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Study: Pet Ownership Up, Veterinary Visits Down

SCAUMBURG, Ill. — Single Americans are increasingly turning to pets for love and a sense of family, according to a survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Although its still more common for a pet to be owned by a family, pet ownership by those who’ve never married and those recently separated or divorced was up 16.6% to 54.7% in 2011, compared to just 1.37% growth in pet ownership for families, to 66.4%.

Pet ownership is up especially among people who are divorced, widowed or separated. The group saw a 17.7% increase from 2006 to 2011. Pet ownership by single men was also on the rise — up 27.7% during that time period.

Read more: Retailers Get Pet Smart

While more singles are adopting animals, one in four pet owners is neglecting their pet’s veterinary care. In 2011, 25.5% of pet owning households didn’t visit the veterinarian at all, according to the AVMA, which was an increase of 14.3% from 2006 to 2011. This reduction in care suggests that more animals are going without annual examinations and treatments to prevent common health problems.

“It’s interesting to see that more and more single people are discovering the comfort and satisfaction that owning a pet can offer,” said Dr. Douglas Aspros, president of the AVMA, in a statement. “Unfortunately, despite these positive trends, people aren’t bringing their pets into the veterinarian as often as they should.”

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