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Surprised? Idaho’s dog ownership is highest in US


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Idaho is one of the most pet-friendly places in the country and tops the charts when it comes to dog ownership, a recent study has found.

The American Veterinary Medical Association said in a news release last week that Idaho had the highest percentage of dog ownership in the country at the end of 2016, the most recent year the full dataset is available. The association collects data about “pet ownership and related habits of U.S. pet-owning households.”

In the U.S., 38.4 percent of households have a pet dog. In Idaho, more than half of households have a dog: 58 percent, according to the AVMA. That’s 6 percentage points higher than the next-highest states, Montana and Arkansas.

When it comes to cats, Idahoans are significantly less enthusiastic. Only 33 percent of Idaho households have a cat as a pet. Still, Idaho made the top 10 list for cat ownership, coming in eighth on a roster led by Vermont. Across the country, only a quarter of households own cats.

Overall, that tied Idaho for third place for pet ownership nationwide. Nebraska, Vermont and Idaho had a three-way tie with 70 percent of households owning pets. Wyoming eked out a win with 72 percent of homes including a pet, and West Virginia took second place with 71 percent.

What is it that makes Idaho so pet-friendly? AVMA said its statistics suggest rural states skew more heavily toward pet ownership. Not to mention, Idaho has made national rankings for its dog park offerings. (And another is reportedly on the way.)

Top 5 states for dog ownership, according to AVMA:

  • Idaho, 58%
  • Montana and Arkansas 52%
  • Mississippi, 51%
  • West Virginia, 50%

Top 5 states for cat ownership, according to AVMA:

  • Vermont, 45%
  • Maine, 44%
  • West Virginia and Indiana, 38%
  • New Hampshire, 36%

Top 5 states for pet ownership, according to AVMA:

  • Wyoming, 72%
  • West Virginia, 71%
  • Idaho, Nebraska and Vermont, 70%

This article first appeared in the Idaho Statesman. It is used here with permission.