Top 10 States with Highest, Lowest Percentage of Pet Owners

PHOTO: Dog at vet's office
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Among residents of the 50 states, Vermonters are more likely to have pets, according to a new survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The AVMA released its U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, revealing which states have the largest number of pet owners and which have the fewest, and spending trends among pet owners.

Thomas McPheron, spokesman for the AVMA, said the survey didn't collect information that might indicate why certain states had higher rates of pet ownership. However, one of the factors may be related to the type of dwellings, such as rural or suburban.

"One clue might be that Washington D.C., which is completely urban, has the absolute lowest pet ownership numbers," McPheron said.

Total veterinary expenditures for all households with pets were estimated to be about $28 billion in 2011. Dogs represented 68.1 percent of total veterinary expenditures; cats, 26.3 percent; birds, 0.5 percent; horses, 2.9 percent; and specialty and exotic pets, 2.1 percent.

The mean veterinary expenditure per household for all pets was $375 in 2011.

Households that considered their dogs or cats to be family members spent more on veterinary expenditures than those that considered their pets to be pets/companions or property.

Among households that considered their pets to be family members, the mean veterinary expenditure for a cat-only household was $114 more than veterinary expenditures for households that considered their cats to be pets/companions. It was $214 more than those that considered their cats to be property.

The AVMA retained Irwin Broh Research to conduct the research for the study. A questionnaire was distributed by email to 222,244 U.S. households.

Across all pet owners that considered their pets to be family members, veterinary expenditures per household were highest among dog-only households ($468), followed by dogs in two-species households ($370) and cats in cat-only households ($284).

Veterinary spending on dogs was higher than that of even horses.

Dog owners spent an average of $378 at the veterinarian in 2011, mostly for physical exams, drugs or medications and 6 percent of dog owners have pet insurance. Some dog owners reported spending money on alternative treatments, like acupuncture, but that was only 1 percent of spending.

The average veterinary expenditure for horses was $373, up close to 4 percent from 2006, mostly for exams, vaccinations and dental cleaning/care, the report said. Cat owners spent $191 for veterinary care in 2011.

Bird owners didn't seem to spend as much on their winged creatures. Almost half of the bird owners surveyed said they never take their bird to the veterinarian for check-ups or preventative care. Those that considered birds to be part of the family visited the veterinarian more often, spending an average of $33, mostly for physical exams, grooming and lab tests.

Here is a list of the 10 states with the highest percentage of pet owners, followed by a list of the states with the lowest percentage:

1.

Vermont

70.8 percent pet owners

2.

New Mexico

67.6 percent pet owners

3.

South Dakota

65.6 pet owners

4.

Oregon

63.6 percent pet owners

5.

Maine

62.9 percent pet owners

6.

Washington

62.7 percent pet owners

7.

Arkansas

62.4 percent pet owners

8.

West Virginia

62.1 percent pet owners

9.

Idaho

62 percent pet owners

10.

Wyoming

61.8 percent pet owners

STATES WITH THE LOWEST PET OWNERSHIP

1.

District of Columbia

21.9 percent pet owners

2.

Massachusetts

50.4 percent pet owners

3.

New York

50.6 percent pet owners

4.

New Jersey

50.7 percent pet owners

5.

Utah

51.2 percent pet owners

6.

Nebraska

51.3 percent pet owners

7.

Illinois

51.8 percent pet owners

8.

Maryland

52.3 percent pet owners

9.

California

52.9 percent pet owners

10.

Minnesota

53 percent pet owners

10.

Rhode Island

53 percent pet owners

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