Veterinarian visits on decline among dog, cat owners

Published on: Feb 7, 2013
The American Veterinary Medical Association’s has found in its recently released U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook that the percentage of households that made no trips at all to a veterinarian between 2006 and 2011 rose 8% for dog owners and 24% for cat owners.

AVMA, which conducts its survey every five years, based its current results off numbers from December 31, 2011.

In 2011, the survey showed that the percentage of dog-owning households made at least one visit to the veterinarian fell 1.7 percent from 2006 to 81 percent in 2011. The percentage of veterinarian visits by cat owners fell 13.5 percent from 2006 to nearly 55 percent of cat owners.

Additionally, the survey included a breakdown of pet ownership by state. The top 10 pet-owning states in the U.S. in 2011 were: Vermont (where 70.8 percent of households owned a pet), New Mexico (67.6 percent), South Dakota (65.6 percent), Oregon (63.6 percent), Maine (62.9 percent), Washington (62.7 percent), Arkansas (62.4 percent), West Virginia  (62.1 percent), Idaho (62 percent) and Wyoming (61.8 percent).

The 10 states in 2011 with the lowest percentage of pet-owning households were: Rhode Island (53 percent), Minnesota (53 percent), California (52.9 percent), Maryland (52.3 percent), Illinois (51.8 percent), Nebraska (51.3 percent), Utah (51.2 percent), New Jersey (50.7 percent), New York (50.6 percent) and Massachusetts (50.4 percent).

The data also revealed Arkansas as the state with the most dog owners, where 47.9 percent of households own a dog, while Illinois was the lowest state for dog ownership with 32.4 percent of households owning a dog. The top cat-owning state in 2011 was Vermont, where 49.5 percent of households owned a cat, while California had the lowest rate of cat ownership at 28.3 percent.