When it comes to pet ownership, New Jersey ranks 48th in the nation, with 50.7 percent of households owning a pet.

Dogs and cats.
Flickr user: normanack

That's according to the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook.

The last time the AVMA put together the list in 2006, New Jersey was in the bottom 10 as well.

"It's hard to say exactly why New Jersey ranks toward the bottom. Generally, rural states have more pet ownership on a percentage basis than urban areas," said Dr. Douglas Aspros, President of the AVMA. "After all, it is the Garden State. It's not an urbanized state as a whole, but there are some pretty heavily urbanized and commuter areas within the state. That could be part of the reason."

California, New York, Washington D.C. Also at Bottom

The survey found that the top 10 pet-owning states are Vermont, New Mexico, South Dakota, Oregon, Maine, Washington, Arkansas, West Virginia, Idaho and Wyoming. Those with the lowest percentage of pet-owning households are Rhode Island and Minnesota, both with 53 percent, California, Maryland, Illinois, Nebraska, Utah, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

"Fewer folks in New Jersey own cats than dogs. Only 32 percent of New Jerseyans have dogs compared to 25 percent who have cats," said Aspros. "That compares with Arkansas which tops the list of dog owners at nearly 48 percent and Vermont where 49.5 percent own a cat. If you want a cat, you certainly don't have to move to Vermont to have one. You can stay right where you are in New Jersey and add a pet to your life. In fact, I recommend it."

"This report reveals a tremendous amount of information about pets and their owners across the country, what is constant and what has changed," said Aspros. "One of the most important parameters that we look at is how well pet owners are doing at keeping their pets healthy. 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 need to remember to bring their pets into the veterinarian, at least once a year, to maintain optimal health."


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