More than ever, people consider their pets to be members of the family. Unfortunately, according to a new report released by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the love for a family pet doesn't always translate into visits to the veterinarian – visits that can lead to a longer and healthier life.
There were about 70 million pet dogs and 74.1 million pet cats in the United States at the end of 2011, according to the AVMA's recently released 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook. The Sourcebook contains the results of a national survey of more than 50,000 households that was conducted in early 2012. The survey is conducted every five years.
The survey results paint a clear picture that pets have a special place in our homes. About 66 percent of dog owners consider their dogs to be family members, up from 53.5 percent in 2006. More than half of cat owners, or 56.1 percent, consider their cats to be family members, up from 49.4 percent in 2006.
The growth in the human-animal bond, however, isn't always reflective of the care the pets receive. About 7.5 million pet dogs and 20 million pet cats went to the veterinarian only when they were sick, according to the report.
READ FULL ARTICLEby Stacy Fox