The people of America have a vast number of pets. Ranging from solitary dogs and cats owned by apartment dwellers to the large number of outdoor pets found in rural areas, there are over 78 million dogs and over 86 million cats in American households.
In addition, a large number of exotic and large pets, such as reptiles, birds and equines are also found in many households.
By determining what states currently have the largest population of pets, individuals interested in becoming a vet tech can enter the field in an area where they will be most likely to find a secure and professionally rewarding job.
This can be especially important for veterinary technicians who desire to work in specific areas for personal or professional reasons.
The States with the Largest Number of Domestic Pets
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) conducts regular surveys in order to determine patterns of pet ownership in the United States.
Currently, the following ten states have the largest percentage of pet owning households in America:
1. Vermont 70.8 percent
2. New Mexico 67.6 percent
3. South Dakota 65.6 percent
4. Oregon 63.6 percent
5. Maine 62.9 percent
6. Washington 62.7 percent
7. Arkansas 62.4 percent
8. West Virginia 62.1 percent
9. Idaho 62 percent
10. Wyoming 61.8 percent
This includes both dog and cat ownership, and in many cases, households with exotic pets such as reptiles, birds, or large animals like equines.
Prospective veterinary technicians should note that these states have a wide range of urban and rural settings, so there are many opportunities for vet techs to obtain employment in an area that is to their liking.
Other Considerations: Urban and Rural Pet Ownership
In addition to the total number of pets a state’s residents may own, another consideration is how many of these pets are owned by owners living in urban settings as compared to suburban and rural regions.
In many cases, urban pets tend towards smaller breeds of dogs and cats, or exotic birds and reptiles that are suitable for an apartment or small house. Large animals, such as equines are extremely rare.
Suburban or rural areas, with more space and larger homes, often have a higher percentage of large animal breeds in addition to allowing their animals to spend more time outdoors. In addition, many families have sufficient space to have several animals, increasing their need for effective veterinary care.
Finally, urban, suburban and rural areas will often have different veterinary requirements. In addition to the different types of animals that may be owned, these regions pose different types of health risks to their pets.
For example, a vet tech working in a rural clinic may expect to see more examples of flea or tick infestation, while a vet tech working in an urban setting will likely deal with a higher number of animal injuries that were due to being hit by a vehicle.
In most cases, a vet tech can find clinics or organizations that serve both rural and urban customers, which allows the vet tech to obtain the type of employment that he or she will find most rewarding. This can be especially important for vet techs who have a family, as it will allow them to select an area that best suits their family’s needs.
Using Pet Populations to Determine Career Opportunities
Obviously, those states that have a large number of pets will have a greater demand for professional veterinary care services. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), estimates that the average amount of money a family spends on a cat or dog can range from $600 to $900 annually, and much of this is spent obtaining professional veterinary services.
In addition to the simple number of pet owners, a vet tech seeking to determine the best employment opportunities should consider the demographics of the population he or she is expected to serve. Regions with a large number of families with children will usually have more pets per family, and will often see a concentration in child friendly breeds of dogs and cats.
Conversely, areas that tend to serve an older professional or retired population may find that many pet owners own one pet, which serves as their companion animal.
However, in many cases, these pets are extremely important to the individual and they will be regular patrons of the local veterinary clinic. For this reason, vet techs in these areas will often come to know the clinic’s clients, which can be extremely beneficial in forming a closer relationship with the community.
Bureau of Labor Statistics and Vet Techs
Finally, for those vet techs seeking to obtain more information, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) can be an effective source. While the BLS does not keep statistics on pet ownership, it does keep track of the state and national vet tech employment market. This can help the vet tech determine what states currently are in need of more vet techs, especially if the state also has a large number of pet owners.
Ultimately, becoming a vet tech in a state with a large number of pet owners can be an excellent way to secure a well-compensated and professionally rewarding career as a vet tech.
Whether the vet tech is working in an urban clinic serving a city’s professional workers, or is working in a rural area with farming families, he or she will play a vital role in providing effective veterinary care to America’s beloved companion animals.