Tennessee ranks eighth for dog ownership in the U.S., according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, which recently released itsU.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook.

Slightly more than 44 percent of all households in Tennessee include a dog.

Tennessee was 10th the last time the AVMA put together the sourcebook, with 44.9 percent of households owning a dog. AVMA conducts the survey every five years and alwys includes a breakdown of pet ownership by state. The statistics reflect numbers from the year before the publication, so the most recent numbers are from 2011.

The states in the top 10 for pet ownership are Vermont (70.8 percent), 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 with the lowest percentage of households with pets are 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 District of Columbia had a far lower rate of pet ownership, at 21.9 percent.

The states with the most dog owners in 2011 are Arkansas (47.9 percent), New Mexico (46 percent), Kentucky (45.9 percent), Missouri (45.9 percent), West Virginia (45.8 percent), Mississippi (45.2 percent), Alabama (44.1 percent), Tennessee (44.1 percent), Texas (44 percent) and Oklahoma (43.2 percent).

The bottom 10 for dogs areIllinois (32.4 percent), New Jersey (32.4 percent), Minnesota (31.9 percent), Maryland (30.8 percent), New Hampshire (30.3 percent), Utah (29.4 percent), Rhode Island (29.3 percent), New York (29 percent), Connecticut (28.3 percent) and Massachusetts (23.6 percent). The District of Columbia had far lower dog ownership than any state, with 13.1 percent.

The top 10 states for cats are Vermont (49.5 percent), Maine (46.4 percent), Oregon (40.2 percent), South Dakota (39.1 percent), Washington (39 percent), West Virginia (38.1 percent), Kentucky (36.8 percent), Idaho (34.6 percent), Indiana (34.4 percent) and New Hampshire (34.2 percent).

The bottom 10 states for cats are California (28.3 percent), South Carolina (27.8 percent), Rhode Island (27.6 percent), Alabama (27.4 percent), Florida (27.3 percent), Georgia (27.3 percent), Illinois (26.3 percent), Louisiana (25.9 percent), New Jersey (25.3 percent) and Utah (24.6 percent). The District of Columbia had the lowest rate of cat ownership with 11.6 percent.

“This report reveals a tremendous amount of information about pets and their owners across the country, what’s constant and what has changed. One of the most important parameters that we look at is how well pet owners are doing at keeping their pets healthy,” Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, president of the AVMA, said in a prepared statement. “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-at least once a year-to maintain optimal health.”

The report indicates that between 2006 and 2011 the percentage of households that made no trips at all to the veterinarian increased by 8 percent for dog owners and 24 percent for cat owners. About 81 percent of dog owning households made at least one visit to the veterinarian in 2011, down 1.7 percent from 2006. The decrease for cat owners was much higher, as only 55.1 percent of cat owners made at least one visit to the veterinarian in 2011, down 13.5 percent from 2006.

The U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook is for sale on theAVMA website. For more information about the AVMA or to obtain a copy of the U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, visitwww.avma.org.