Tag Archives: pet owners

What Your Veterinarian Should Tell You Before Tax Day

Tax Day, April 17th, is fast approaching. One of the fiscal perks (maybe the only?) that comes with having children is getting a small tax credit. What about pet owners, many of whom consider their pets to be a part of their family? These furry family members can be expensive as well, with the average pet owner spending around $1,400 in the first year, according to the ASPCA. Good news, pet owners: you may be able to deduct costs related to your pet, as long as he serves another purpose besides providing undying devotion, and you can prove it. Here are 4 pet-related areas that could possibly provide you a deduction.

Business Animals

It’s not easy to claim your pet as a business expense, but if your pet guards your business location, you may be in luck. Dogs that work as a security measure for a business fall into the category of a business animal. That being said, it has to be believable—Chihuahuas probably won’t qualify. Even cats that “work” as rodent control at a business may qualify. Owners of business animals may be able to deduct expenses like food, veterinary care, and training related to the animal’s job. Just make sure you keep records about the animal’s hours and work-related purpose.

Foster Pet Parents

If you foster animals, you may be able to take advantage of tax benefits for charitable contributions. Any expenses you incur caring for foster animals from a qualified nonprofit are deductible as charitable donations, as long as you haven’t already been reimbursed by the nonprofit. The expenses must go toward caring for the animals, such as veterinary care, food, and other necessary supplies. Also, if you volunteer at a shelter or rescue organization, keep track of mileage because this is deductible at 14 cents per mile.

Service Animals

If your pet helps you in a health-related capacity, you’re likely eligible for a tax break. As noted in IRS Publication 502, deductions are available for individuals requiring a guide dog for vision or hearing impairments. Your pet must be trained or certified as treatment for a diagnosed illness or condition (complete with a prescription from your doctor) for the IRS to approve the deduction. Additionally, keep any documentation that shows how your animal was specially trained to help you with your medical condition. If you meet the qualifications, you can get a tax break for training, food, medical care and grooming.

Pet Move Expenses

67% of pet owners recently surveyed by Credit Karma Tax didn’t know that you may be able to deduct the cost of moving your pet. Moving is never fun, and with a pet involved, it can be expensive. Silver lining: pets are legally considered property, so you might be able to include the costs of transporting your pets as another item in your moving expense deduction. If the relocation is job-related, and you meet certain requirement regarding the distance and time of the move, according to IRS Publication 521, you can deduct the cost of shipping your pets to your new home.

QuestionPro Audience has more than 10 niche panels, including our veterinarian panel. Our vet panel is one of a handful in the continental U.S. and consists of more than 40,000 highly engaged, pre-screened veterinarians who provide critical insights. With industry knowledge, innovative tools, and purchasing power, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients.


Inside the Mind of the Millennial Pet Owner

Do you consider your pet to be part of your family? Or even, your “fur child”? Then you’re in good company. It’s no secret that millennials are putting off marriage and starting families later in life, and that may be in part due to their “starter children”. A recent study conducted by Gale found that 44% of millennials see their pets as “practice” for the real thing, with 21% citing that as the main reason for getting a pet, and 23% saying it was at least partially the reason. In an industry that topped $66.75 billion in 2016, millennials own more than 35% of pets in the U.S., according to the American Pet Products Association. Pet brands are realizing this demographic has been largely untapped thus far, and are conducting research to gain insight into the buying habits of the Millennial pet owner. We break it down below.

BRAND INTEGRITY Millennial pet owners are more conscientious when making purchases for their furry loved one than other generations. 86% of millennials prefer to buy items at smaller, locally-owned pet shops, and 73% are willing to splurge on a product if the company shows that they are giving back to the community in some way.  

QUALITY 68% of millennial pet owners report reading the nutrition labels on pet treats and foods. They expect high quality products for their pets, and are willing to pay more for it.  According to a report from Wakefield, 81% of millennials say BPA-free is essential in pet products. Furthermore, 78% say natural or organic materials are crucial, and 77% say the same for hypoallergenic shampoo.

VET GUIDANCE At $15.95 billion, veterinary care was the second largest category, behind pet food ($28.23 billion), of the $66.75 billion Americans spent on pets in 2016. Pet owners in the 18-39 age group are far more likely to depend on their veterinarian for advice about pet products. They are also more likely to use veterinary products and visits preventatively, rather than just treatment.

SPLURGING Studies show that 76% of millennials are more likely to splurge on an item for their pet than they would for themselves, including for expensive treats (44%) or a custom bed (38%). They will purchase discretionary products or services under the guise that they are nondiscretionary. Services such as dog walking or pet daycare are seen as essential, and these owners are more likely to cut something out for themselves than limit their pet.  

QuestionPro Audience has more than 10 niche panels, including our veterinarian panel. Our vet panel is one of a handful in the continental U.S. and consists of more than 40,000 highly engaged, pre-screened veterinarians who provide critical insights. With industry knowledge, innovative tools, and purchasing power, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients.

4 Tech Trends Taking Over the Pet Industry

The way Americans view their pets has changed dramatically in the past two decades. Pets are now looked at as an integral part of our families, and are cared for as such. Currently, 68% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to about 84.6 million homes. The American Pet Products Association (APPA) reports Americans spent $17 billion on their pets in 1994. By 2016, spending nearly quadrupled to $62.75 billion, and by 2020, it is predicted to reach $96 billion in sales. We took a look at four tech trends that are taking the pet world by storm.

VIDEO Companies are leveraging owner’s codependent relationships with their pets. With web cameras, pet owners can watch and communicate with their pets from anywhere, anytime. Petzi took it up a notch and created a camera combined with a treat dispenser, which allows the owner to use their smartphone or computer to release treats to their pet remotely.

HEALTHCARE The U.S. pet insurance industry is growing as more pet owners invest in health insurance for their animals. In 2015, around 1.6 million pets were covered by a health insurance plan, with premiums hitting $774 million, and some companies are even adding it to their optional employee benefits. Pets are living longer due to improvements in medicine, which leads to more elderly animals who need treatment. VetOnDemand is a live streaming service where owners can consult with a veterinarian 24/7.

WEARABLES Wearables aren’t just for fitness junkies anymore. Pet owners are using this technology to monitor their pets’ health. Current offerings can monitor body temperature, heart rate, pH levels, and respiration rate, and send that information to pet owners and veterinarians.  WonderWoof is a bluetooth-enabled bowtie that monitors dogs’ movement. The app also tells the owner if the dog is getting enough exercise based on size, breed, gender and age.

3D PRINTING The basic principle of 3D printing is familiar to most by now; very thin layers of material are sequentially printing, building up a 3D object. Currently, at least 8 Colleges of Veterinary Medicine are incorporating 3D printing technology into their programs, due to the excitement surrounding this cutting-edge technology. From 3D prosthetics, masks to help the recovery process after surgery, and surgical models for teaching, this technology is a cutting-edge tool that many veterinarians have high hopes for in the future.

QuestionPro Audience has more than 10 niche panels, including our veterinarian panel. Our vet panel is one of a handful in the continental U.S. and consists of more than 40,000 highly engaged, pre-screened veterinarians who provide critical insights. With industry knowledge, innovative tools, and purchasing power, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients.

Infographic of the Week: Dogs vs. Cats, The Great Debate

Are you a dog person or cat person? It’s a never ending debate that’s somehow manages to always turn into a heated conversation topic. Dogs and cats are certainly perceived very differently, and we all know cat people think they’re smarter than dog people, and dog lovers feel as if they are more extroverted than those “crazy cat ladies”, but what’s the data behind it all?

Freshpet created a video on the topic, making the rounds and testing which pet is better at being the cutest, being the best third wheel, and excelling at being the best hipster.

As you can see from the video, it’s more than who is smarter or more out-going. Try to answer some of these questions to better help you pick a side:

Do you like puns or impressions? Or if you consider yourself to be “fashion-conscious” or “fashion-challenged”? Take a look at our latest Infographic of the Week to find out which pet correlates to these personality characteristics – you might even be surprised at the results.

Pet Infographic Final Final (3)

So, which is it? Are you dog person or cat person? Let us know with the hashtag #catsvsdogs! And make sure to tag us on your social media!

If you want to stay with us and keep going, check out one of our Slideshares on the topic, and take a look into the amazing world of pets and their owners.

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5 Veterinarian & Pet Health Trends Taking Over

Veterinarian taking sample from kitten's mouth with qtip

What does the future hold? For the veterinarian industry, it means Marmaduke strides in pet healthcare. Everyone wants to be able to keep their furry friends healthy, and with the new trends of the future it is becoming easier and more manageable.

With that in mind, here are five trends that are creating a vast impact in the veterinarian industry:

Holistic Medicine



The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association defines holistic medicine as “treatment that is minimally invasive.” This means the techniques and products used to treat the animal cause less physical stress and typically produce fewer side effects than with traditional drugs.

According to statistic from the National Center for Health Statistics, almost 40% of Americans in 2007 utilized holistic medicine (also referred to as integrative/complementary/alternative medicine).

Holistic medicine’s popularity has sprung from the fact that many pet owners have personal experience with alternative medicine themselves (herbology, acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic, etc.). In turn, they are searching for less invasive ways to treat their pets. Holistic medicine is traditionally a natural, nonintrusive, and often affordable alternative that focuses on preventative treatments—as well as the emotional wellbeing of the patient. For more information on the topic, visit our article Is Holistic Medicine for Pet Care the Next Big Trend?

Pet Insurance



Treatment for pets isn’t cheap, and pet owners don’t mind putting down the money. According to a recent survey by Kroger Co., 61% of pet owners say they’d spend between $100 and $1,000 for life saving medical treatment. Another 15% would be willing to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 for treatment. 10% of owners said they would be willing to pay $3,000 or more for medical care if their pet required it.

Beyond the heroic sentiment, animal health insurance has become increasingly popular in a world of unexpected veterinarian costs and tightening budgets. Several years ago, few companies existed that offer animal health insurance. Now the market is booming. Our internal research found that 97% of pet owners surveyed had personal health insurance, and 60% of those employed animal health insurance for their pets. Pets Best and Petplan were the most popular choices.

Women Veterinarians



Women have come a long way from what once a male-dominated field. The Houston Chronicle reported: “As of 2010, the veterinary profession was about 50% men and 50% women, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.”

Fast forward two years, the percentage of female veterinarian students grew immensely in 2012. Dvm360 noticed this trend when more than 75% of graduates were women, with Tufts University leading the pack with almost 88% of its graduating class represented by female students. The current enrollment in veterinarian medical colleges is approximately 80% female.

Move over boys, the girls are taking over.

Mobile Technology



Nowadays, almost everyone has a smartphone and access to mobile apps, and this is spreading into the animal kingdom.

Mobile technology has facilitated the communication between pet owners and veterinarians. Through numerous mobile apps and automated SMS messages, facilities can transmit patient test results, appointment reminders, and notifications pertaining to new services and/or medications. Clinic techs are even able to perform an x-ray on pets and send it to the veterinarian for a review within just a few minutes.

Other apps that assist pet owners are real-time webcams to ensure the safety of animals (and slippers, too!), pet training programs, and (yes) social media platforms exclusively for pets.

Exotic Pets



There are no sightings of a Baby Groot as of yet, but exotic pets is certainly a trend. For example, in the UK alone:

“The number of monkeys and other primates being kept as pets has soared to an estimated 9,000 animals in England and Wales as rising interest in exotic creatures fuels demand while the internet makes them easier to trade.”

According to the American Pet Products Association, cats and dogs were still king in the pet world in 2013, but already 19.4 million U.S. households owned exotic animals. The term “exotic” is loosely defined, but it commonly refers to reptiles, amphibians, birds, and small mammals. The reasons for owning exotic animals go beyond just being provocative and unusual; they can include being suitable for people with allergies (as with reptiles) or that they require less space than dogs or cats (as with hamsters).

In other words, it’s not just hipster monkey business.

We are still waiting for that flying car and commercial trip to the moon. Yet it’s wonderful to know we are close to a future where a large percentage and variety of animals are treated well and with the best possible care. With the continued support of a maturing and hard-working veterinarian profession, all dogs might possibly be in heaven while on earth.

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Spoiling Spot: Holiday Gifts for Pets

Considering buying a Christmas stocking for your cat/dog? No need to question your sanity, you are far from alone.

The overwhelming majority of pet owners say they treat their dogs and cats like family. Pet owners are projected to spend more than $5.5 billion on pet related gifts this holiday season, which is close to 10 percent of the total amount consumers are projected to spend on their pets.

To gain further insight into such an astounding consumer trend, qSample conducted a survey among more than 350 participants from qSample’s own Pet Owner Panel.

According to the results, 38 percent of respondents plan to spend $21-$50 on their pet this holiday. Nearly 20 percent plan on spending more than $51 on their companion’s gift.

Retailers have certainly taken notice of the increase in spending. With each passing year, owners can choose from more and more pet products and gifts. New trends, highlighted by the American Pet Product Association, include new offerings from retailers that have been focused on human products. Companies like Ralph Lauren (now selling dog sweaters), Omaha Steaks (new steak pet treats), and Paul Mitchell (new pet hygiene products).

The majority of respondents, 37 percent planned to purchase toys and 22 percent will buy a toy that distributes food or treats.  When purchasing food or treats, 37 percent say that the number one factor in their purchasing decision is whether their pet likes the product or not, 28 percent look for organic, all-natural or grain-free options, 13 percent look at brand name as their key determinant and 12 percent consider pricing first.

Most of the survey’s respondents, 49 percent, planned to purchase these gifts at a physical pet specialty store. 19 percent plan to purchase online and 11 percent will purchase from auction sites, veterinary clinics, pet shelters/rescue groups or another venue.

by Connor Duffey