According to the survey, conducted in 2012 and based off of numbers from December 31, 2011, the percentage of households that made no trips at all to a veterinarian between 2006 and 2011 rose 8 percent for dog owners and 24 percent for cat owners. In 2011, 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.
“Unfortunately, the report reveals that fewer dogs and cats are seeing the veterinarian regularly, and that’s something that the AVMA and every companion animal veterinarian are concerned about. Pet owners across the country need to remember to bring their pets into the veterinarian â€“ at least once a year â€“ to maintain optimal health,” said says Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, American Veterinary Medical Association president.
Additionally, the survey includes a breakdown of pet ownership by state. The top 10 pet-owning states in the USA 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.
New shelter data casts doubt on whether the pet population and pet ownership are truly growing.
While the pandemic caused unprecedented suffering worldwide in 2020, the disruptions to dogs, cats and other pets adoption numbers may normalize in 2021.