One thing I've learned over the years is that there is no such thing as bad dogs, just bad dog owners.

But which states are home to the best and worst dog owners in America?

To find the States With the Most Responsible Dog OwnersForbes Advisor surveyed 200 dog owners from each state (10,000 total) and got their responses in eight key categories:

  • Vet visits
  • Vaccinations
  • Use of location devices
  • Going for walks
  • Flea/Tick treatments
  • Heartworm treatments
  • Nail trimming
  • Teeth brushing

When the final scores were tabulated, only one state could claim perfection.

Washington grabbed all 100 possible points, easily outdistancing second-place New York by more than 13 points.


  1. Washington
  2. New York
  3. Maryland
  4. Florida
  5. Georgia
  6. Vermont
  7. Texas
  8. New Hampshire
  9. New Jersey
  10. Alaska

So how did dog owners in the Tri-State (South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota) area fare?

There's some good news and some bad news.

On the plus side, South Dakota has the third-best ranking in the annual vet visits category (95%) while Iowa finished in the top 20 among most responsible states (18th overall).

That ranking for the Hawkeye State is a bit surprising considering dog owners there ranked dead last in two categories: weekly teeth brushing (12%) and daily walks (37.5%).

South Dakota and Minnesota weren't a whole lot better when it came to oral hygiene. The North Star State was third-worst (16.5%), one ahead of the Mount Rushmore State (19.5%).

Iowa's best scores came in annual vet visits (86%) and vaccinations (87%), South Dakota also excelled in vaccinations (90.5%), while Minnesota's highest marks came in vet visits (86%) and vaccinations (82%).

Unfortunately, those scores didn't keep Minnesota from landing in the top ten on the least responsible dog owners list - at number seven.


  1. Arizona
  2. Idaho
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Kentucky
  5. New Mexico
  6. Arkansas
  7. Minnesota 
  8. Missouri
  9. Oregon
  10. Nebraska

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To find out the longest-living dog breeds, Stacker examined data from the journal Genetics and American Kennel Club's 2023 breed popularity rankings. 

Gallery Credit: Sophia June

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