Pet Parents and People who give to Dog Rescue Shelters

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Demographics and Insights - Dog Parents

While we were not able to obtain any relevant data describing the demographic breakdown of pet owners who consider themselves specifically as dog parents, insight from the available research suggests that dog parents are more likely to be Millennials, living in urban areas, have higher income, and childless. These pet parents have a tendency to humanize their dogs, celebrating them in ways that are similar to how they would express love for fellow humans, such as by recognizing birthdays, buying them clothing, or seeking out healthy organic food options.

Helpful findings of the demographic profiles of dog parents in the U.S.

  • According to a scholarly research study by Peter Gray and Shelly Volsche, childless couples have a higher likelihood of identifying as pet parents.
  • A market report by Research and Markets also indicates that the number of unmarried or childless dog owners has steeply increased within the past few years.
  • Additionally, aged parents who have grown-up children are also more likely to identify as pet parents.
  • According to a 2017 report by Consumer affairs, at least three out of five Americans own pets while at 95% of pet owners recognize their pets as members of the family. Experts consider this trend of humanizing pets to be largely fueled by Millennials who tend to delay parenthood, but still want something to share their love.
  • According to a 2017 market report by Research and Markets, the increasing growth in dog ownership is largely driven by Millennials, Baby Boomers, and high-income groups.
  • While 44% of Millennials perceive pets as their starter children, at least 86% of the Millennials view natural pet food as essential for their pets.
  • When compared with rural pet owners, urban pet parents have a higher likelihood of deciding that their pets require special food and are more concerned with whether pet food is natural and/or organic.
  • A 2018 research study found that at least 40% of dog owners had gotten their pet dogs a birthday cake. The study suggests that half of the women who are pet owners would rather "spend their Friday night with their pets than their partners".


We began our research to determine the typical demographics of people in the United States that consider themselves dog parents, and what lengths do they go to celebrate and love their dogs by searching for research studies that target "dog parents" and describe their demographics. Although this search did not identify the specific demographic breakdown, we were able to find several scholarly studies describe a correlation between identifying as a dog parent and being childless.

Next, we searched databases such as Effie, MMA Mobile Case Studies, WARC and Snipp for marketing case studies and white papers that detail trends in "dog parents" specifically, as well as "pet parents" more broadly. This search suggested that Millennials are a large part of what is fueling the "parenting" approach to pet ownership, but these sources did not contain more specific demographics.

After that, we turned to industry-related news and marketing sites. These sources pointed to a key authoritative marketing report likely to contain some requested information but that report is behind a paywall. However, several of these news sites cited facts from this report, and well as other marketing research results, that were relevant to the CQ.

Since more specific demographics were not available, we focused on providing demographics and insight behind the pet parenting/humanization of pets trend with a focus on dog ownership as much as possible.

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Demographics and Insights - People Who Give To Animal/Dog Rescues

The demographics of animal welfare donors and donors in general in the United States suggest that animal rescue or dog rescue donors in the country are likely Gen Zers or Gen Xers, female, affluent, educated, and married (in the case of Gen Xers). They likely give a few hundred dollars per year to animal welfare. There are no clear indications, however, of how many times a year they give to animal welfare causes.




  • Female donors are more inclined than male donors to have donated to animal-related causes.
  • Twenty-two percent of female donors have donated to animal-related causes, while only 10% of male donors have done so.


  • Angels Among Us Pet Rescue, a non-profit organization in Atlanta, Georgia, receives an average donation of less than $40.
  • Animal welfare giving was at $216 per donor per year in 2015.




  • People with at least a bachelor's degree are 1.5 times more likely than those without to give to charity.



  • Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Idaho, Oklahoma, Arkansas, North Carolina, Kansas, Texas, South Dakota, Kentucky, and Louisiana are the most generous states. Giving as a percentage of adjusted gross income ranges from 3.3% to 6.6% across these states.
  • Delaware, Alaska, Minnesota, California, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire are the least generous states. Giving as a percentage of adjusted gross income ranges from 1.7% to 2.7% across these states.
  • Salt Lake City, Memphis, Birmingham (Alabama), Atlanta, Nashville, Jacksonville (Florida), Oklahoma City, Dallas-Fort Worth, Charlotte, Virginia Beach, Houston, Indianapolis, Louisville, San Antonio, and Orlando are the most generous cities. Giving as a percentage of adjusted gross income ranges from 3.1% to 5.5% across these cities.
  • Austin, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York, Columbus (Ohio), Seattle, Philadelphia, San Diego, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Buffalo, Boston, San Jose, Providence (Rhose Island), and Hartford are the least generous cities. Giving as a percentage of adjusted gross income ranges from 1.9% to 2.6% across these cities.


  • Gen Zers donate an average of $341 per year to charities. They donate to an average of 4.6 charities.
  • Millennials donate an average of $591 per year to charities. They donate to an average of 3.5 charities.
  • Gen Xers donate an average of $921 per year to charities. They donate to an average of 3.8 charities.
  • Boomers donate an average of $1,061 per year to charities. They donate to an average of 4.2 charities.
  • Matures donate an average of $1.235 per year to charities. They donate to an average of 6.3 charities.
  • Men's average donation is $321, while women's average donation is $227. Regardless of gender, the median donation is $100.


  • Five percent of donors give to charity once or twice in eight years.
  • Twenty-one percent of donors give to charity three to five times in eight years.
  • Seventy percent of donors give to charity six to eight times in eight years.


To find the demographic profile of dog rescue donors in the United States, we first looked for articles, reports, surveys, and academic studies covering Americans and their charitable giving behavior. Secondly, we consulted the databases of charity and non-profit reviewers such as Charity Navigator and GuideStar for information on animal rescue or dog rescue charities. Thirdly, we examined the websites and social media accounts of notable animal rescue organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Advocates of the United States (AAOFUS), and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and attempted to find statistics and information about their donors, website visitors, and social media account followers through tools such as SimilarWeb, SEMRush, and Followerwonk.

While these strategies did not lead us to any demographic data specific to dog rescue, apart from Angels Among Us Pet Rescue's average donation size, they led us to a few reports offering information on animal welfare donors, namely, reports recently published by the Blackbaud Institute, the Charities Aid Foundation, Giving USA, and From these aforementioned sources, we were able to gather information about the typical age and gender of animal welfare donors. Please note that while Followerwonk provides the location and inferred gender of the followers of small Twitter accounts such as that of the AAOFUS, the sample is too small to be reliable and followers do not necessarily equate to donors. There was a report about animal welfare donors that marketing firm TrueSense published in 2015. We normally use only recently published sources in our research, but given the lack of information specific to the topic at hand and the fact that it is the only source in the public domain that provides the average amount donated per year to animal welfare, we decided to include it here. We assume that the demographic profile of animal welfare donors is more or less the same as that of dog rescue donors and that the current average donation is not that far from the 2015 value.

Regarding the rest of the required demographic variables, we could not locate any data particular to animal rescue or pet rescue donors. It appears stakeholders have not published any resource that describes this niche demographic segment in detail. As our last resort, we decided to broaden the research criteria and assume that the demographic profile of donors is indicative, to some extent, of the demographic profile of dog rescue donors. We used this strategy as well to offer more insights into the average donation amount. The number of times donors give to animal rescue or welfare in a year could not be reliably ascertained with the limited information that is available, so we provided insights into how frequent donors donate instead.


From Part 01
  • "Research has found that childless individuals and couples are turning their parenting strategies towards their dogs either in practice for or in lieu of human children (Steiner et al., 2013; Blouin, 2013; Evans & Buerk, 2012; Gray, Volsche, Garcia, & Fisher, 2015). The findings of the current study further support those data given the large number of respondents who do not have children and refer to themselves as their dog’s “parent” or “guardian.”"
  • "Experts say the trend is largely driven by Millennials, who are delaying parenthood but still want something to love and spoil. Research shows Millennials are less likely to be married or living with a partner than those in their age group 50 years ago, but they're much more likely to be pet owners than older generations."
  • "Although dog owners vary widely in their relationships with their dogs, American dog owners are increasingly more involved with their dogs than ever before. This increased devotion has translated into several major trends, including humanization and continued growth in pet-related spending. Dogs — and pets in general — are being used to meet human needs for companionship, friendship and affection as we become more disconnected from each other. (Thank you, technology!) And because dog owners are more likely to anthropomorphize (or humanize) their pets than are cat owners, the relationships between dogs and their humans have been studied more than those of other pet species."