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AVMA survey explores pet ownership trends

59 percent of U.S. households cared for an animal in 2016.

AVMA survey explores pet ownership trends

Veterinarians can expect to see a dog-owning client about three times a year and the average cat-owning client 2.4 times a year, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s new Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook.

The statistics, based on a 2016 survey, again confirm what the veterinary industry has long held: that dogs receive more frequent veterinary care than cats do.

Taken into account were the owners of one or more cats or dogs who visited a veterinary clinic. Excluded were millions of pet owners who didn’t seek veterinary care.

The sourcebook, last updated in 2012, also found:

  • 38 percent of U.S. households owned one or more dogs and 25 percent of households had at least one cat.
  • 59 percent of U.S. households owned a pet of some kind, whether a dog, cat, guinea pig, fish, chicken or anything in between.
  • Ownership of specialty or exotic pets grew. More than 13 percent of households owned such an animal, which included fish, ferrets, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, turtles, snakes, lizards, poultry, livestock and amphibians.
  • Live poultry was popular. The 1.1 percent of households that kept poultry as pets in 2016 represented a 23 percent increase in five years.
  • Rural states had the highest pet ownership rates. Wyoming led the way with 72 percent of households owning pets and was following by West Virginia at 71 percent and Nebraska, Vermont and Idaho at 70 percent.
  • The states with the lowest rate of pet-owning households were Rhode Island at 45 percent, South Dakota at 46 percent and New York at 50 percent.

AVMA President John de Jong, DVM, called the survey results “a fascinating look into the world of pets as well as the people and veterinarians who love and care for them.”

“Examining current trends in pet ownership and care provides our members with information they can use to better serve their clients and protect the health and welfare of their pet,” he said.

The sourcebook may be purchased for $1,500 at http://bit.ly/2DInDbM.

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