Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine

Pet population systematic review

Freeway on beach


This was the first systematic review published by the CEVM. The aim was to evaluate the methods that have been used for estimating the size of owned cat and dog populations, and assess the biases associated with those methods.

A comprehensive, systematic review was conducted using a range of different search terms for cats, dogs and population. Methods for estimating pet populations were identified and assessed for bias.


Key findings:

• The main biases of the studies included selection bias, non-response bias, measurement bias and biases associated with duration of sampling.
• Careful design and planning of studies is a necessity before executing a study to estimate pet populations.

We would like to acknowledge the pet population steering group for their involvement in this study, notably Dr Vicki Adams.

The results of this work have been published in an open access journal:

Downes MJ, Dean RS, Stavisky JH, Adams VJ, Grindlay DJ, Brennan ML. Methods used to estimate the size of the owned cat and dog population: a systematic review. BMC Vet Res. 2013;9:121.


Contacts: Martin Downes, Marnie Brennan, Rachel Dean, Douglas Grindlay

Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine

School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus
Leicestershire, LE12 5RD

Tel: +44 (0) 115 951 6576
Fax: +44 (0) 115 951 6415
Email: CEVM@nottingham.ac.uk