Nebraskans love their pets, but the state isn't exactly going to the dogs.

Nebraska ranks No. 46 among states in pet ownership, according to a survey released Wednesday by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

In Nebraska, 51.3 percent of households owned pets in 2011. In Iowa, 53.6 percent owned pets, ranking the state 39th.

The survey is conducted by the veterinary group every five years and includes a breakdown of pet ownership by state.

Nationally, 56 percent of households own a pet, according to the report. Vermont has the highest percentage of pet households, with 70.8 percent. Massachusetts was last on the list, with 50.4 percent of households owning pets.

About 364,000 households owned pets in Nebraska in 2011, while 654,000 households owned pets in Iowa.

Over the last five years, the number of households with dogs declined 22 percent in Nebraska, according to the report.

Nationally, the report showed that pet owners took their pets to the veterinarian's office less often. The trend showed up for both dogs and cats, but was most pronounced with felines.

About 55 percent of cat owners took their pets in for a visit in 2011, down from about 68 percent who made trips to see a veterinarian in 2006, according to the survey.

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