Tag Archives: veterinarians

What Your Veterinarian Should Tell You Before Tax Day

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

pet owners-millennials

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.

The 5 Most Bizarre Pet Treatments

Dog meditating


According to a recent qSample study, pet owners spend around $27 billion a year on veterinary care and animal medication. The costs are expected only to rise steeply, as veterinary education balloons and online pharmacies force pet stores to increase prices. As we also reported, people are parenting their pets more, part of a growing movement of animal kindness.

Between mounting pet care costs and humanizing our pets, it’s only natural that many pet owners would seek alternative treatments, some traditionally meant for those of us on the allegedly higher rungs of the evolutionary ladder.

Unfortunately, what we tend to get are questionable and bizarre pet medical treatments. Brace yourself for this list, unless you’re one of the guilty:


1. Music Therapy For Pets

The most bizarre pet treatments

This treatment actually makes sense, although it doesn’t mean you should play Adele to your Persian after it fails to mate with the neighborhood tomcat. Preliminary research points to the notion that low, soothing sounds can pacify a pet’s disposition. It’s a matter of getting the sound right, as a dog whistle can do. Humans hear up to 20,000 Hz—while dogs hear up to 45,000 Hz and cats up to 64,000 Hz. This means dogs and cats are sensitive to ultrasounds, something televisions or music players don’t typically emit.

It also means that Kanye West might release his next album on Tidal with higher frequencies to alleviate his $52 billion debt.


2. Psychotherapy For Pets

psychotherapy for pets

Americans spend around $100 billion dealing with emotional issues, while one percent are willing to seek counseling for themselves or a close friend after a crisis. By some fuzzy logic, this must suggest that pets are suffering as well in their relationships, jobs and mommy/daddy issues.

You might say no to pet psychotherapy, but there are already instances of veterinarians prescribing antidepressants for dogs. Fees run indefinitely and range between $300 and $400 a month…and they don’t include a Kanye West album.

Sure, animals like dogs suffer from anxiety separation. However, as most veterinarians agree, this and all disorders always center on the person who is closest to the animal. A simple change in owner behavior is normally what a pet needs to be “sane,” not sharing a couch next to Randy Quaid.


3. Hypnosis for Pets

hypnosis for pets

It helped you or someone you know quit smoking, so why not use hypnotism to get Fido to stop drinking from the toilet? One site, Superdog, claims it can hypnotize dogs so well they won’t break eye contact with you (even without a pork chop taped to your forehead). It claims:

I do this by INDUCING A HYPNOTIC STATE with a dog training method from Europe that uses hypnosis and somnambulism. The method I use to train dogs has been passed down from generation to generation.

It’s real Da Vinci Code/Highlander stuff…

Regardless, as with music therapy and psychotherapy for pets, it comes down to understanding the difference in species and actual context of the treatment. Hypnosis, contrary to popular belief, isn’t a form of mind control but voluntary cognitive behavioral therapy. For animals, therefore, hypnosis would simply mean an intense and personal training. But hey, branding is everything if you want customers.


4. Liposuction for Pets


Liposuction for PetsObesity and fat shaming are predominant issues in American culture. Also, it’s obvious that an overweight pet might not be a healthy pet. To assist with this, some veterinary clinics in Australia now offer pet liposuction at $2000 a pop. While on the topic of vanity, other clinics even offer Botox treatments and even tattoos for pets. If you don’t believe me, believe this:

cat tatoo

As for pet liposuction, two questions: Do you think your pet cares what it looks like? Have you considered diet and exercise changes for your pet instead of sucking its fat in the Land Down Under?


5. Holistic Treatment for Pets


There is nothing wrong with holistic care, especially the branch that focuses on preventative care to reduce potential ailments. We’ve reported on the rise of holistic pet care and the sound work of The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. Holistic pet care is natural, nonintrusive and often more cost effective. Such holistic treatments as chiropractic and acupuncture are gaining acceptance for pets.

The problem, however, is when you put your pets through yoga, meditation and an hour of listening to Deepak Chopra audio books.





The truth is that none of these mentioned treatments aren’t that bizarre—except when marketing and species get turned inside out. A loving yet methodical approach for an abused cat may be considered a form of psychotherapy, just as planting suggestions to an attentive dog could be deemed as a form of hypnosis. Obviously, the problem is when these treatments are utilized in a way that resembles the ending of George Orwell’s Animal Farm: when one can’t tell the difference between the human and the animal sitting at the table.


veterinarian and raptor

Should Veterinarians Be Called Doctors?

Veterinarians shrugging while animals watch him


During an exchange between members of our veterinary panel and some clients, a friendly online discussion started on how to address veterinarians. Are veterinarians doctors? In the traditional sense? What is the traditional sense of a doctor anyway?

As it happens often, the answers were definite, but couched in nuanced context.

First and broadly speaking, a doctorate can be awarded in any field. A lawyer, for example, holds a doctorate; he or she is a juris doctor—a doctor of laws (although some argue that one with a Doctor of Juridical Science should always be called a doctor). An individual with a PhD or some other terminal degree can earn the title of “doctor.” However, outside of medicine and college campuses, “doctor” is rarely used as a title.

The word “doctor” has its roots in the Latin word for “teacher.” The term is originally a religious title from medieval times. A person with a doctorate has been, in essence, instilled with enough knowledge on a particular subject to teach at a collegiate level.

It should be noted that not all doctorates require a thesis—as in the case of physical therapy, law and medicine. Finally, some doctorates are not earned through academic achievement, but by altruistic actions or lifetime accomplishments.

Thus, physicians are doctors of medicine. The same can be said of veterinarians, who hold a DMV (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine). The DMV in the U.S. is the same awarded in many countries including Bangladesh, Canada, Ethiopia, Hungary, Iran and South Korea, Thailand and many more.

The same goes for England—although only recently in 2015—when the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons made a ruling that veterinarians will, for the first time, be allowed to call themselves “Dr.” instead of “Misters.”

In most industries, formality and addressing are key for success. The “doctor” label tends to vary depending on the industry. Calling an attorney a doctor is not necessary and even seen as odd. In the medical industry, physicians are referred to as “doctors,” even if members of the nursing, administrative or pharmaceutical staff hold doctorates (not uncommon). This formality reduces confusion for patients in hospitals. College professors certainly have their own and often idiosyncratic preferences on how to be addressed.

Okay, but what about veterinarians?

The answer is that one most certainly should address veterinarians as doctors in a professional setting. As mentioned, they hold doctorates in a medical field.

As one veterinarian explained:

Veterinarians are doctors in a different field of specialty. In fact, the veterinarian curriculum is more diversified than human medicine because of the amount of different species and physiologies we have to study. Many veterinarians, especially general practitioners, take on many responsibilities as surgeon, pharmacist, diagnostician, radiologist, behaviorist, dentist, orthopedic surgeon … and provide comfort to both patient and owner.

Veterinarians certainly parallel physicians in many ways, as our syndicated studies have shown: The majority work more than 40 hours a week; their education cost and fees have skyrocketed in the last generation; and they regularly work under extreme duress. Both veterinarians and physicians also save many lives and alleviate sickness.

Regardless, now you know that veterinarians are doctors in all senses, as we learned in a research project with our veterinary panel. You also know how to address your veterinarian the next time you’re at the clinic with your pet or pet project.


Vet panel Book 2


Dateless On Valentine’s Day? Science Says Get A Dog And Get Love Quick


Valentine’s Day is around the corner. You’re lonely and alone with no realistic date prospects. Dating website algorithms and magic spells just aren’t working. The rest of the year might be just as depressing. What do you do?

Get a dog.

By Cupid’s bow, get a dog right now!

Science makes it clear that owning a pet makes you more attractive to the opposite sex. These are the findings of a recent joint study by Match.com and PetSmart. The study recruited 1210 single pet owners: 60% women and 40% men, with 72% being dog owners and 42% being cat owners. Participants took a 21-question survey about the influence of pets in their dating lives. The study is titled The Roles of Pet Dogs and Cats in Human Courtship and Dating, published in the research journal Anthrozoos.

Whatever, dude, you might say. How does a dog help me get Ryan Gosling or Kate Upton?

The animal will help you mainly for courting Kate Upton. According to the study, using a pet as an accessory works far better for single men than single women. Women were more likely than men to judge a date based on how that person reacted to their pet—with 553 women and 277 men saying this would make a difference. Why is that? Dr. Hal Herzog explains the reason in an article for Psychology Today:

A cardinal tenet of evolutionary psychology is that women tend to allocate more resources to child rearing, while men devote more time and energy to mating. Thus, the researchers predicted, for example, that women should be more sensitive than men to how their dates treat their own dogs and cats. Men, on the other hand, should be more likely to use their pets to attract sexual partners.

Furthermore, owning a dog is more of a chick magnet than owning a cat. After all, dogs are generally thought to require more attention and care. This attitude plays right into the maternal instincts of women, at least those not already dating Ryan Gosling. Lastly, as people are parenting their pets more, dogs have become a barometer of how the bro might treat future offspring.

We can just take a look at the study, anyway. It blatantly found that cat owners were less likely than dog owners to judge a date based on their response to a pet; or to think a pet says something about the owner’s personality.

None of this information should be that surprising, though, especially to desperate hopefull singles who have tried everything including magic spells. As an obvious example, the study explains that men are more than twice as likely to admit that they’ve already used a pet to lure a potential date. Dogs were far more used in this romantic tactic.

And they should be. Despite what the internet and its memes might say, this is a dog nation. qSample’s research using our proprietary pet owner sample found that 61% of Americans prefer dogs as their preferred pet, with only 11% favoring cats. No information yet on golf players and Krakens, but that will come.

Alright, you’ve read enough, single peeps. Borrow a dog from your sister—and then storm the park regardless of the weather. Photoshop pictures of you and Beethoven—and then upload them to your Facebook profile. Put on a Cesar Millan costume—and then roller blade with a pack of pit bulls to the nearest Victoria’s Secrets store (and finally to the hospital, perhaps).

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and who let the dogs out will let the love in.


As a bonus, please enjoy our Why We Fall In Love infographic, which gets more into the purely human science of the heart.

Valentines Day Infographic

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Top 10 qSample Blog Posts of 2015


January is the month of awards shows, football playoffs and navigating Jack Frost. For businesses, January is commonly the month of recapping the previous quarters and auguring the new year. We’ve scribed our crystal ball at qSample when it comes to market survey methodology trends; but please allow us to present our top articles of 2015. None of these may get an Oscar—unless Steve Harvey replaces Chris Rock as the host of the Academy Awards—but you might find some actionable marketing insights in your Mad Max research adventures.

Survey says!

  1. Advantages and Disadvantages of Mobile Surveys

Mobile Surveys Advantages and disavantages featuredBeing transparent is an integral part of any firm wishing to survive in the panoptic internet era. The same goes for being mobile. The article proffered the perils and opportunities of mobile surveys. From smartphones to tablets, from GPS benefits to millennial tendencies, we covered ample data real estate before marketers consider mobile survey for research. With estimates having mobile surveys nearing 50% in 2016, these findings should not be ignored.


  1. Boosting Response Rates: Crafting the Perfect Survey Invitation Email

mail-reply-allEveryone wants that magic bullet for a clickable email subject line. This article provides that within the context of how to write a survey invitation email. It’s not a short piece, fortunately, providing specific examples and expert insights into getting noticed in a world that sends and receives approximately 108 billion emails a day.


  1. The Dark Side of Social Media Just Got Darker

Woman despondent while looking at social media on smartphoneSure, this is the golden age of the internet, but light must cast shadow throughout the cosmos of cat memes and listicles. This content provides the latest research on the negative effects of being constantly plugged into social media—from emotional addiction to mental fragmentation. Some of the alarming findings employ qSample’s primary research—like the disturbing reality social media users earn less than those who mainly socialize in meatspace. The post also offers solutions to the dangers of hyperconnectivity.


  1. The 5 Best Books on Market Research

Five books on market researchOutside of academic tomes, few bona fide market research books can be found online or otherwise. That’s one reason this evergreen post remains popular. We deal with market research from historical, theoretical and actionable perspectives, hoping it has made marketers better because by this. If not, we also presented The 7 Best Market Research Podcasts.


  1. The Pros and Cons of Surveys

????????????Another article on the significance of transparency. However, it doesn’t exactly show the negatives aspects of online surveys, but more like what best practices to conduct when involved in internet quantitative projects. Let’s face it: it’s a competitive industry with a glut of online surveys (some statistics have survey participations rates at a paltry two percent). This kind of information is vital for market research in 2016.


  1. The Growing Idealism of Ivy League Graduates

Group of executives under a glowing Ivy League BannerqSample has worked with many great universities on many great projects, the Ivy League members being a meaningful one. In data we trust, as we say here, and the data led to the reality that Ivy League Graduates are as altruistic as they are holistic. With a median household income of over $190,000 and a median net worth of $900,000, marketers should always pay heed to Ivy League graduates as they do Millennials and Baby Boomers.


  1. Mind Blowing Studies About Pets and their Owners

Mind blowing studies about pets and their ownersWe cherish our pet owner and veterinary proprietary panels, almost as much as the world cherishes their pets. The article throws it all together for intriguing insights into the world of pets and their owners. We even afford an infographic with Garfield and Odie as your hosts.



  1. The Man Who Predicted the Internet & Today’s Media Landscape 

Man's eye before digital, amber numbers cascadingNo, it wasn’t David Bowie or Alan Rickman, as much as we miss them. It was a Canadian academic who during the 60s was a genuine hippy celebrity in the same vein as Joseph Campbell or Andy Warhol. This individual’s pioneering research prophesized our current digital world with scholastic and philosophical accuracy. He also coined the terms “surfing” (in the context of media) and “Global Village.” Click and find out who this cat was, and no, it wasn’t Glen Fry either.


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

Untitled Banner (1)The perennial confrontation between two popular pets is more gripping than that of Aliens versus Predators or Brady versus Manning. Not only did we present a nice visual, but a SlideShare was included to maximize a very important debate. On what side you find yourself on might depend on what’s in your market research wallet.

  1. 20 Overused Marketing Terms that Need to Go 

Frustrated man hitting screen because of so many overused marketing buzzwordsIt’s hard not to get caught up in buzzwords, especially if they make us look good during meetings, conferences or blog posts. Marketers tend to take these terms to dizzying heights, and it gets annoying. The piece offers warnings for those who would “leverage” too many seemingly “robust” words in their efforts to “partner” with their clients for sales. Just stop it.




qSample is proud of its content, but only satisfied if it serves our readers and clients. This list hopefully does just this and more. We shall continue to bring you even better content in 2016, even as we “leverage” more transparency and market research insights. And win Miss Universe along the way…


infographic with a list of market research trends in squares

Why Are Veterinarians Not Embracing Mobile Devices?

Veterinarian holding iPad besides two curious horses


Technological advances in medicine continue at a seemingly breakneck speed. That would certainly include the veterinary field. For example, laser therapy is now employed in veterinary clinics to neuter pets as well as manage their pain—unheard of a decade ago in any scientific consideration.

Yet being tech-involved doesn’t seem to be the case for veterinarians in their relation to mobile devices. Veterinarians—in both personal and professional respects— appear to have not fully entered the fast-paced yet advantageous stream of the Mobile Era.

For instance, in a recent study conducted by qSample using its proprietary veterinarian panel, we found that only 17% of veterinarians utilize their smartphone as the primary device to surf the internet. That is below the general population (21%, according to statistics from Pew Research).

Here is the complete breakdown when it comes to veterinarians and their principal device for going online:

1. Desktop computer (58%)
2. Laptop computer (18%)
3. Smartphone (17%)
4. Tablet (6%)
5. Other (4%)

Why the lag of veterinarians in using mobile devices?

One reason might be that the Mobile Era hasn’t calibrated itself to the veterinarian industry, as presented in the findings of a Journal of Veterinary and Medical Research study.

The study found that there is “a clear need for the development of mobile apps and devices for veterinary medicine.” It also found a lack of widespread use of mobile devices in the veterinarian profession—even if most veterinarians were open to more usable functions in their in mobile devices.

Moreover, the study showed how medical apps were readily available on the internet for download, while veterinary apps were still behind the proverbial times.

In conclusion, the study stated that when it came to smartphones and veterinarians:

The biggest lack is educating veterinarians about the options available and discovery of more technologies that can be widely used to improve the field.

In other words, between a lack of knowledge of apps from veterinarians and a shortage of apps from providers, a void exists when it comes to veterinary mobile device usage. After all, one of the vital functions of smartphones are apps. Consumers spend 85% of the time on smartphones in apps.

In essence: if you build it, they will come. If more apps are designed for veterinary practices and interests, veterinarians will focus more on mobile devices—which are replacing computers when it comes to spending or researching.

Thus, the opportunity to capitalize on veterinarians as mobile consumers is clear: create mobile apps for veterinarians while at the same time educate them on their utilities.

Veterinarian apps are a relatively wide-open field now, even if there are more than three million apps presently available from Google and Apple alone. Even if veterinarian apps flood the market, this will only spark the veterinarian market to catch up with the rest of the world…at least when it comes to mobile devices and the Mobile Era in general.


veterinarian and raptor


5 Digital Tech Trends Transforming The Pet Industry In 2016

This year promises the continuation of valuable digital technological trends. There will be a new iPhone and there will be a lot of talk about big data. The flying car will probably not arrive nor will the true version of the hoverboard.

Digital technology will certainly benefit the veterinary world. It might even move the veterinarian world up to date with all other worlds. We’ve listed here some of the chief digital veterinarian trends for 2016 and beyond, largely based on the excellent ebook How Digital Technology Is Revolutionizing Animal Health.

Some of the listed trends have been present in some form or another, but this year they fully integrate with both veterinarian practices and pet owners. This happens just in time, as some estimates state that 60% of all pet-care sales will ultimately be facilitated by digital channels, with 20% of sales occurring online by 2018 (versus 10% today).

1. Big Data lands on the veterinary world. Okay, maybe it’s not exactly big data; but the reality is that farmers sit on a lot of data concerning their animals that remains unharnessed to the fullest potential. For example, the ability to efficiently mine and share the effects of hormones or what diseases are affecting pigs in different regions could be a game changer. Companies like Bayer HealthCare Animal have introduced apps that allow farmers and veterinarians to track body conditioning using photos of animals; these apps can then assesses the animals for potential signs of diseases.

2. Communication tools shrink the veterinary world. Even if data is leveraged, communication needs to be nimble in a global market. Connectivity between pet owners and veterinarians will be fully forged as well in 2016. Digital tech like Pet+Pixie fosters seamless communications, promising to streamline the pet health industry long fragmented and paper-based. These tools will enhance everything from the timely delivery of vaccines to sending alarms on emerging illnesses that threaten livestock. Just as important, they can prevent global disease outbreaks.

3. Wearables take foot in the veterinary world. This trend was inevitable, between the reality of microchipped pets and the unreality of such dazzling gadgets like Fitbit and Apple Watch. Pet wearables, along with apps, allow users to monitor such pet health habits as exercise and nutritional intake. Even socialization and playtime can be monitored. Lastly, built-in calendars can transmit alerts for routine care like as vaccines or heartworm prevention.

4. Pet insurance becomes seamless in the veterinary world. Pet insurance has been around for a while, indeed, but it hasn’t exactly been Bo-care (naming it after President Obama’s dog, Bo). In fact, Bo-care has been as cumbersome as Obamacare in many respects. However, 2016 promises to offer the same advanced operations for pet insurance as with human insurance. For example, pet insurer Trupanion allows veterinary hospitals to file claims and be reimbursed directly by the company. Bo knows insurance.

5. Video comes to the veterinary world. Video rules the internet, from entertainment to marketing. By 2018, an estimated 79% of internet traffic will be video content. Why shouldn’t video rule the world of pets? Video will at least modernize the relationship between veterinarians and their clients. Vet On Demand, as an illustration, provides virtual visits between veterinarians and pet owners. Apps like Fetch are interactive, diagnostic tools that bridge the first lines of concern of pet owners.




The digital technologies mentioned should make 2016 a very good year for pet owners, veterinarians and animal producers. And certainly for savvy marketers and entrepreneurs, since the pet industry is currently a $58 billion industry. Maybe the flying car won’t arrive this year, but at this rate pigs will fly.

Vet panel Book

5 Weird Pet Apps That Are Actually Legal

Cat with shocked expression

Apps seem to run our world, or at the very least manage them. There are over 3 million apps available from Google and Apple alone, and these address most consumer needs and certainly desires. No surprisingly, apps also address the needs and desires of consumer pets. Pet owner apps are available to assists in the training, tracking and lifestyle of pets. Some, like the Vet App, connect our very pet’s healthcare to veterinarians and animal hospitals.

Pet apps can be useful as they can be entertaining.

Some are just downright weird, though.

This article is where you’ll find them. Some of these questionable pet apps were actually mentioned in a recent interaction between qSample and our veterinarian panel during an online focus group for a client. Download these at your risk and amusement:


Go Pro Fetch

Go Fetch Pro

Reality television (and possibly the NSA) just went to the dogs.

With a special harness, strap on one of these bad-boy cameras to your dog, and then follow its antics with your mobile device. It’s not exactly James Bond, though. I mean, watching pooch smell the nearest dog’s rear or devour a half-eaten Chipotle burrito by the dumpster isn’t exactly a voyeuristic adventure.


Pooch Selfies

Dog Selfie

A selfie is a standard in the human domains, to the extent it brought about the questionable trope of being a mental disorder. So why not bring them to the canine domains?

This service is so simple it would make Narcissus’ dog happy. A peripheral attaches to a smartphone or tablet, leaving room for front and rear-facing cameras. The Pooch Selfie includes a tennis ball to hold a dog’s attention so you can immortalize him on social media (translation: nobody cares).

If the ball is misplaced, we advice against replacing it with bacon or a treat…


Dog Whistler

Dog Whistler

This iPhone app is taken very seriously by many dog owners—not even considered even that weird—as it has more than over 10 million unique users. And there are many other companies that provide this type of app.

Take control and teach your dog new tricks, or bring about a herd of angry pit bulls to your doorsteps (one of them assuredly with a Go Pro Fetch on its head).

As for cats, there is no app to summon them, but you can always turn on your electric can opener.




Cat and Snapchat meet here, but unfortunately don’t cancel each other out.

Perfect365 is an app that uses face recognition to find facial features. It then applies color tinting to make a person look like he or she is wearing makeup. This type of app or plugin on social media is not uncommon.

However, the rub is that Perfect365 has become very popular with cat owners, as seen by the above pic. Bugs Bunny could have used this app decades ago when running away from Elmer Fudd. These days it’s here to improve you feline’s appearance or get it ready for a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening.

Talk about the app that has launched a thousand more annoying memes.


Game for Cats

Game for Cats

Cats love to chase lasers unless wielded by mutated sea bass from Austin Powers. Now they can do that on a mobile device screen. They can even chase a mouse if that’s their feline predilection.

Does it work? The comment sections seem to indicate the app performs very well with some cats. As with Perfect365, I’m sure it has produced many memes to pollute your Facebook News Feed.


Pet People Meet

Pet People Meet

This is a dating app for pet owners. After all, people bring plenty of unseen baggage to relationships. Some can take the shape of a poorly housetrained greyhound or a person with allergies. Pet People Meet takes care of this type of baggage and unites animal lovers in romance.

For more friendship and less dating, check out DoggyDatez, more of a Meetup.com for pet owners. Buy hey, that won’t stop many men from borrowing their sister’s dogs to get into the scene.




There are more peculiar pet apps out there, I’m sure, but as mentioned there are also more than 3 million to sift through. In the end, what is weird to me (and our veterinarian panel) may not be weird to you. After all, some of these apps made it to our article Pet Owners and Their Smartphone Apps. Never mind that our previous marketing director is now head of the Mental Health Institute in North Korea.

Having said that, Americans will spend close to $60 billion this year on their pets. Thus, the only weirdness is not marketing to this demographic in any way possible.

veterinarians button

Latest Research Makes It Clear: Most Medical Apps Suck

hand holding smartphone with of snake oil adverstisement

One of qSample’s proprietary online panels is physicians. The panel is vetted and continually engaged, and we feel it serves a crucial role in medical research and beyond. We like to think that our work represents that hallowed point where online and medicine meet for significant benefits on society.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem the case for medical apps, according to the latest research. Medical apps have evolved, sure, but most of them just suck.

These findings are a takeaway from an IMS Institute’s mHealth app report: Patient Adoption of mHealth—as highlighted in a recent MedCity News piece.

According to the article:

Of the 165,000 apps from the iOS and Android app stores that claim a connection with healthcare, IMS Institute focused on the ones with more than 1,000 user ratings — 67, 424 and found only 26,864 consumer oriented health apps were applicable.

The majority of these studied apps would be better classified as fitness apps (the percentage is probably growing with this year’s arrival of the Apple Watch). Only 10% were connected to a device or sensor, though.

Sure, medical apps that monitor the holistic wellbeing of individuals can indeed make an impact. Yet the quality of apps, according to the study, is lacking for such health functions as blood pressure or blood glucose (that’s a nicer, more PC way of saying they suck).

According to the data, patients do tend to follow the suggestions of doctors on medical apps—mostly in the fitness and diet areas—but at the core there are intrinsic issues that stifle the effectiveness many medical apps. These include:

Absence of reimbursement by insurance companies
Lack of HIPAA compliance
 Little clinical validation
Inability to connect to electronic health records

The MedCity News article does note the IMS Institute report needs a larger scope. The research focused primarily on app stores and not on medical apps used exclusively between digital healthcare companies and medical providers—such as those that deal with chronic conditions like diabetes management and congestive heart failure.

Not all is suck, though. 135 apps were involved in clinical trials in 2013 compared with 300 in the most recent report.

There is also another issue that must be dealt with—what exactly is a medical app?  In another report, the IMS Institute called into question the standards for medical apps. It claimed that “of the 43,689 apps it studied from the app store, about 20,000 were either not health apps at all or only loosely affiliated with health.”

What a mess! Some apps that try to pass themselves as healthcare-oriented include:

Veterinarian apps
Fashion and beauty (like salons selling their services)
Gimmick apps with no tangible health benefits (an example would be apps that make the user sound sick or demonstrate how he or she would look obese)
Apps that are peripheral to health issues, such as fertility or pregnancy contraction-timing apps
Product presentation apps for sales representatives/retailers in the medical or pharmaceutical industries
Apps intended for members of specific clubs/universities in the healthcare field
Apps that fall into the “New Age” category, dealing mostly with such notions as body energies, yoga regiments or generalized spirituality

Sorry, but apps that use the smartphone light to disintegrate acne or hypnotize you into losing your fear of clowns should not be considered valid medical apps. Neither should the one I use to monitor my dog’s diet, although it certainly serves an important role.

In the end, genuine medical apps include approximately 7,400 designed for healthcare professionals and 16,275 designed for patients. But again, their evolution compared to other fields is rather measured and their value questionable in many respects.

Therefore, it would be prudent to formalize some standard or oversight to the certification and genuine medical apps. As a recent study by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, both physicians and patients widely support the use of data on smartphones and other devices for medical use. However, when it comes to self-diagnosis and privacy, physicians break away and become resistant.

I understand the point of medical professionals and private data, as well as the herculean notion of policing apps in a market inundated with them. There are over 3 million apps available in 2015 from Google and Apple alone. Yet it’s key to find some authenticating framework for medical apps or at least some clarity for both physicians and patients.

The physician panel qSample manages contains more than 80k respondents. As with our other proprietary panels, it took years to build, nurture and maintain for quality data. It took work. I’m sure this can be duplicated in time with medical apps, at least for less suck and more healthy exhaling in the healthcare industry.