when they’re not running up the walls, they spend about 18 hours a day sleeping. Avoid getting a ferret if you have small kids, as they can bite and lunge.

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8. Turtles

Turtle is a top most common pet
When well cared for, pet turtles can live for decades, and make fascinating family pets. They require a tank with a water heater, filter and basking area so the costs of creating a turtle home add up, but many owners who grew up with a turtle will tell you they’re well worth it.

7. Rabbits

Pet rabbit in the household
Needless to say, that rabbits make playful, quirky indoor pets. Their life span is between 5- to 10 years. They are happy to be left alone during the day and this makes them a good fit for families that work and attend school. While they don’t crave the physical affection that dogs do, rabbit’s high energy and intelligence make them a joy to train and care for.

6. Hamsters

Hamsters as Top 10 Most Common Pets
Part of the top 10 most common pets are hamsters. Pet hamsters belong to the rodent family, but they’re a practical and cute pet for any age group. Since they only live for 1- to 3 years, parents should prepare their children of the short life span early on. Beyond needing a cage, water, bedding, food and toys, hamsters are simple to care for and relatively inexpensive.

5. Guinea Pigs and Gerbils

Guinea pigs are also household pets
This list of top ten house pets will not be complete without these creatures. Guinea pigs and gerbils and popular with children in grade school because show their happiness with little squeak and they’re low maintenance. The ASPCA recommends holding them in solid-bottomed cages, and keeping the females in separate cages from males, with at least 4 square feet per pig.

4. Birds

Parrot is a basic pet in a home
Birds are the most intelligent types of pets. About 6 million homes care for over 16 million pet birds. Meanwhile, certain bird species, like parakeets, are highly trainable and interactive. While not as cuddly as their four-legged counter-pets, birds are known to grow attached to human owners over time. Also, birds are easy to clean up after and feed.

3. Fish

Fish are pets put in aquariums
A 2011 study found over 11 million fish owning households in the U.S. with close to 160 million fish owned in all. Fish is part of the top 3 most popular pets because they are less harmful and are not hard to maintain. Once you have a tank set up, fish are extremely low maintenance pets. They’re also relaxing and entertaining to watch, and a good alternative for family members with allergies.

2. Dogs

Dogs will always be man's bestfriends
Over 46 million homes own a total of 78.2 million dogs. In fact, they are the most common house pets in the world. Loyal and affectionate, dogs are ideal pets for families, singles and seniors. On paper, they may seem higher maintenance than other pets, but walking and playing with them regularly are healthy activities for the owner as well. Apparently, dogs are fun to train with positive reinforcement and they’ll bring an infectious spirit and silliness into your home.

1. Cats

Cat is on the top common domestic pets
What is the best house pet to have? To date, there are fewer households own cats than dogs, but with 86 million pet cats in the U.S. as of 2011, cats hop on the pedestal as the most common house pet. Known for their independence, cats are lower maintenance and quieter than dogs. They purr when pleased and often disappear when they’re not.

Finally, Cats are typically happy to be left alone for hours at a time. Sometimes, they will turn a cardboard box into the best toy ever, plop their furry bodies down on anything you’re reading and train you to fall asleep while they gently knead your hair into a pillow.

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