Tag Archives: pet owners

Infographic of the Week: The Dr. Doolittle Data On Veterinarians & Pet Care

veterinarian with dog

Market research may not have it’s own Dr. Doolittle to talk to the animals and their needs, but qSample has the next best thing: veterinarian and pet owner panels that can immediately access more than 70,000 respondents, online or mobile.

Veterinarians and pet owners are certainly barking a lot these days about changes in pet care. These include:

The cost of routine and surgical vet visits has risen 47% for dogs and 73% for cats over the past decade.
Pet owners spent about $8 billion on veterinarian care in 2000; by 2013, that figure climbed to more than $14 billion.
– The mean annual professional income of private practice veterinarians rose from around $60,000 in 1995 to over $120,000 in 2009.
– $58.5 billion will be spent in 2014. U.S. pet owners spent $27 billion on animal medication and visits to the vet in 2013.

That’s just scratching the furry surface. Our weekly infographic details more, based on our research in The Rising Cost of Pet care (and what to do about it)

Take care of your pets, your vets, and yourself as the dog days of summer are upon us. And at know you are in reality very close to talking to the animals.

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 All About Veterinarians and Pet Care

Market Researchers Need Empathy to Thrive

Empathy is a declining trait according to Psychology Today: “College students today are approximately 40 percent less empathetic than they were just 10 years ago.” Today’s values involve a lot of quick judgments and little understanding.

Without empathy, marketers would find themselves solely in the domain of quantitative research and rarely connect with their clients or customers. They must continue to search for their audience’s needs and decipher which of those needs is most crucial.

Generally and overall, companies are becoming more empathetic and are making it a priority to create an office culture that reflects their caring attitude. It is common to see “company teams” run marathons, create fundraisers, and sponsor charitable events. This, of course, is a great way to cultivate team empathy needed to do great work for the greater public.

qSample understands this. Our work would not thrive without empathy. We specialize in hard-to-reach audiences, one of them being veterinarians. There are only 100k veterinarians according to AVMA, compared to the almost 1 million physicians in the US. As the trends rise of pet parents, brunch with pups, and organic food for pets, so does the need for veterinarians’ insights. To get a better understanding of our panel—and instead of donating money as in the past—we volunteered for the biggest no-kill-animal rescue shelter in Chicago, PAWs.


It’s not until you are able to talk to the veterinarians, volunteers, and sponsors at PAWs events that you begin to see the tangible importance of the panel. A deeper understanding of what goes on in the pet world came to fruition when we attended their 8k run and their PAWs baseball outing.  We began to see the value veterinarians’ acumen brings to the 80 million dog owners and the 90 million cat owners in the US. With a richer background, understanding of veterinarians, and the pet world, we now know how to cultivate our panel to the best of our ability to help our companions.

Sometimes we are asked, “why do you have a veterinarian panel?” or “what insight would our panel have for companies?” It’s because of empathy and the need to better understand those who cannot tell us how to serve them better.

170 million combined “pet parents” care, and if we can help veterinarians, pet companies and pet owners gain just little bit more insight on how best to serve our animals going forward, we’ve done our job.


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The Rising Cost of Pet Care (and what to do about it)

It is commonly said that everything that rises must come down. Unfortunately, that maxim does not seem to apply to the cost of living. This includes the ballooning rates of veterinarian care.

A recent commentary from the Santa Fe New Mexican relayed fresh statistics on the cost of pet healthcare. These included:

According to a 2011 report by the American Pet Products Association, the cost of routine and surgical vet visits has risen 47 percent for dogs and 73 percent for cats over the past decade.
Pet owners spent about $8 billion on veterinarian care in 2000; by 2013, that figure climbed to more than $14 billion.

The article states that the chief reason was the rise in veterinarian salaries:

According to the Veterinary Medical Association, the mean annual professional income of private practice veterinarians rose from around $60,000 in 1995 to over $120,000 in 2009.

The author explains the reasons for the spike in incomes:

As Veterinary Advantage Magazine explained, between 1965 and 1995, veterinary fees lagged behind inflation. At the same time, student debt for vets grew exponentially. And pet owners began to turn to online pharmacies for medicine.

Furthermore on this issue, the article quotes Rob Foley, co-author of The Angry Vet Blog:

When a veterinarian loses revenue through pharmacy sale losses, they must make up this income by raising other costs like exam fees or diagnostics. The money simply has to come from somewhere.

Perhaps just as ominous, many pet owners aren’t even taking their animals to the clinic. As Human Society President Wayne Pacell was quoted in a Washington Post article:

An estimated 23 million pets in the United States are in homes where the caretakers live at or below the poverty line, and that typically leaves the animals without access to veterinary care. Close to 80 percent of their pets have never seen a veterinarian.

It should be mentioned that this is not close to an epidemic as of yet, as our primary research reveals that in general pet owners are investing in their pets:

More than $55.7 billion was spent on pet products in the U.S. during 2013, and it’s estimated more than $58.5 billion will be spent in 2014. U.S. pet owners spent $27 billion on animal medication and visits to the vet in 2013.

(Our infographic at the end of this post details more information on the amount spent on pets annually.)

It’s no stretch to say that veterinarians are finally gaining appropriate wages, and our primary research shows they work very hard (with 28% working over 50 hours a week and 43% working between 40 to 50 hours a week). But beyond veterinarian costs and product inflation, are there remedies to keeping pet healthcare costs manageable?

Here are some solutions:

Pet Insurance: According to our studies, the majority of surveyed veterinarians report that less than half of their patients are covered by an insurance plan. As an article in Every Day states, pet insurance is a competent cost saving tool for serious pet issues, although it’s not as effective for routine care at veterinarian clinics.

Nonprofit Organizations: Several groups like PAWS (which qSample has supported) offer such treatments as spaying, neutering or vaccines at a fraction of a cost. Others offer reduced pet care to low-income individuals. These solutions are all a matter of a little research depending on the city or town.

Holistic Pet Care: As we’ve presented, holistic pet care is growing in the country. The attitude of preventative care that is a cornerstone of holistic medicine can lower the risk of sickness in animals, thereby potentially decreasing veterinarian visits. It may seem exotic, but holistic medicine for humans was once considered exotic, and it’s now a $34 billion annual industry.

Pet Credit: Organizations like Care Credit offer credit lines for veterinarian pet visits. Their interest rates may be on the high side, though. Beyond that, there are veterinarians that provide a payment plan for their patients. Again, it’s all a matter of asking questions such as in the case of nonprofit organizations.

Go to a Veterinarian: These may seem counterintuitive, but the reality is that preventative care (such as offered by holistic medicine) can go a long way in averting large medical bills in the future.

In the end, it’s important to understand it will never be an easy journey navigating the seas of healthcare costs (for either humans or their pets). However, good knowledge and the right research can make oceans of difference on the wallet. This certainly applies to pets in a culture that sees the esteem of them going up without the possibility of ever going down.

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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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The Amazing World of Pets & their Owners (SlideShare & Infographic)

Dog and cats in a row starting attentively at something unknown

qSample is very proud of our custom online panels, especially our veterinarian and pet-owner sampling. It truly conveys an intimate insight into the amazing world of animals and the love of their (alleged) masters. Furthermore, as a data research firm, we are privy to other statistics and studies of pets and their owners, which not only benefits the market but also educational centers and animal advocates.

Thus, we wanted to share our latest SlideShare, and some insightful infographics hot of the cyber-presses. Please enjoy and hug and save a pet:

Check out our SlideShare complete collection

In a bit different context, here is our infographic from the post Mind Blow Studies About Pets and their Owners:

dog and cat lovers

Last but not leash, let us pay homage to the caring veterinarians who assist in making sure all dogs don’t go to Heaven too soon:

Veterinarian Statistics


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The Good, the Bad & the Ugly of Valentine’s Day Business

The theme to the Love Boat can almost be heard as Valentine’s Day approaches (at least for those of us not millennials). Yet it’s more like a Love Titanic because of the amount consumers will spend to prove their hearts to significant others (and often not spend).

It’s the good, the bad and the ugly of Valentine’s Day business, and feel free to rearrange the titles of each section.


The Good

According to the latest survey from the National Retail Federation, Americans plan to spend a heart-stopping $18.9 billion in 2015—an amount more than all previous years. The average person celebrating the holiday will spend a bit more than $142.

Here is the survey’s breakdown, and it might be wise to take a shot of insulin before reading:

–  53% plan to buy candy ($1.7 billion in sales).
–  21% plan to buy jewelry ($4.8 billion in sales).
–  37% plan to buy flowers ($2.1 billion in sales).
–  35% plan on a special night out ($3.6 billion in sales, spending an average of $87.94 on Valentine’s Day).

Add to that $2 billion spending on clothing and $1.5 billion spending on gift cards, and it’s a wonder the national anthem isn’t a mashup of Lionel Richie’s Hello and Pink Floyd’s Money.



The Bad

The heart wants what the heart wants, and it’s not all humans, it seems. A howling $815 million will be spent on pets. This does not mean only Fido and Felix will get heart-shaped treats, however. An article in the USA Today quotes the American Pet Products Association saying “pet owners have treated even fish, horses and ‘small animals’ to Valentine’s Day gifts.”

The article furthermore states how American businesses are reacting to this peculiarity:

“Seizing the opportunity to capitalize on these love-struck consumers, pet retailers, manufacturers and shelters have rolled out myriad Valentine’s Day-themed promotions that tout everything from adoptions to “be mine”-logoed dog clothing to heart-shaped dog treats.”

In the end, it might be all for naught, as one animal expert in the piece soberly states: “The reality is that your pets don’t know its Valentine’s Day. You’re not going to get grief if you don’t come home with anything.”

For some reason it’s doubtful this would be the case with a spouse…



The Ugly

Perhaps these somber statistics might put on the love breaks, taken from an article in Money Magazine:

–  25% of men spend because they feel obligated or are just trying to get lucky.
–  25% of women buy Valentine’s Day gifts for themselves.
–  200% is the amount increase in the price of roses during the holiday.
–  25% the drop of spending amount from a fiancée to a wife.
–  50% of couples prepare a month ahead for Valentine’s Day, dropping to 33% once they have been together five years or more.

Moreover, there is even a Hating Valentine’s Day movement, for those of you weary of the commercialization of romance (or just finding yourself in the “single” category yet another darn holiday). Useful hashtags for this solidarity of loneliness on Twitter: #AntiValentinesDay, #foreveralone and #singlelife.


The idea that love should be business is not as cynical as it may sound. In his book Conscious Love, Richard Smoley proposes that love has always been commerce from ancient times. Even with the end of arranged marriages to ensure financial security, there has never been such a notion as unconditional love between couples. After all, two individuals uniting in love usually exchange certain conditions to remaining together: fidelity, kindness, friendship, etc. If these conditions (or “payments”) are compromised, a marriage or relationship could well go bankrupt.

As Oscar Wilde said: “Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.”

This might be all academic, though, as nothing is going to stop the Love Titanic in its ecstasy of gold on this Valentine’s Day—not even an iceberg of ungrateful pets, unlucky men on Twitter, or women home alone eating chocolates from heart-shaped boxes.

Valentine's Day Infographic

Mind Blowing Studies About Pets and their Owners

Truth is stranger than fiction, Mark Twain famously said. Truth may certainly be inspirational as well. In fact, studies and statistics reveal that the relationship between pet owners and their animals is both strange and inspirational, beyond any fiction conceived.

Here are some examples, surely the tip of the dog-berg (or cat-berg, if you prefer):

Cat lovers are smarter than dog lovers: This might not surprise Garfield the cat, yet it certainly is a surprising find from a Carrol University study. Perhaps not as surprising, dog lovers tend to be more extroverted and lively, while cat lovers fall into the introvert, nonconformist camp.

This is sure to escalate the dog lover vs cat lover wars, perhaps be the study that launches a 1000 more memes on the internet. However and in the end, the study found that 60% of participants claimed they preferred dogs, with only 11% admitting to prefer cats, and 29% stating they liked both animals equally. When it comes to quality over quantity, though, a qSample study revealed that cat lovers spend an average of $10,000 on their feline in its lifetime, while dog lovers spend $8,000 on Fido during its lifetime.

Pets are just good for your health. This may not include those trying to tame their dragons, but a National Center for Health Research article, combining several research findings, outright summarizes that:

Some research studies have found that people who have a pet have healthier hearts, stay home sick less often, make fewer visits to the doctor, get more exercise, and are less depressed.  Pets may also have a significant impact on allergies, asthma, social support, and social interactions with other people.

The article concedes that more research needs to be done, specifically with what specific animals affect what demographic of their owners. Yet there is no doubt that cat lovers and dog lovers will escalate their war over this after hugging their pets for better health.

Dogs are psychic. Maybe their owners are not that smart, but canines in a famous and in-depth study have been found the ability to double as furry GPSs. To be more specific, the study revealed that 46% of dogs know when their owners are close to being home—mainly by such signs are agitation, barking, or standing by the window/door.  The study even attempted to mask the owners’ arrival by changing arrival times, parking cars further down the street, being as quiet as possible, etc.

Cats also displayed the ability to predict when their owners were coming home, but alas at a much slower rate of 14%.

Dogs can smell disease. Not only can they test your curfew, dogs also act as personal physicians. Data reveals that dogs can sniff cancers of the lung, breast, skin, bladder and prostate—all by picking up on extraordinarily faint scents emitted abnormal cells.

Furthermore, dogs are increasingly utilized to assist individuals with diabetes, as they are able to smell fluctuations in blood sugar. Lastly and just as amazing, research does indicate some dogs can even predict an epileptic seizure 45 minutes before it begins.

As for cats, they just don’t seem to care.

Maybe cats are winning the war, though. There are over 71 million pet owners in the U.S., and statistics do state that a larger percent do own dogs. Nonetheless, the reality is that there are 81,721,000 cats in U.S. households as of 2007, compared with 72,114,000 dogs.  Just over 32% of households owned a cat, and the average cat owner had at least two felines.

In the end, no amount of statistic will matter to pet owners on how victorious their animal is. Their pet is the protagonist of their story, in the strange but inspirational world of pets.


dog and cat lovers
TRuRX case study

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Is Holistic Medicine for Pet Care the Next Big Trend?

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

The trend is growing in an increasingly health-conscious society wading in uncertain times in the healthcare industry. It makes logical sense to wonder if the holistic medicine interest will expand to a society that deeply cares for its pets (a recent survey conducted by qSample, as an example, detailed that pet owners spent $27 billion on animal medication and visits to the veterinarian in 2013).

Holistic medicine would likely be attractive for pets as why it is attractive to their owners: It is a natural, nonintrusive, and often affordable wellness modality that focuses on preventative treatments and the mental/emotional wellbeing of the patient in order to maximize healing. It is mainly a complement to traditional medicine. For both humans and animals it may include such treatments as herbology, acupuncture, massage therapy, and chiropractic.

The interest and research for holistic pet healthcare are only at the alpha stages, though. Onsite statistics from The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Associate reveal it has approximately 808 members in the U.S. This may seem like a healthy number, but one must note that a 2013 American Veterinary Medical Association report placed the number of active veterinarians at 92,000. This puts veterinarians offering holistic medicine at considerably less than one percent! (.8 percent to be exact).

Certainly the AHVMA does not include all holistic veterinarians, as there is no regulatory body, but it is evident that holistic medicine has not translated into the pet healthcare in any impactful manner.

Again, this does not mean that pet owners are lagging in love or funds for their animals. According to a 2014 survey by Kroger Co., 61 percent of pet owners admit they would spend between $100 and $1,000 for life saving medical treatment. Another 15 percent would be willing to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 for treatment. Ten percent of owners said they would be willing to pay $3,000 or more for medical care if their pet required it.

So why the discrepancy? Why have nearly half of Americans embraced holistic medicine, but not done so when it comes to their animals?

These are questions that presently have no answer, only speculation. Yet in marketing where there are murky horizons it often means there is undiscovered fertile territory just waiting to be harvested—with the right research and tools. This is certainly the case with qSample, in this instance, as one of our specialties is managing and developing veterinarian panels.

After all, there was a time when the idea of holistic medicine was mostly alien to consumers, not more than a California dream or an Oprah rerun. Now it is a $34 billion annual industry, and that does not include yoga pants and other accessories!

Even an individual with his or her head lowered in downward dog can see the potential of holistic medicine in pet healthcare.

Veterinarian Statistics

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