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Colors to Please Pets and Pet Parents

Posted on Wed, Mar 18, 2015 @ 03:53 PM

Color sends people messages hundreds of times each day, including the moment they walk up to your facility. Color can make us happy one minute and anxious the next.

“People make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial reactions with either people or products. About 62-90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone,” reported Satyendra Singh of the University of Winnipeg in her research. 


How does color choice influence your customers? You actually have two audiences—the pets and their pet parents. In a perfect world, both would like the color choices.

What dogs see

For years the book on dogs and cats was that they only saw in black and white. Research has now determined that dogs do see some color.

Both humans and dogs have special light catching cells called cones inside their eyes. These cones respond to color. However, dogs only have two types of cones while humans have three. Researchers believe this is why dogs see much like a color-blind person—able to see some color but not the whole spectrum.

Jay Neitz at the University of California, Santa Barbara, tested the color vision of dogs and found that they see a spectrum of green, yellow, blue and gray. An article in Psychology Today by Stanley Coren, Ph.D., F.R.S.C., suggests a dog’s vision spectrum is like the chart below.  


Veterinary Vision, Inc., in San Francisco is a group of veterinary ophthalmologists. The practice’s website shared research on what dogs see. “Behavior tests in dogs suggest that they can distinguish red and blue colors but often confuse green and red,” an article on the website reports. 

So, if pet parents wonder why their dog can’t find the red ball in the green lawn, color might be the issue. A blue ball would be better.

What Resonates with Pet Parents

Singh predicted that the blue would dominate design the first decade of the 21st century with complementary colors gray, taupe, aqua and pale brown providing accents. Fortunately for the companion animal world, these trends fall nicely in line with what animals prefer as well.


An American Express Open Forum article shared current research on what messages color sends about your business. This Shor-Line cat condo shows how you can send several messages with pops of color. The clean white interior shows you value cleanliness. The pop of blue and green are trustworthy and down to earth. The gray anchors the condo with a stable, calming presence.

You don’t have to bathe your business in color to create an emotional connection. In an article in Entrepreneur magazine, Jane Porter explained that subtle uses of color can evoke memories. In dog daycare and boarding facilities, a beach theme is common because pet owners want to think of their pet having a vacation just like they are having. Blues, greens, tans and yellow can trigger visions of water, palm trees, sand and sunshine.

Welcoming Color

Let color be your friend in creating a welcoming atmosphere for people and pets. Even small touches add fun. At Shor-Line, we have added the Blue-Line products with a color accent around our durable stainless steel tables. 

Enjoy using color in your business, and send us some pictures about your people- and pet-friendly facility designs!


Tags: veterinary, Facility Design, Industry Trends, boarding and daycare, color in facility design

Millennials and Optimism: Exciting Kickoff to 2015

Posted on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 @ 02:28 PM

There was electricity in the air at the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) that was palatable despite the cool January temperatures. The economic cloud of the Great Recession has lifted for most in the veterinary field. It felt like a celebration.

Research tells us there is a lot to celebrate. Millennials (18-35) are bringing pets into their lives at rapidly increasing raNew_sales_blog_115tes. In fact, dog ownership by Millennials and GenX is higher than the Baby Boom generation.

All this is great news for companion animals because Millennials are taking the human-animal bond to new heights. They are most likely to consider their pets as children or “furry babies.”

This comes at a time when veterinary medicine can do more than ever to increase the health and longevity of our best friends. It truly is a golden age to be a pet!

Those of us in the animal care industry—veterinary, grooming, boarding, daycare and training—have the challenge of meeting the needs of this new generation of pet owners. And yes, it will be important to heed the call of the Millennials.

This will be the year the Millennials overtake the Baby Boomers as the largest living generation. Tempered by the Great Recession and nurtured by Baby Boomer and Gen X parents, Millennials bring passion to their jobs, caution in their approach and technological savvy.

At Shor-Line, we’ve benefitted from bringing in three new Sales team members—all veterinary technicians with several years of clinical experience. All of them have the energy, expertise and savvy that Millennials bring to seemingly every endeavor.

We continue to listen to you as we innovate and improve our products. Check out our new products in the new Shor-Line catalog

We can’t think of a better time to be in the animal care industry, so call us and see how we can help you build your dream facility. If you are lucky, you might get to talk with Jennifer Kaschke, LVT, Andi McKenzie, RVT, or Sarah Pugh, BS, RVT!


Tags: Animal Care, Facility Design, Shor-Line, Industry Trends

Grooming ergonomics: Being in the right place at the right time

Posted on Thu, May 08, 2014 @ 10:02 AM

Shor-Line Blog: Grooming Ergonomics

Grooming can feel like a dance as you position yourself to best groom each canine customer. Yet being in the right place is the key to avoiding repetitive motion injuries in your wrist, arm and back.

When designing the Shor-Line Elite and Big Top Grooming Tables, the developers determined that a 180-degree pivot on the grooming arm would allow groomers to move around the table.

Notice the curved top and end. As groomers focus on the pet, it is not unusual to bump into the table. The rounded, tapered edges help you avoid bruised hips.

You need to use even the best ergonomically designed hand tools at the correct height. This table keeps your arms and wrists positioned correctly. The right tools are a solid prescription for safety.

Reducing lifting and bending are the other keys to staying healthy. The quiet electric lift operates with a foot pedal from both sides of the table, saving you steps and lifting. Protecting your lower back is critical.

The grooming arm takes the brunt of the impact if a dog new to grooming decides to bolt. Groomers tell us they have struggled with failed grooming arms on other equipment. So, we used our Shor-Line Stainless Steel expertise to manufacture a durable grooming arm that stands up to strong dogs. We think it is the best arm in the business! 

Our grooming arm is so popular that we sell it as a retrofit for competitive grooming tables. Just ask a sales rep if you need to replace an arm on another company's table.

Ergonomics is more important than ever in minimizing overuse grooming injuries. Whatever table you use, let your equipment take the strain off your body so you can spend more time doing the grooming you love.


Tags: Animal Care, Animal Care, Facility Design, Shor-Line, Industry Trends, Grooming

Clearing the Clutter

Posted on Wed, May 29, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

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Nothing spoils a space faster than clutter, especially in the places clients see most—reception areas and exam rooms. Keep clutter under control with these tips from Tracy Axcell:


Hang wall-mountable racks and files to house reading materials, forms, and other paperwork. For cupboards, measure the depth, height, and width of each shelf and purchase stackable containers. Label each container with a list of its contents.



Hanging files keep papers organized and out of sight. Papers used on a daily basis can be kept in an active file at the front of the drawer. Use drawer organizers with dividers or compartments to organize small instruments and supplies. Label the compartments for easy locating.



Unplug cords and straighten them to their full length. Fasten cords together so they form one long rope, and tie them with a store-bought cable organizer or zip ties. Tuck the rope along baseboards or the backs of cabinets.

Tags: Facility Design, Hospital Design, Industry Trends

How Should I Handle Pest Control in a New Clinic?

Posted on Fri, May 24, 2013 @ 02:33 PM

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Pest protection is both an exterior and interior concern. Termites can sabotage a clinic’s outside walls, and pets can bring fleas and ticks inside. Prevent all three from invading your clinic with these patient-safe strategies from James Marshall Jr., AIA, in Prairie Village, Kansas:



  • Treat the ground before building begins. Pesticides that are applied under the foundation are too deep to endanger animals.
  • If possible, keep all structural wood one foot above the soil.
  • Choose wood that has been pressure-treated with pesticides for structural beams and fence posts.
  • Install metal termite shields around in-ground wooden beams.
  • Avoid stucco siding that reaches the ground. The porous material creates termite entry points.



  • Extend floor tiles about five inches up the sides of the walls, using epoxy for the grouting. These materials can withstand frequent cleaning, but fleas and ticks can’t. Less expensive linoleum and sheet-vinyl floors are also an option, but they can crack within a few years of installation, so repair costs often offset the initial savings.
  • Seal case work and plumbing features with silicone. This coating denies fleas and ticks access to their favorite hiding places.


Tags: Animal Care, Facility Design, Hospital Design, Q&A, Industry Trends

Thinking Beyond Aesthetics – A Technical Viewpoint

Posted on Wed, Apr 24, 2013 @ 02:42 PM

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Here is a quick little exercise: Take 30 seconds to reflect on some of the day-to-day tasks that take place around your hospital. Not just the more obvious ones, like surgeries, but some of the more basic tasks that while small are still a critical part of the overall operation of your hospital, such as sterilizing equipment and restocking supplies.

Now think about how these tasks are affected by the design and layout of your space. Is your shelving at an easily accessible height? Are your countertops deep enough?  Is equipment easily accessible, especially in an emergency?

Hopefully, you just opened your eyes to some of the smaller, but vastly important, aspects that go into designing a new hospital. It is easy to get fixated on the bigger aspects of hospital design, like the overall look of the building or how spaces work and flow together. But successful hospital design also comes from designing for these “small things”.

Over the years, we have learned how vastly important equipment coordination is when designing a new facility. It’s an essential component that is often overlooked or left until the end. But the sooner we can coordinate equipment with our clients, the better off we all are in the end. From defining the necessities like lab equipment and animal housing, to determining how equipment will be used and stored in areas from treatment to offices, early equipment decisions can create a more efficient and well thought out hospital.

Let’s take the pack/prep area for example. Every veterinarian has different needs in their pack/prep. Specialty hospitals might require a large floor model autoclave, but a standard veterinary practice may only utilize a countertop model. Either way, there are design considerations.

With a floor autoclave, considerations include the overall size of the unit, required floor clearances around the autoclave, and even the coordination of a floor sink and built-in hot and cold water plumbing for the unit. As one can imagine, these requirements will quickly begin to dictate the overall size of your pack/prep area.

On a smaller scale, a general practice hospital will likely use a countertop autoclave, which might not seem like a big deal. However, most countertop autoclave models are actually deeper than a standard 24-inch counter. So building a deeper cabinet base might be imperative to the design. In addition, the manufacturers of these countertop models typically recommend the use of distilled water. So will you bring in outside bottles of distilled water? Or would you rather have a relatively inexpensive reverse osmosis system built in at your sink in pack/prep? These are all examples of the everyday things that are important to consider during the design and coordination stages of your hospital project.

Due to the large amount of equipment utilized in treatment, this is another important area of your hospital to think through thoroughly. Consider the ultrasound machine and think about its actual size. Where will it be located while in use?  Where will it be stored? The same applies to a crash cart. You want your crash cart to be easily accessible, but out of the way when not needed. You could have an empty alcove to tuck the cart into when not in use, or maybe a blank section of wall off to the side would be sufficient. How about your anesthesia equipment?  Will you be using mobile machines or wall mounted? If they are wall mounted, a specific location on your treatment column will need to be reserved. The list goes on and on…

What can you do to be prepared when it comes time to design your hospital?

  • Decide Old Versus New. Will you be reusing equipment from your existing facility? If so, which pieces? In contrast, which pieces of your current equipment need to be replaced? Do you need to purchase any new equipment that you don’t already have? Are there any pieces of equipment that you plan to purchase in the future as your practice grows, and how can you plan for and accommodate for them in advance?
  • Collect Information. If you are planning to reuse current equipment, start gathering your information ahead of time. Write down the model numbers and/or dimensions of each item. Locate the operation manuals for each piece of equipment; these usually describe any required special conditions and can often be found online.
  • Go Shopping/Browsing in Advance. Make a list of the new equipment you need to purchase and become educated on the products available. In today’s market, medical technology is constantly changing, and therefore, so are the available products. Do your research. Talk to your colleagues about what equipment they use. Visit trade shows; there is no better place for one-stop shopping. You won’t be expected to have all your equipment purchased in advance, but having an idea of which specific products you think you want can go a long way during the early design process.
  • Share. Compile all of the information you have collected into a folder or spreadsheet, or whatever works best for you. Be sure to give this information to your design team as early as possible so everyone is on the same page.

Ultimately, the more upfront equipment planning you can do the better. Having an architect who knows the ins and outs of veterinary equipment and design will also help immensely. The combination of your upfront planning and the architect’s expertise will allow for the ultimate collaboration on your new hospital – a collaboration that will result in a smooth design process and a well thought out hospital that will work for you for many years to come.

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Tags: Facility Design, Hospital Design, Contributing Editors, Animal Arts Editors, Industry Trends

Don't Let Color Scare You

Posted on Tue, Mar 26, 2013 @ 10:53 AM

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Brought to you by Contributing Editor Ashley M. Shoults of Animal Arts.

It happens all the time.  You reach the point in the design of your hospital where it’s time to pick material and paint colors, and the stress and anxiety begins to set in.  How can I pick colors from just these little samples?  Should I choose a bold, vibrant and exciting color palette or stick to more traditional neutral shades just to play it safe?  And no matter what I choose, how will these colors actually look when they are installed?  These are the types of questions many people ask as they design their hospital, and it’s only natural.  Color can be a scary and daunting thing.  But it doesn’t have to be!

Vibrant, punchy colors are the “in” thing these days.  Just look at the past two Pantone Colors of the Year….Tangerine Tango and Emerald Green!

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It might be hard to picture a whole wall painted in one of these very bright colors.  They seem overwhelming, right?  But when used correctly, these vibrant colors can really liven up your hospital space.

For those who don’t mind living on the edge, using lively paint colors as accent walls can be really fun and energizing.  However, be careful not to overdo the accent colors or your space might start to overstimulate you, your staff and your clients.  

One technique to find balance when using bright colors is to let neutral colors ground the space.  For example, design your floors and cabinetry with neutral and sophisticated colors, and then add punch with bright, lively accent walls.

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Hospitals can also look really great when color is used virtually everywhere.  That might sound overpowering, but when done right, it not only enlivens your space, but also warms it up and makes it feel more inviting.  The trick with this approach is choosing colors that are a little less intense and that are within the same color family and general tone.

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If you prefer a more traditional aesthetic, there are ways to bring color into your space without bright accent walls.  Try letting your cabinetry or furniture do the talking.  Even though the current trends are showing bold, vibrant colors as the new thing, many designers are creating rooms with very neutral colors on the hard-built environment (walls, floors, etc.) and adding accent colors through furniture, cabinetry, and other decorative items.  For example, you could pick a brighter color for your built-in cabinetry or add some colorful pendant lights above the reception desk and some artwork to add a fun factor to the space.  Or perhaps pick some vibrant fabrics for your lobby seating to jazz things up.

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Ultimately, when it comes to picking the colors for your new hospital or renovation, the goal is to not let color scare you.  When done right, color can often be a key factor to bringing in a little touch of energy and interest that makes your hospital feel more welcoming.

Tags: Facility Design, Hospital Design, Contributing Editors, Animal Arts Editors, Industry Trends

Offer a Warm Welcome

Posted on Tue, Feb 19, 2013 @ 04:03 PM

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You know that great feeling that spreads through your body when the sun comes out? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could give clients that same feeling when they step into your practice? Sal Longo Jr. and Michael Crosby of Crosby Longo Architecture Studio in New Orleans offer these tips to give clients a warm welcome:



No design strategy can take the place of a friendly face behind the front desk. Make sure you have the right receptionist— someone who will greet people cheerfully, convey warmth, and open the door for clients who need a hand.



A fresh coat of paint is an inexpensive, easy fix for your reception area. Lighter shades make the room seem brighter and more spacious, plus they show dirt, signaling when quick spot cleans are necessary, Longo says.



If you’re designing from scratch, consider cathedral ceilings in your reception area and lots of glass on your facade, say Crosby and Longo. The airy feeling and natural light from windows create a pleasant environment. Even existing facilities can benefit from removing part of a wall to open up the space.

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Cats, on the other hand—along with their owners—feel more secure in smaller, more enclosed spaces away from dogs. If you can, create a separate seating area with lower ceilings for cat owners, Crosby says. Keep the space free of nooks and crannies where feline escapees can hide if they bolt from their carriers.



A hard, durable floor makes the most sense for obvious reasons, but that doesn’t mean you’re limited to industrial vinyl. Longo and Crosby encourage their clients to consider ceramic tile for the reception area. It’s a bit pricier, but it’s warmer and more homey—and still easy to clean. Another idea, especially important in the South, is to add ceiling fans, which stir the air and add nice visual detail overhead.



Plants create a front porch atmosphere, which you can enhance by using durable outdoor furniture for your seating, Longo says. Just remember to choose nontoxic greenery in case some curious pet attempts a nibble. In addition, landscaping around the entrance provides a buffer between parking lot an  d hospital, shades the building in hot southern climates, and offers Buster a chance to take care of business before stepping inside.


Even if you do nothing else, your reception area can get a tremendous boost from new paint, surfaces, and lighting, Longo says. Small details, such as a hook at the checkout desk where clients can tie up their pets while they’re writing checks, also make people feel valued. If you create a homey, peaceful atmosphere in your reception area, your clients will experience that warm sunny feeling all year long.

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Tags: Hospital Design, Industry Trends

Color Trends for 2013

Posted on Tue, Feb 12, 2013 @ 03:51 PM

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Each year Pantone® releases their color trends for the year. This year’s colors are a refreshing bunch and are sure to brighten up your interior! The color of the year is Emerald. Take one of these refreshing colors to brighten up your facility and stay up with the latest in design trends. Some of our favorites are below, but be sure to visit www.pantone.com to learn more about 2013’s colors.

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Tags: Facility Design, Hospital Design, Industry Trends

The New 2013 Catalog is Here

Posted on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 @ 02:53 PM

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Showcasing New Products

With the start of a new year, we are presenting to you some of our newest products. A large feature in the catalog is about the new options available for our scales. These options allow you to view canine scales either on a computer or on a remote display, making it easier than ever for staff to take an animal's weight.

Two new products are also showcased within the catalog. The new Scrub Sink and new Elite Grooming Tub have both been designed with radiused corners for easy cleaning. Learn more about these products as well as our other products in the new catalog.


Also found inside the catalog:

  • our core products
  • industry news & trends
  • our new design tools
  • product galleries


Tags: Facility Design, Hospital Design, Shor-Line Happenings, New Products, Industry Trends