Pet Food Trends: Dog Owners in the US

See how dog owner trends in the US are developing

May 17, 2024 –  Here we delve into the dynamic world of dog ownership in the United States, shedding light on the evolving preferences, behaviors, and attitudes of dog owners. Based on extensive research conducted on both a macro and micro level, our findings provide valuable insights into the pet care category and offer a glimpse into the future of pet food trends.

Pet Food Trends: Key Demographics

Dog ownership continues to be a prevalent trend in American households. 42% of Americans own only a dog, while 26% own only a cat. One third of dog or cat owners have both species in their house. Most dog owners only have one dog. The demographic profile of dog owners spans across age groups and genders, with millennials emerging as the most prevalent group. However, low and mid-low-income households make up a significant portion of dog owners, indicating the widespread appeal of dog ownership across socioeconomic backgrounds.

Pet Profiles

Two in five dog owners have adult dogs who are three to six years old. Their dogs are typically normal weight and build, with 11% saying that their dogs are overweight. Over half of dogs are acquired from a friend or family member or shelter.

Pet Food Preferences and Feeding Habits

Pet food trends research indicates that most dog owners buy pet food once a month. Dogs are typically fed twice a day, with store-bought dry food serving as the top choice for dog owners, followed by treats. Wet food is also a common option. Half of dog owners prefer large bags or bulk sizes for convenience. Dry pellets are the preferred texture for dogs, followed by chunks in gravy. Also, pet food trends research shows that poultry and red meat are the most popular ingredients owners feed their dogs. Vegetables/fruits/herbs, animal-based protein, fibers, and grains are the most desired ingredients for dog owners. Pet foods and treats with functional benefits are by far the most desired innovation.

Dog owners are open to trying new brands, although the majority stick to the same brand or switch brands infrequently. Additionally, most pet owners think it’s best for their dog to stick to the same pet food. Dog owners are receptive to changing their pet food brand for health reasons or due to vet recommendations, more so than price incentives.

Dog owners prioritize tailored products that cater to their dogs’ age, size, and breed. Treats are often given to dogs as a means of expressing love and appreciation, with soft and chewy textures being the preferred choices. Multivitamins and supplements, such as probiotics and dental care supplements, are also commonly provided to dogs to ensure their overall well-being.

pet food trends

Pet Owner Attitudes and Behaviors

The majority of dog owners view their pets as part of the family, highlighting the deep emotional bond between humans and their canine companions. Veterinarians are the most trusted source for pet food and diet advice, underscoring the importance of professional guidance in pet care. Health concerns related to dogs’ weight top the list of owner concerns, emphasizing the need for responsible pet ownership and proper nutrition. Dog owners are also concerned about their dog’s skin and hair health, oral health, and allergies.

Dog owners are increasingly seeking functional benefits in pet foods and treats, recognizing the role of nutrition in promoting their pets’ health and well-being. Price and ingredients remain primary attributes influencing product purchases, while complete nutrition, protein content, and age-customized options are highly valued by dog owners.

What’s Next in Pet Food Trends?

Some key takeaways and opportunities for innovation can be identified through our pet food trends research. The strong emotional connection between dog owners and their pets presents a potential marketing opportunity. Brands can leverage the role of pets as family members, creating products that relate to key birthdays, or holiday-specific treats. The prevalence of multiple pet ownership, particularly in households with both dogs and cats, suggests a demand for value-oriented solutions that cater to multi-pet households. Addressing common health concerns, such as weight management and joint health, through innovative pet food formulations can tap into a significant market demand.

Pet food trend research also shows that dog owners are increasingly seeking personalized and functional pet care solutions that align with their pets’ needs and preferences. By understanding these trends and capitalizing on the opportunities for innovation, pet food brands can continue to thrive and meet the demands of discerning dog owners.


This article is based on our report, “Exploring Tomorrow’s Trends for Dog Owners in the US.” If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo.
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