Archive for the ‘Dog Ownership’ Category

Jun 24, 2022

Happy Take Your Dog To Work Day!

Posted by Bob under Dog Ownership, VetStem

Today is Take Your Dog To Work Day and as most of you know, VetStem has this one down! In fact, every day is Take Your Dog To Work Day at VetStem! We are fortunate to work in a dog friendly office where on any given day, there may be multiple dogs roaming the halls.

We of course love it but there are more benefits beyond all the extra puppy snuggles. According to one study, there is a potential correlation between bringing your dog to work and a reduction in stress levels. Scientists found that people who took their dogs to work reported lower stress throughout the day than employees without pets or those who had pets but didn’t take them to work.

Another study found that 90 percent of employees in pet friendly workplaces feel highly connected to their company’s mission, fully engaged with their work, and willing to recommend their employer to others. Additionally, more than three times as many employees at pet friendly workplaces report a positive working relationship with their boss and co-workers and are more likely to stay with a company long term. Learn more here.

All of that being said, not every work environment can accommodate dogs. So if you’re not able to bring your dog to work, we invite you to live vicariously through us and enjoy these pictures of dogs at the VetStem office:

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May 6, 2022

Responsible Pet Ownership: Celebrating National Pet Week

Posted by Bob under Cat Ownership, Dog Ownership, Pets

This week is National Pet Week. While it technically ends tomorrow, it’s not too late to celebrate your furry companions! National Pet Week was created in 1981 by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Auxiliary to the AVMA. It is celebrated each year during the first full week of May to encourage responsible pet care and to celebrate the bond between pets and their people.

National Pet Week Themes

Smiling woman and her cat at the veterinary clinic, a doctor is examining the pet

Each day of National Pet Week has a specific theme that relates to responsible pet ownership:

  • Sunday: Choose well: Commit for life
  • Monday: Socialize now: New doesn’t have to be scary
  • Tuesday: Nutrition and exercise matter
  • Wednesday: Love your pet? See your vet!
  • Thursday: Travel with care
  • Friday: Emergencies happen: Be prepared
  • Saturday: Plan for their care: Give them a lifetime of love

You can read about each theme and find pet owner resources here.

The Cost of Pet Ownership

While responsible pet care has many facets, one important factor to consider is the financial aspect of owning pets. Recently, it has come to light that many pet owners underestimate the cost of pet ownership. In a survey of 1,200 pet owners and 100 veterinarians, nearly half of the pet owner respondents admitted they had underestimated the lifetime cost of their pet(s). Additionally, approximately half of the pet owners thought they were financially prepared for unexpected pet expenses and realized they were not.

Routine Veterinary Care

Another factor of responsible pet ownership is routine preventative veterinary care. On this blog, we frequently talk about diseases and ailments which may prompt visits to the vet. But routine care is very important to maintaining your pet’s health. Preventative care, such as regular wellness exams and routine tests, can lead to the detection and diagnosis of problems that may otherwise go unnoticed until it is too late. If a problem is detected in its early stages, it is more likely to be treated and resolved with less expense, less difficulty, and better success.

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Apr 8, 2022

The Many Benefits of Walking your Dog

April 6th was National Walking Day. Regular walks can have several health benefits for both people and our dogs! In this blog, we will look at the potential benefits that come with taking your dog on regular walks.

Walking to Improve Joint Health

Walking is a relatively easy and low-impact exercise that has been shown to reduce symptoms related to osteoarthritis. Regular walks can help you lose or maintain weight, thereby causing less stress on the joints. It can also lead to increased muscle mass, which shifts the pressure and weight from your joints to your muscles. In addition, it increases joint fluid circulation which is beneficial to maintaining healthy joint cartilage.

Since 1 in 5 dogs is diagnosed with osteoarthritis, it is important to take care of their joint health from an early age. Like in people, walking can help to reduce the symptoms or delay the onset of osteoarthritis in dogs. And as a low-impact activity, walking puts minimal stress on the body, thereby reducing the risk of injury.

Additional Benefits of Walking

We mentioned above that regular walks can help your dog lose or maintain an ideal weight. While this is of course good for their joints, it is also beneficial to their overall health. Unfortunately, obesity has become a major health issue in pets. Obesity in dogs can lead to several diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and several types of cancer. By helping your dog achieve and maintain an ideal weight, you are potentially helping them live longer.

Additionally, regular walks can help to regulate your dog’s digestive and urinary systems. Routine walks outside can help keep your dog “regular” and prevent constipation while regular emptying of the bladder can help reduce the risk of bladder infections.

Lastly, regular walks outside with your dog can be beneficial for your dog’s mental and emotional health. Walking exercises the mind as well as the body. Allowing your dog to explore and smell different scents provides mental stimulation. And by giving them something constructive to do, such as walking, you may prevent them from doing something destructive, like chewing on your favorite pair of shoes.

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Feb 4, 2022

Understanding the Cost of Pet Ownership

Posted by Bob under Cat Ownership, Dog Ownership, Pets

Pet ownership is very rewarding for most pet owners. The companionship and unconditional love that we receive from our pets has been shown to improve our moods and reduce loneliness. Unfortunately, these benefits come at a cost. One that, according to a recent survey conducted by financial services company, Synchrony, is often underestimated.

The Cost of Pet Ownership

It should come as no surprise that pet ownership is not free. In order to properly care for our pets, we must provide them with food, shelter, enrichment, and veterinary care. According to research conducted by Synchrony, a financial services company that owns CareCredit and Pets Best Pet Insurance, the estimated lifetime cost of a dog ranges from $20,000 to $55,000 while the estimated lifetime cost of a cat ranges from $15,000 to $45,000. In just the first year, a dog can cost anywhere from $1,300 to $2,800, while first-year cat care is approximately $960 to $2,500.

Many Owners Underestimate the Cost of Pet Ownership

Synchrony conducted a survey of 1,200 pet owners and 100 veterinarians to determine if pet owners understand the cost of pet ownership. Unfortunately, nearly half of the pet owner respondents admitted they had underestimated the lifetime cost of their pet(s). Additionally, approximately half of the pet owners thought they were financially prepared for unexpected pet expenses and realized they were not. Click here to view the report.

Veterinarians often witness this firsthand. While many pet parents are prepared for routine costs such as yearly exams and vaccinations, it is the unexpected veterinary expenses that often take pet owners by surprise. These include unpredictable illnesses and injuries that require prompt and sometimes extensive or ongoing care. This is when a pet savings account or pet insurance can come in handy.

Pet Insurance Covers VetStem Cell Therapy

Speaking of pet insurance, did you know that VetStem Cell Therapy is covered by most of the major pet insurance companies? Several of our pet owner clients have received reduced costs for stem cell therapy and also stem cell banking. Keep in mind however that It’s important to check with your insurance company regarding restrictions when it comes to covering stem cell therapy or any other veterinary services.

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Nov 19, 2021

Exercise With Your Dog on National Take a Hike Day

Posted by Bob under Dog Ownership, Exercise For Pets

This past Wednesday, November 17th, was National Take a Hike Day. This annual event encourages us to get outside to take a hike for some exercise and fresh air. But this doesn’t just apply to people. Dogs can benefit from hiking too!

Exercise Provides Health Benefits

As we discussed in previous blogs, providing regular exercise for our pets comes with an array of health benefits. In dogs, regular, low-impact exercise can be a good way to potentially delay the onset of osteoarthritis or reduce the symptoms of existing osteoarthritis. We frequently talk about walking your dog as a means to maintain or reduce his/her weight as well as to lubricate joints and strengthen muscles. Hiking can be a good way to mix up your regular walks around the neighborhood.

Hiking With Your Dog

While hiking can be fun and beneficial for both dog and owner, it is best to check with your veterinarian before embarking on any major hikes. Experts agree that regular, short-interval exercise is key, as opposed to doing one big activity on the weekends, such as a long or strenuous hike. That being said, there are many hiking trails that are shorter and less strenuous. It’s a good idea to do your research to find a hike suited to your dog’s athletic ability.

Dr. Harman’s border collie, Ben, on the trail.

Advice from an Experienced Hiker

Our own founder and CEO, Dr. Bob Harman, is an avid hiker. His border collie, Ben, frequently accompanies him on hikes and serves as his hearing assistance dog. While Dr. Harman and Ben are very experienced hikers and sometimes spend several days in the mountains, Dr. Harman has advice for hikers of all levels: Choose your trail and map out your hike before you leave the house. This will ensure you know what to expect on your hike so you can prepare yourself and your dog accordingly. Always make sure to pack enough water and a snack or two for both yourself and your canine companion. Keep an eye out for signs of fatigue, dehydration, or discomfort in your dog. If you notice any concerning signs, it may be best to turn back before finishing the hike. You can always try again another day!

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Jun 11, 2021

June 6th-12th is Pet Appreciation Week

Posted by Bob under Cat Ownership, Dog Ownership, Pets

June 6th-12th is Pet Appreciation Week and to get in the spirit, we asked a few of our staff why they appreciate their animals. Read what they had to say below.

Kristi, Director of Commercial Operations: I know that no matter how bad of a day I have had, I can always count on one of my cats to come sit on my lap and make me feel needed and loved. As for my Newfie, I appreciate how great Elphie is with my kids, her loving temperament and gentle demeanor. She is also a big goofball that makes me smile daily.


Veronika, Customer Service Manager: I have always had big dogs and did not expect to fall crazy in love with this little cow-spotted critter. She is a total joy and a source of constant comedy and is the most loving and trusting little thing. According to my son, Darby is the “completion to the family” and he loves that she is convinced she is not a small Frenchie but a giant Rottweiler.


Dr. Carolyn Wrightston, COO: Born about one month apart, these two boys are brothers from another mother. Jasper makes the greatest faces. Koda is a big lover – and totally food driven.


Ashley, Marketing Assistant: These three fuzzy creatures love unconditionally. Willow is such a good guard dog and the cats just sleep and cuddle all day. They are so good with our rowdy toddler, despite all of her poking and prodding and attempts to ‘ride’ them.


Dr. Bob Harman, CEO: Ben is not only my hiking companion, he also serves to alert me to the presence of rattlesnakes when on the trail. He’s a great hiker and even carries all of his own supplies in his pack.


Whitney, Customer Service Representative: Although all four of my cats are great, I am really smitten with Ali’i. Every time I lay eyes on her, I am filled with delight. She is affectionate, playful, and seems to be as fond of me as I am of her. And don’t tell the other three dogs, but Duncan is my favorite canine child- he is naughty as can be, but also very much a Momma’s boy.


Roberta, Account Relationship Manager: Will Roger’s said it best, “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.” That quote pretty much sums up the love and appreciation I have for my dogs. They are the most selfless, loyal, humorous, and unconditionally loving creatures I know. So, to Huggy, Mira and Trace, my four-legged best friends, in celebration of Pet Appreciation Week, I promise, I’ll buy that new kiddie pool and leave the chopped greens out of your dinner tonight.


Dr. Amber Vibert, Safety and Technical Services Veterinarian: I appreciate Rally for the joy she brings to my life and to the lives of those she encounters. Her sweet, smart, intuitive, and playful nature fills my heart with the most pure love, translated from that joy.

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Apr 30, 2021

Celebrate Your Pets During National Pet Week

Posted by Bob under Cat Ownership, Dog Ownership

Next week, May 2nd-8th, is National Pet Week! Founded in 1981 by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Auxiliary to the AVMA, National Pet Week “celebrates the pets that enrich our lives and encourages responsible pet care every day of the year.”

Each day of National Pet Week has a specific theme. See below for a list of themes provided by the AVMA with a link to helpful information for both new and seasoned pet owners alike:   

Daily Themes

Each day of the week focuses on a different topic essential to responsible pet ownership:

You may notice that several of the above themes emphasize responsible pet ownership, which includes routine veterinary care. On this blog, we frequently talk about diseases and ailments which may prompt visits to the vet. But routine care is very important to maintaining your pet’s health. Preventative care, such as regular wellness exams, can lead to the detection and diagnosis of problems that may otherwise go unnoticed until it is too late. If a problem is detected in its early stages, it is more likely to be treated and resolved with less expense, less difficulty and better success.

But routine veterinary care is not the only way to keep your pet happy and healthy! Exercise and stimulation are important too! We have blogged many times about the benefits of walking your dog such as weight management and a reduction of osteoarthritis symptoms. But taking a walk can provide mental stimulation as well. All the new smells, sights, and sounds beyond your dog’s normal environment provide great mental stimulation. A dog who is well stimulated tends to be happier and more relaxed at home and may demonstrate less destructive behaviors. And don’t forget about cats! Though they tend to be lazier than our canine companions, cats benefit from routine exercise and mental stimulation as well. National Pet Week starts on Sunday so don’t forget to celebrate your pets!

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Oct 18, 2019

How Owning Pets May Improve Our Lives

Posted by Bob under Cat Ownership, Dog Ownership

Most pet owners know that having a pet comes with many bonuses.  Pets provide companionship, entertainment, and unconditional love.  But did you know that pets may have a positive effect on our ,mental and physical health as well?

There have been several observational studies that have pointed to the potential health benefits of owning a pet.  A recent review of nearly 70 years of global research concluded that owning a dog may reduce your risk of death.  Notably, pet owners have demonstrated reduced blood pressure, lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and therefore, reduced cardiovascular disease.

It has been observed that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression, loneliness, and anxiety.  While playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, one study found that simply watching cat videos can boost energy and positive emotions while reducing negative feelings.

Dog ownership has also been linked to an increase in exercise for the owner.  Most dog owners take their dogs for walks while some choose to run or hike with their canine companion.  This also gets the owner outside and around other dog owners where you may potentially make new friends.

While most studies have pointed to dogs and/or cats, other pets may bring health benefits as well!  For example, watching a fish in an aquarium may help reduce muscle tension and lower your pulse rate.  Another example would include horse owners who may get outside frequently to care for or ride their horse(s).  This type of structure and routine can help to give you purpose while keeping you balanced and calm.

We agree that pets improve our lives in many ways and most of our employees have at least one pet.  Meet some of our employees’ pets below!

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