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Editorial: Best friend?

Archie, best friend of the Levy family of Weston, enjoys a romp in the snow. —Heather Pemberton Levy photo

First it was states friendly to business where Connecticut ranked poorly. Then it was states in which it was desirable to retire.

Now the state is being bit by man’s best friend.

It seems hard to believe when you consider all the dog lovers in Weston, but in a survey conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association, Connecticut ranks 49th for pet ownership with 28.3% of households owning a dog.

The survey was based on numbers from Dec. 31, 2011.

Nutmeggers were soundly beaten by Razorbacks as Arkansas recorded 47.9% of households owning a dog, followed by New Mexico, 46%; Kentucky, 45.9%; Missouri, 45.9%; West Virginia, 45.8%; Mississippi, 45.2%; Alabama, 44.1%; Tennessee, 44.1%; Texas, 44%; and Oklahoma, 43.2%

Connecticut managed to beat only Massachusetts where 23.6% of households had a dog. What is it about New England? New Hampshire and Rhode Island were also in the bottom 10, along with Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota, Maryland, Utah, and New York.

The association also released the top and bottom cat-owning states, but Connecticut did not figure in either category, so it is safe to assume we are somewhere in the middle. The state with the most cat lovers is Vermont, where 49.5% of households owned a kitty, and Utah was the most feline-unfriendly with only 24.6% of households with a cat.

Taken altogether, the top pet-owning state is Vermont, where 70.8% of households owned a pet, followed by: New Mexico, 67.6%, South Dakota, 65.6%, Oregon, 63.6%, Maine, 62.9%, Washington, 62.7%, Arkansas, 62.4%, West Virginia, 62.1%, and Wyoming, 61.8%.

The report also shows that no matter where they live, fewer dogs and cats are seeing the veterinarian regularly.

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

Since, for many of us, our pets are much-loved members of our families, let’s remember their health and well-being is important, and a trip to the vet, at least for an annual check-up, is as necessary for them as it is for us.

 

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