A study to be released in the fall by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) shows pet ownership in the United States has declined over the past five years. What about in your community?
From the AVMA study preview: "Results of the survey indicate a slight decline in household pet ownership over the past five years, down 2.4 percent from 2006 to 2011. This trend includes household ownership of dogs and cats, which were down 1.9 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively. Horse and bird ownership also declined, as household horse ownership dropped 16.7 percent and household bird ownership declined 20.5 percent from 2006 to 2011."
According to a story in USA Today, there are two potential causes for the downturn: " 'It's clearly the economy,' says Karen Felsted of Felsted Veterinary Consultants, in Richardson, Texas. She presented the findings at the vets association's national meeting in San Diego this week. 'The percentage of households that owned at least one pet was down 2.4%.' That's 2.8 million households that became petless. 'It's a significant number,' she says."
It's not just the sluggish economy, though.
"Changing demographics also plays a role, says Stephen Zawistowski, science adviser to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York.
Pet ownership tends to be more common in families that include two parents and children. Single people, couples without children and older people are less likely to have pets. As America moves away from the mom-dad-two-kids household, he says, pet numbers decline."
Talk to local veterinarians in your community - are they seeing fewer pets come into their practices? Has the number of veterinarians in your area declined in the past few years?
Seek out breed clubs in your area - are their membership numbers declining?
As always, talk to your fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter - are they pet owners? Were they once, but not now?
Post a poll on your website - what kind of pet is the most popular in your area - dog, cat, horse, bird? AMVA says dogs are keeping the top spot nationally for most popular pet.