Some 43.3 million U.S. households include one or more dogs and 36 million have at least one cat, with the East South Central and West South Central regions more likely to boast dog families and New England and Pacific Coast homes more inclined to share space with felines, according to the AVMA's 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook. Two-thirds of the 50,000 survey respondents see their pets as part of the family, but pet ownership by household has fallen 2.4% since 2006, likely a result of the bad economy, said AVMA spokesman David Kirkpatrick.

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