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Veterinary association shares 2023 owner attitude survey results


American Veterinary Medical Association sought to get an in-depth look at pet owners’ perception of veterinary care

Evrymmnt / stock.adobe.com

Evrymmnt / stock.adobe.com

To better gauge owners’ thoughts on the current state of veterinary care in the United States, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) surveyed 1000 pet owners. The online survey, fielded by TRUE Global Intelligence, gathered information from September 8 to 14, 2023 and each participant had to live in the US, be between 18 and 99 years old, and own at least 1 cat or 1 dog.1

Basic information on the pet owners who participated in this survey:

  • 77% own a dog
  • 56% own a cat
  • 10% own a fish
  • 4% own a bird
  • 4% own a turtle, lizard, or snake
  • 2% own a hamster, gerbil, or guinea pig
  • 3% own some other pet

89% of participants have owned a pet or pets in the past, while the other 11% were first-time pet owners.1

The key findings from this survey are as following1:

  • 88% of pet owners believe that having a veterinarian physically examine their pet and talk to them in person is what leads to the best care.
  • 79% of pet owners prefer that a veterinarian oversee their pet’s care.
  • 76% put their pet’s health and safety above all else as a top priority for veterinary care.
  • 72% prefer to meet a veterinarian in person before allowing them to care for their pet.
  • 80% agree it would be dangerous for anyone other than a licensed veterinarian to make recommendations about life-or-death decisions for their pet.

“Pet owners want to feel confident that their animal companions are receiving the highest quality care. This new research shows that pet owners have a clear preference for in-person and veterinarian-led care, which we know is the best option for animal health,” said Rena Carlson, DVM, AVMA president, in an organizational release.2

“The in-person visit and physical examination is the most valuable tool a veterinarian has. It allows them to use sight, sound, touch, and smell to identify potential health issues, supports the collection of diagnostic samples necessary to develop a treatment plan, and helps avoid a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, which can lead to additional animal suffering and more cost for the pet owner.”

Some other results include1:

  • 80% say they expect a veterinarian who they would allow to treat their pet to be personable and friendly.
  • 79% agree they want a licensed veterinarian, not a veterinary technician or midlevel employee, to be in charge of their pet’s care.
  • 76% of owners put “pet’s health and safety” in their top 3 priorities versus only 11% of owners putting “availability of online / telemedicine appointments” in their top 3 priorities.

The AVMA also surveyed current wait times in veterinary care and found that 60% of pet owners waited three days or less to see a veterinarian; 76% waited less than a week. Only 6% waited 3 weeks or more. Additionally, for emergency services, the survey found that 78% of those whose pets needed emergency care received help in 2 hours or less.1

The full results of the survey are available on the AVMA website.


  1. 2023 Pet owner attitude survey: Key findings. American Veterinary Medical Association. November 2023. Accessed January 2, 2024. https://www.avma.org/sites/default/files/2023-11/AVMA-2023-Pet-Owner-Attitude-Survey-For%20Release-20231101.pdf
  2. New AVMA research finds pet owners overwhelmingly prefer veterinarian-led care for their pets. News release. American Veterinary Medical Association. November 7, 2023. Accessed January 2, 2024.
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