This should not be surprising: We love our pets. What is surprising is just how many people have pets now and how much we love to spend on them. More than 57 percent of Americans have a dog or cat and we’re on track to spend more than $60 billion (!) on our furry family members in 2015.
But do some states love their dogs more than others?
We set out to answer this question using our unique data set of consumer requests for a variety of dog-related services at Thumbtack, ranging from dog walking and dog grooming to even dog massage (yes, that is a thing).
The Pet Pampering Index
We analyzed the data for total requests for 9 dog-related services on Thumbtack in each state, controlling for the number of dog-owning households in that state as measured by the American Veterinary Medical Association. We call the results the Pet Pampering Index. Higher scores for a state mean more pet services requests by owner (0 = the fewest requests per owner and 100 = the most requests).
The results were surprising:
- Massachusetts and Rhode Island love their dogs with a capital L. They are the most pet-loving states of New England.
- Utah, Colorado, and Arizona also love to indulge their dogs, coming in third, fourth, and fifth on our Pet Pampering Index.
- Other states scoring relatively high on the Pet Pampering Index were on the coasts: Connecticut, Florida, Washington, Maryland, and New Hampshire round out our top 10.
- States in the Midwest and South placed far fewer requests per dog owner, giving these states scores towards the bottom of the Pet Pampering Index.
Also of note: Dog owners in some states, like Arkansas and North Dakota, were more likely to focus their energies on more expensive, one-time activities such as training their dogs, while other states, like Colorado, had dog owners requesting more regular, less expensive activities, like dog walking and doggie daycare. Meanwhile, people in Maryland are the most passionate about their pooch’s appearance, with more requests for groomers per dog owner there than any other state in the country.
We put this data into this interactive map to show how much each state pampers it’s pups. The darker the color, the higher the state’s score on the Pet Pampering Index – and a hover box shows how much the average dog owner in that state spent.
How does your state rate on the Pet Pampering Index? Does anything in the Index surprise you? Let us know in the comments.