Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
When people living outside of Africa picture animals on the continent, lions and elephants are probably the most common visions. While those wild beasts do call Africa home, many countries are also home to many domestic and pet animals.
Kenya, one of the most populous nations on the continent, is among the countries with an emerging pet industry. In this article, we’ll cover 10 statistics about the Kenyan pet industry, including why the region is expected to continue to play a role in the global pet industry boom.
Top 10 Kenya Pet Industry Statistics
- The African pet food market is expected to grow at an average of 4.2% per year between 2020 and 2025.
- In Kenya, pet owners may spend 2,200–3,000 Kenyan shillings (Sh), or roughly $19–$26 on a 5 kg (11 pounds) bag of organic food.
- Ten major companies account for 50% of the pet food market share in Africa, including Kenya.
- There are about 410 veterinarians working in Kenya.
- The average cost of a veterinary office visit in Kenya is Sh500–Sh1,200 (~$4–$10)
- The average cost of a full set of vaccines is about Sh3,500 ($30) for a dog and Sh3,000 ($26) for a cat.
- 99% of human rabies infection in Kenya comes from dogs.
- During the Covid-19 pandemic (2020-2021), the Kenyan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (KSPCA) estimates they were adopting out 60% of the animals in their care per month.
- The most popular working breed in Kenya, the German Shepherd, typically costs Sh100,000–Sh120,000 (~$865–$1,036) from a breeder.
- A study of an urban area of Kenya in 2017 found that 32% of households owned animals.
The Pet Food Market in Kenya
1. The African pet food market is expected to grow at an average of 4.2% per year between 2020 and 2025.
(Research And Markets)
Kenya is one of the most populous countries on the continent. Africa, as a whole, is considered the fastest urbanizing region of the world. This trend toward city living is one factor contributing to increased rates of pet ownership. More disposable income and changing attitudes toward the role of pets in life are other factors. With higher rates of pet ownership has come increased demand for pet food in Africa.
2. In Kenya, pet owners may spend 2,20–3,000 Kenyan shillings (Sh), or roughly $19–$26 on a 5 kg (11 pounds) bag of organic food.
Globally, trends point towards increased demand for premium and organic pet products, including food. Kenya is also displaying signs of this phenomenon. Many pet owners, especially younger ones, are transitioning to think of their pets more like children. Because of this, they don’t hesitate to spend more on organic pet food. However, the industry faces some issues based on the number of people who like to feed homemade food to their dogs.
(Market Data Forecast)
The number one pet food company in the region is Mars, Inc, home to such recognizable brands as Friskies, Royal Canin, Pedigree, and Iams.
As you can see, many of the most well-known dog food brands have a presence in Africa and Kenya. The region is viewed as an emerging market.
The Animal Healthcare Industry in Kenya
4. There are about 410 veterinarians working in Kenya.
(Global Pet Health Report)
Access to veterinarians varies wildly worldwide, based mainly on the number of vets practicing in the country. For example, contrast the 410 Kenyan vets with the 188,909 found in the EU. Kenyan vets, like most in the developing world, tend to focus more on livestock than small animals, although urban areas especially are home to thriving companion pet practices.
5. The average cost of a veterinary office visit in Kenya is Sh500–Sh1,200 (~$4–$10)
The price of the exam will vary based on where you are in the country, for example, in a rural versus urban area. Individual veterinary clinics may have different prices as well. The average Kenyan earns about $641 per month (CEIC) to give you a reference point of how the cost compares.
6. The average cost of a full set of vaccines is about Sh3,500 ($30) for a dog and Sh3,000 ($26) for a cat.
This cost includes the major shots, including rabies, cat flu, parvo, and the distemper combination vaccine. Any boosters would cost an additional Sh1,000 ($9) to Sh3,000 ($26). These prices are reflective of those found in the major city of Nairobi. Prices in other areas of the country could fluctuate higher or lower.
7. 99% of human rabies infection in Kenya comes from dogs.
Vaccinations are even more vital for dogs in Kenya than they are in other parts of the world. Each year about 2,000 people—most of them children—die from the rabies virus. Virtually all of them are infected by a dog bite or scratch. Eliminating rabies is a human health concern in Kenya, not just a dog one. It’s much cheaper to vaccinate dogs against rabies than it is to give humans the full set of post-exposure shots they need. Various public health campaigns are ongoing in Kenya to vaccinate dogs, intending to eliminate the disease by 2030.
Pet Ownership Trends in Kenya
8. During the COVID-19 pandemic (2020–2021), the Kenyan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (KSPCA) estimates they were adopting out 60% of the animals in their care per month.
Before the pandemic, the KSPCA was adopting about 20 to 30 pets per month. Like much of the rest of the world, the lockdowns, working from home, and COVID isolation spurred many Kenyans to adopt a new pet. According to the KSPCA director, more dogs were adopted than cats!
9. The most popular working breed in Kenya, the German Shepherd, typically costs Sh100,000–Sh120,000 (~$865–$1,036) from a breeder.
(Business Daily Rare Breeds)
Although there is growing acceptance of dogs serving as pets only, for years most Kenyan canines were working dogs. As it is in much of the world, the German Shepherd is among the most popular breeds in Kenya. Recent trends show that Kenyans are willing to pay for imported and rare breeds, such as Siberian Huskies, Teacup Pomeranians, Great Danes, and Chows.
10. A study of an urban area of Kenya in 2017 found that 32% of households owned animals.
While this study is slightly older, it helps confirm the trend we still see today of movement toward more urban living in Kenya and how it shapes attitudes towards pets. About 31% of the owned animals were kept as companion pets only. Perhaps more tellingly, 76% of households reporting an owned animal also stated that at least one of said pets slept in the house at night.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Pet Industry in Kenya
Besides Kenya, What Are the Major Pet-Owning Countries in Africa?
Based on their share of the pet food market, South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria rule the roost. These three countries account for 70% of the African pet food market. They also join Kenya on the list of the 7 nations that hold 50% of the population. Many of the dogs imported into Kenya for sale come from Egypt and South Africa as well (Research and Markets).
Are There Animal Welfare Laws in Kenya?
Kenya has several laws relating to animal welfare. The country’s constitution requires the protection of biodiversity and both wild and domestic animals. A further cruelty prevention act was passed in 2012. This act is a more traditional animal welfare law that prohibits such acts as hurting an animal, overworking them, starvation, abandonment, or intentionally poisoning an animal. Cruel training methods and inhumane slaughter of food animals are also forbidden. (KSPCA)
Can I Adopt a Dog from Kenya?
Theoretically yes. However, because Kenya is considered at high-risk for rabies, importing your new pup into the U.S. may be more complicated. Currently, for example, the U.S. is not allowing imports of dogs from high-risk countries due to a noticeable increase in infected animals being denied entry over the past two years. The CDC considers dog rabies eradicated in the U.S. and is hyper-vigilant against any reintroduction of the disease. (CDC)
With the global pet industry booming, new and exciting markets are emerging in previously untapped regions. The Middle East and Africa make up one of those emerging markets and Kenya is a key country in that region. Thanks to a dense population, improving economic outlook, and increasing numbers of people relocating to cities, the Kenyan pet industry is growing. Although public health concerns surrounding rabies remain, the role of domestic animals, especially dogs, is shifting. This shift in attitude is a key factor driving the rise of the pet industry in Kenya.
Featured Image Credit: Dean Drobot, Shutterstock