Dog ownership in Philippines highest in Asia

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star
Dog ownership in Philippines highest in Asia
Owners bring their pets to the city plaza in Dagupan, Pangasinan for free veterinary services on March 26, 2022. The city veterinary office and its partner agencies and groups organized the event in observance of Rabies Awareness Month.
Cesar Ramirez

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has one of the highest dog and cat ownership rates in Asia, and this is seen to drive pet food sales to expand nine percent this year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.

In its latest pet food market brief, the USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service forecasted pet food sales in the Philippines are estimated to grow by nine percent to $434 million this year.

“Product prospects include dry and wet pet food as well as treats and mixers,” it said.

“As pets became more popular household companions, especially during the pandemic, pet ownership and pet food sales have grown immensely over the past five years,” the USDA added.

The report, citing the 2021 Rakuten survey in Asia, said the Philippines ranked the highest in terms of dog ownership at 67 percent and the second highest in cat ownership at 43 percent.

And according to the Pet Food Institute, more than 50 percent of the dog and cat population feed on table scraps, showing a large potential for conversion to dry pet food.

The USDA said it projects sales of dog food, mostly dry, to increase by nine percent this year.

“Economy dry dog food forms the bulk of dog food sales due to the high demand for affordability and convenience,” it said.

Meanwhile, the US agency said cat food – mostly wet type – is estimated to grow by 13 percent this year.

“Mid-priced wet cat food remains the preferred pet food for cats in the Philippines,” it said.

The report also said pet food treats and mixers also present an opportunity.

“Growth in pet food for birds, fishes and small mammals or reptiles remains minimal, averaging $4 million since 2017,” the USDA said.

With one of the highest dog and cat ownership rates in Asia, the US agency said the Philippines presents a growing opportunity for US pet food.

This, as most pure-breed pet owners are found to prefer imported pet food despite more local manufacturers showing interest in tapping the market.

“While people were confined to their homes during the pandemic, dog and cat adoptions increased and pet food consumption grew. Dog and cat food exports from the US reached a record high in 2021 and will continue to increase, though with slower growth in 2023,” the USDA said.

The country imports a majority of dog and cat food from Thailand, the US and Europe.

Pet food from the US dominated the market from 2016 to 2019. In 2021, the Philippines ranked as the ninth largest market for US dog and cat food.

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