Dogs trump cats among the wealthy

By Chris HorymskiConsumer Reports

Let me tell you about the very rich. They own more pets than you or me.

According to a recent survey of investors by the wealth consultancy Spectrem Group, about half of all U.S. millionaires own a pet, about the same percentage as nonmillionaires. (Spectrem defines a millionaire as someone whose net worth exceeds one million dollars, excluding the primary residence).

Continue Reading Below

We all know that a being a millionaire isn’t what it used to be, and for those with a net worth of $5 million or less, pet ownership patterns appear to be similar to the population at large. But when you look at high net worth individuals, they seem to be not only pet owners but pet collectors. Of those with more than $5 million in assets, 29 percent own four or more pets. (We presume all the exotic Indian Ocean sea life in the custom aquarium aren’t counted individually).

Is pet insurance worth the cost?  

Another difference: Those with high net worth are more likely to be dog owners than cat owners. Among those in the $5 million plus club, 74 percent own at least one dog, while only 42 percent own a cat. Otherwise, tastes don’t appear to be more rarefied than the rest of the population. One example: About as many affluent pet owners got their pets from a shelter as they did from a breeder.

—Chris Horymski

Copyright © 2005-2014 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission. Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this site.