Shane Daigle – America’s Most Popular Pets and Why We Love Them!

Dr. Shane Daigle shares some facts about pet ownership in the United States that may surprise you!

Dr. Shane Daigle is a well-respected veterinarian and proud father of two young daughters.

Shane Daigle and his family have two four-legged kiddos, which are also part of the family, “Gauge Christian” is a yellow Labrador Retriever and “Colton Francis” is a “crazy” German Shorthair Pointer.

Shane Daigle is from a very small town in South Louisiana (Vinton, LA., 2200 folks with 2 red lights and a Dairy Queen).  He graduated from LSU in 1995 with a degree in Microbiology and went on to graduate from LSU Veterinary School in 1999. 

After Veterinary school Daigle practiced in a mixed animal practice in Zachary, Louisiana for two years before moving to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. 

In Florida, he practiced at a small animal hospital during the day and worked on the backside of Pompano Park Horse Race track at night. He moved to Central Texas in 2001 and worked for two different veterinarians in Cedar Park and Round Rock. 

It was in 2005 when Dr. Shane Daigle opened his first Veterinary Hospital “Premier Animal Hospital”.  In 2007, Daigle opened Premier Pet Resort and Day Spa which was a 150 puppy and kitty boarding facility.  In 2010, he opened Emergency Pet Care of Round Rock and in 2016-2017 sold each of his businesses.

In December 2017, Dr. Shane Daigle became the very proud owner of Graef Veterinary Hospital in Taylor, Texas serving hundreds of families in Central Texas.

Whether you can’t live without a pet or you’re thinking you’d like to own one, you’re not alone. 

“Having a faithful companion animal by your side will not only relieve pangs of loneliness, it will lower blood pressure, help you to get more exercise, increase social opportunities and even alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety,” explains Daigle.

67% of households own at least one pet. That’s 85 million homes enriched by greetings at the door, wet kisses and unwavering devotion. Not only does that percentage beat the numbers from 40 years ago, it’s growing by the week—and it represents a 20% increase in pet ownership since 1988. 

Why? Animal shelters saw sharp increases in pet adoptions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many shelters were empty for the first time since they’d opened, and veterinarians saw an average increase of 25 new pets per week in March 2020 to 39 new pets per week in July 2020. 

What does that tell us about pets? That we need them in tough times. It also tells us that when we’re lonely, unsure of the future, or depressed, nothing comforts and entertains like a dog, cat, bird or horse.

But which types of pets are most popular, and why? 

Let’s find out.

Cats, Dogs, Birds and Horses…Oh My!

When you think of a companion animal, your mind might turn immediately to a dog. Of the 85 million households that own pets, 63.4 million have at least one dog, making canines the most popular type of pet in the U.S.

Dogs are appealing for their guarding instincts, by-your-side camaraderie, activity and social natures.

Cats are the next most-loved companion animals in America, with 36% of households (42 million) housing an average of two cats. Cat lovers generally enjoy felines’ independent nature and lower cost of care. 

Birds are welcomed into 4.8% of U.S. homes (5.7 million), with each one having an average of 4.5 birds. And just behind that are reptiles in 4.5 million houses (3.8% of all households). Both are low-maintenance options for pets, but still require plenty of care and attention.

And finally, 1.3% of homes keep an average of 4.5 horses. That’s 1.6 million households. 

All of these companion animals come with different health requirements and costs, which can influence your decision about the companion animal that’s best for you.

Average Cost of Owning Each Type of Companion Animal

40% of the cost of maintaining any companion animal is food and treats, followed closely by veterinary care and medical needs at 35.7%. On average, a pet will cost a little more than $1,100 per year.

Where veterinary care is concerned, you can expect to spend $410 for each dog, $182 for each cat, $40 for each bird and $614 for each horse, annually. Of course, these prices vary by region, location and level of care. 

“Most pet owners agree that the cost of sustaining the health of their best friend is a small price to pay in exchange for the fun, devotion and companionship they bring into their lives,” says Dr. Shane Daigle.

Which type of pet is best for you? 


Written by Kristel Staci

Kristel Staci is an entrepreneur and freelance writer that focuses on everything related to social media, online marketing and finance. To see what Kristel is currently working on, you can visit her blog at

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