The Pet Illnesses And Injuries Most Frequently Searched in Every U.S. State Based on Google Search Trends

by Kaelee Nelson
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Pet Health Search Trends By U.S. State
When our pets seem unwell, a common first step is to turn to Google. Our study provides insight into the regional search trends of common pet illnesses.

We all know the sinking feeling we get in the pits of our stomachs when we notice something is not quite right with our pets. They can’t articulate the problem, but we can just tell something is wrong, so we turn to the internet to find out what the problem might be.

From parasites like fleas to common injuries like hip dysplasia to general illness symptoms like diarrhea, people all across the U.S. are trying to find some additional information on what might be causing their furry friends’ discomfort.

Whether those Google searches are intended to help you find some peace of mind or gather information before a visit to the vet, it’s something pet owners do every day. In the spirit of that research, Pawlicy Advisor decided to analyze search volume data from Google to find out what parts of the country are searching for different pet illnesses and injuries more often than their neighbors.

Methodology

To find out what different states are searching for more often than others regarding pet illnesses and injuries, the content team at Pawlicy Advisor analyzed Google Trends search data from March 2021 to March 2022. We started with a list of 58 common conditions that affect both cats and dogs. To ensure we were using data directly related to pets and their owners, we added the modifying words ‘cat,’ ‘dog,’ ‘feline,’ and ‘canine’ where appropriate to our keyword searches.

Google gives each searched query a value of 0 to 100 based on how often that term is searched compared to all other searches in an area. It then ranks states based on that proportion to paint a picture of how frequently a term is searched across the country.

We use that metric to compare keyword search interest across both states and search terms. Even though overall search volume may be higher for a certain term, the search interest metric, when compared across each search term, tells us which searches are being conducted more regularly — today — in some states vs others.

A Map of The Most Common Trending Pet Illness or Injury In Every State

A U.S. map showing where pet illnesses and injuries are commonly searched

Our pets can get sick or sustain injuries for any number of reasons. They can also be predisposed to certain health issues based on a variety of factors such as breed, activity level, diet, and even their environment. It’s important to consider all these factors when your pets seem unwell.

  1. Hip dysplasia, for example, is a joint condition to which many dogs have a genetic predisposition. It is typically more severe in larger, active dog breeds such as German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers. These types of breeds are among the most popular in the country, so it’s no surprise that the injury showed up in our research in more than one region, with residents in Alabama and Minnesota searching for it more frequently than those in other states.
  2. Environmental factors also play a role in the well-being of our furry friends. A few examples in our analysis that paint this picture are in Wisconsin and Oklahoma. Blastomycosis, a fungal disease that most commonly infects animals through the respiratory tract and can be found around the Great Lakes, is searched in Wisconsin more regularly than in other states. Oklahoman pet owners, on the other hand, are searching for information on pseudorabies, which is a swine-born illness that infects dogs through contact, inhalation, or ingestion of a contaminated source. Feral swine populations have become a growing concern in Oklahoma.
  3. Other ailments that appeared in our research include kennel cough, which is commonly searched in Montana and Wyoming, and cat ear infections (most often caused by ear mites), which are searched more regularly in Michigan and Ohio. These are highly contagious infections common across the country, typically transmitted via close contact with an infected animal. Keep a close eye on your pets after they’ve spent an extended period of time with other animals, like at a dog park or kennel.

It’s essential to understand the different factors that can impact your cat’s and dog’s health, whether they be genetic, environmental, or something else entirely. While it’s a good idea to inform yourself about potential maladies your pets can face, it’s equally important to get them checked regularly with annual pet wellness exams to give your veterinarian the chance to screen for risks before they become problems.

The Most Common Pet Illnesses and Injuries Trending in the Most States Based on Google Search Trends

A bar chart showing which common pet illnesses and injuries are trending in the most states

In our research of relative regional Google search trends, a few pet illnesses occurred more regularly than others. More people searched for information on diarrhea in dogs, canine kidney disease, and heartworm infection across a larger number of states than any of the other keywords we searched.

Let’s take a look at why that might be the case.

While more of a symptom than an actual illness, dog diarrhea was trending above other pet illnesses, relatively speaking, in five different states. We can’t exactly ask our pets when they do and don’t feel well, so the health of their bowel movements can be used as an indicator of their overall health. Maybe your dog has an upset stomach, or your cat got into some human food they shouldn’t have. Whatever the reason, if you — like the residents of Arizona, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Idaho, and Utah — notice your pet’s having some digestive issues, monitor their condition closely and contact your vet if symptoms worsen.

Kidney problems are an ailment that affects many animals, our furry friends included. It causes enough concern for people that residents of Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Oregon frequently searched about kidney failure in dogs or cats. While signs of serious illness only appear after 75% of kidney function has been lost, you should be aware of any underlying kidney issues to catch them early to avoid kidney failure.

Another pet illness that appeared in our research was heartworm disease in dogs and cats, being commonly searched in a tight geographic area that includes Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Based on information from the Companion Animal Parasite Council, all three of these states are forecasted to be in an area of high prevalence for heartworm in 2022. People from the South seem to be aware of this and are learning what they can on the topic. It is typically spread through mosquito bites.


Closing Thoughts

Our research gave us some insights into the kinds of health issues in cats and dogs pet owners are thinking about regularly. If you’re concerned that your cat or dog isn’t quite acting like themselves and there could be a deeper issue at play, talk to a veterinarian for the best advice.

At Pawlicy Advisor, we know just how much pet parents care about the health and happiness of their four-legged friends. That’s why we built a free tool to help people find pet insurance that fits their specific needs by giving personalized recommendations, comparing top providers side-by-side, and uncovering lifetime savings on pet insurance. See which pet insurance is best for you today.


About the author

Kaelee Nelson

Professional Dog Trainer & Animal Behavioralist - Pawlicy Advisor

Kaelee Nelson is a die-hard dog mom, part-time dog trainer, and ultimate pet enthusiast. She recently rescued a puppy named Zoey who went from the streets of Mexico to the big lights in L.A. after Kaelee helped her become officially studio-trained for production work, with the goal of strengthen her dog's confidence as well as the bond they share. Kaelee remains passionate about pets in her role as Content Marketing Manager by helping owners prepare for the financial burden that often comes with giving our furry BFFs the best care possible. Enrolling Zoey in a pet insurance policy was a no-brainer for Kaelee, as it enabled her to get reimbursed for vet costs like spaying, vaccinations, routine care, and more.

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