I was reading the November 2012 AAHA Trends magazine today and I was a little saddened to find out that the latest AVMA study (done every 5 years) revealed that household pet ownership has decreased 2.5 % over the last 5 years.
Here are the stats; dog ownership has decreased 1.9 %, cats 6.2 % and birds are also down 20.5%.
I wonder how much the poor economy has to blame for this?
The AVMA sourcebook indicates that dogs are still the most popular pet with 36% of U.S. households having a dog and cats in a close second place with 30.4%. As many of us already know, us cat owners usually have more than one (I'm reluctantly holding steady at four, secretly want to be at about 8, not that that indicates a problem does it?). Cats are still the most common pet at 74.1 million and average 2.1 per household (ok maybe 8 is a lot comparatively speaking). Dogs average 1.6 per household (yikes, I'm at 3, I have a tech who has 7), and dogs number 70 million.
Other interesting info in the sourcebook are average veterinary visits for dogs increased to 130.4 million for dogs, which is up 9.2% in 5 years, but down 4.4 %, to 60.5 million visits for cats. Many vets knew that the cat visits were waning and there has been a substantial amount of effort made to try to encourage more cat owners to bring their cats back to the vet. (I guess the efforts need to be revisited and resurrected).
Total spending for veterinary care for dogs has increased 18.6% to 19.1 billion, but remained flat for cats. How do we impress upon cat owners to bring their felines to us in a bad economy? How do we convince them that preventative care is worth the time, stress, and expense?
I suppose the best way I can try is to reiterate how much our pets enrich our lives, and how much value a physical exam and discussion about your pets diet, activity level, and lifestyle are to their longevity. I know that I can't convince everyone, but I hope that with every examination I perform that our patients and clients go out the door with information,advice, and the knowledge that we are here for them every step of their journey from start to finish.