DETROIT (WWJ) – Some new numbers show that fewer homes have pets. The numbers tell the story: dogs are more popular than cats. But for the first time since 1991, there are fewer people who own either one.

A preview of the 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, to be released this fall, revealed that the percentage of households owning dogs decreased 1.9 percent, while households owning cats declined 6.2 percent. It’s the first decline in dog or cat households since 1991.

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The survey, conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) every five years, reflects the amount of pets at the end of 2011 compared with the amount of pets at the end of 2006.

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.

The AVMA reports the reasons for decline in pet ownership are both economic and demographic — as fewer people live in families, which are more likely to have a pet.

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Ron DeHaven, CEO of AVMA, said when older pets die, people are less likely to replace them, possibly because they can’t afford to. He also said single people, couples without children, and older people are less likely to have an animal companion.

Despite the decline in ownership, the survey shows that dogs are still the most popular pet in America, as 36.5 percent of all households in the United States own a dog, compared to 30.4 percent owning cats.

But cats are still the most common pet, with the total U.S. population hovering right around 74.1 million, compared to 70 million dogs. Cat owners are more likely to own multiple cats – 2.1 per household – compared to dog owners, who average 1.6 dogs per household.

The study also revealed trends in veterinary spending. Of the two most popular pets in America, dog owners were revealed to be more dedicated to providing their beloved pets with appropriate veterinary care. In fact, total veterinary visits for dogs in 2011 increased to 130.4 million, a 9.2 percent increase from 2006. Veterinary visits for cats were down 4.4 percent from 2006 to 2011, when there were 60.5 million visits.

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The amount of money dog owners spent on veterinary care for their pets increased to $19.1 billion in 2011, up 18.6 percent from 2006. Veterinary expenditures for cats remained comparatively flat, rising only 4.2 percent from 2006 to 2011 to $7.4 billion.