People in the Northwest are among the most likely in the nation to have pets. That’s according to a new survey by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. Washington, Oregon and Idaho rank in the top 10 for pet-owning households – with Oregon at No. 4, Washington at No. 6 and Idaho at No. 9.
Tom Meyer is a veterinarian in Vancouver, Wash. and sits on the board of the national vet group. He says it’s not clear why the Northwest ranks so high, though rural states tend to have greater rates of pet ownership than more urban ones.
“We’ve always been very open and conducive to pet ownership,” Meyer says. “Whether it’s been farm dogs or hunting dogs or companion dogs or cats or what have you, I think it’s part of who we are, just in our Western culture.”
Washington, Oregon and Idaho also topped the list specifically for cat ownership.
Meyer says one worrying trend in the survey is that people are taking their animals to the vet less often.
Overall, pet ownership decreased in the U.S. since the last survey in 2006. Families are still more likely to own pets, with dogs being the most popular. But, there was also spike in cat ownership among both men and women who live alone.