US States With the Most & Least Pet Owners

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When thinking about where to live, great dog owners most certainly consider their furkids in the big decision. You may want to be surrounded by other dog lovers, like yourself, or be in an area that caters to people with pets in addition to finding a dog-friendly neighborhood.

With that in mind, you might be surprised to learn which states have the most pet owners (YAY!) and which have the least (BOO!) from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation‘s U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook.

According to their survey, there are about 70 million pet dogs living in America, with 63% of dog owners considering their pets to be a member of the family, spending an average of $468 a year for their dog’s veterinary care. (Seems low, right? Yeah, we thought so, too.) It’s interesting to note, however, that on average, people spent more on their dog’s veterinary care than horse owners spent on their horse’s vet care! Seems dog owners have deeper pockets when it comes to the care of our furkids!

But what we found most intriguing was their section which detailed pet ownership rates in each state. Vermont tops the charts with over 70% of its residents owning pets, while Washington D.C. trails behind with just under 22% pet ownership. The AVMA speculates that the type of residences most common in the state are a big factor. With plenty of rural and suburban dwellings, states like Vermont, New Mexico, and Maine are high in the number of household pets, while more urban states like D.C. and New York have fewer furry residents.

Where does your state rank in pet ownership? Check the lists below to see if you and your dog are one of many, or one in a million:

States with the Highest Pet Ownership:

Vermont – 70.8% pet owners
New Mexico – 67.6%
South Dakota – 65.6%
Oregon – 63.6%
Maine – 62.9%
Washington – 62.7%
Arkansas – 62.4%
West Virginia – 62.1%
Idaho – 62%
Wyoming – 61.8%

States with the Lowest Pet Ownership:

Washington D.C. – 21.9% pet owners
Massachusetts – 50.4%
New York – 50.6%
New Jersey – 50.7%
Utah – 51.2%
Nebraska – 51.3%
Illinois – 51.8%
Maryland – 52.3%
California – 52.9%
Minnesota – 53%
Rhode Island – 53%

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When I adopted my shepherd mix, Molly, from a local shelter 12 years ago, I had no idea the impact she would have on my life. Through Molly, I've learned to be more patient, experienced unconditional love, been alerted to the mailman and every squirrel within a block radius of the house, and ingested enough fur to build 3 or 4 more dogs! When I lost Molly to cancer just a few months ago, I adopted Olive, a 13 week old Golden Retriever. Together, we smile at least a hundred times a day!


  1. My home/heart state, Vermont is highest but where I am living now (taking care of my Mom) is Pennsylvania and it’s not on the list. Does that mean it’s in the middle? Not the highest nor the lowest? We have two cats and will be finding a dog in the spring…. :)

  2. $468.00?? Trifexis alone for a year costs $240.00. I know, you can go cheaper but here in SC I think that’s the best way to protect my dog.

  3. I live in Texas and every one I know has pets and we didn’t even make the list I have 4 dogs 1 cat and a snake. My sister has 6 dogs a pig a cat and so many chicken and now 2 ducks

  4. I love my home, but my state being in the top ten isn’t necessarily a good thing. I have to wonder what percentage of dogs in Arkansas are chained up in someone’s yard.

    • I know. My mixed breed terrier/beagle is from Arkansas. He was on the internet in a puppy rescue and they flew him to us 1100 miles away. The lady said he and all the other pups in that area had no chance of a decent life there. He’s our spoiled baby now 6 yrs later. Wish I could have adopted more of them.

  5. Im SOOOO shocked by NY and NJ as I work and live in each state, respectively! I swear I know few people who DONT have pets/dogs 😉

  6. PET owners? Or DOG owners? They’re not the same. I’d like to know the percentage of dog owners per state specifically.

    • I have four dogs, six cats, a snake, a lizard,and a frog. A lot of my friends and acquaintances have several animals. I sure can’t see how Florida didn’t make the list.

  7. I’m embarrassed that My state (Illinois) is so far down on the list.We are friendly and loving people in Il.Maybe it’s because farmers don’t count the many dogs and cats that they have as pets.They consider them working animals.We have dogs and cats,my children and grandchildren are all animal owners.

  8. I would have thought Indiana would be there for some of the most pets. Seems we have a lot of and different pets.

  9. I can understand why Washington DC has a lower pet population Many people (like congressmen do not live there all year long.