There’s nothing like pet owners who don’t follow instructions—especially when it comes to preventive care. After all, it’s generally much better for everyone involved when a pet’s illness can be stopped before it happens, isn’t it?
Aside from being a big pet peeve, neglecting preventive care can have serious consequences. According to the American Heartworm Society, for example, heartworm disease cases rose 21.7% between 2013 and 2016. When so many common pet illnesses have awareness weeks or months specifically to prevent this, how is this kind of increase possible?
The problem is that because flea and tick awareness happens in May, for example, people assume that’s the only time they need to worry about fleas and ticks.
So how can you encourage pet owners to forget about the “off-season,” and look beyond the typical awareness months? We’ve got you covered with a few tips to help educate and persuade your clients to keep up with preventive care all year long.
Plan some recurring campaigns.
Part of the reason why pet owners only participate in waves of preventive care is because that’s how they’re reminded to do so. As awareness seasons end, so too does preventive care—leaving many pets vulnerable to avoidable illness and injury.
Planning several smaller recurring campaigns through the year can help clients realize preventive care is more than a once-a-year issue.
Take dental care, for example. Brushing your dog or cats teeth may seem silly to some, but regular maintenance can help minimize costly dental procedures in future. It’s as easy as pet toothpaste and dental chews, but this is something not all pet owners will think of.
Planning ahead doesn’t have to be tricky. You know what it takes to stay on top of preventive care—you just need the right tools to stay organized. Using content calendars and schedulers are a great place to start.
One such tool is a WebDVM website, which can be a powerful ally in helping you create and share that educational information with pet owners, who may otherwise remain in the dark about maintaining pet health year-round. It gives you a place to cover a wide variety of preventive care tips, the educational content you need to back it up, and WebDVM Social to schedule and share out your content on social media, all from one place.
How do you choose the most important topics for preventive care?
Many diseases have subtle symptoms that the average pet owner may attribute to aging, anxiety or some other blanket cause. You can use these gaps in knowledge to find the best preventive care recommendations.
Start by finding trends right at your clinic. Is there a surplus of similar appointments, like an increase in torn nails, perhaps? Maybe it’s time to write a blog about nail trimming.
Based on these patterns, you can build new mini-campaigns to address common pain points that could have been avoided with preventive care.
Develop specialized care plans for pets.
Even with the most cohesive preventive care campaigns, it’s impossible to keep track of every illness or injury a pet could be exposed to.
Developing specialized care plans for each pet can be part of the solution. Since not all campaigns will apply to every pet owner, targeted plans can help make sure clients are getting the essential information. Once customized, preventive care becomes more memorable, manageable and efficient.
Let’s say you’re meeting a new patient—a newly adopted kitten. Instead of telling the pet owner every detail about what they’ll need to do, try providing them with a handout with their receipt at the end of the appointment that tells them when they should come back in, and what care the kitten will need next time, such as vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and microchipping.
Looking for trusted content to back up your schedule? Save time using ClientEd Online to share valuable information about medical conditions and medications, so pet owners can read these accurate details at home.
Be open to questions.
If a client has been fortunate enough to avoid any major incidents with their pet—even without preventive care—they may not understand why they need to invest in year-round maintenance. After all, in their minds, things like fleas and ticks are only an issue in May, so why do they need to worry in October? Be ready to answer any of their questions and concerns about the necessity of preventive pet care, in order to avoid any compliance roadblocks.
Things can get busy at your clinic, and it’s easy to overlook the importance of making every client feel heard. Make it easier on everyone by connecting on social media, taking calls at the clinic, or simply answering questions in the exam room. This will help you establish your practice as a go-to resource for pet health.
When it comes to defending pet health, it’s important to remember that your veterinary practice isn’t on its own. Pet owners want to take care of their pets; and by providing them with the resources they need, you can help them see the importance and remember to make preventive care a year-round venture!