Pet owners are a breed all their own, so when it comes to controversial pet diets, your veterinary practice has likely seen it all: from bottomless table scraps for dogs, to milk saucers for cats—and raw meat diets for both.
Whether you’re dealing with the latest fad pet diet, or a case of dramatic overfeeding, it can be a challenge to help your clients navigate healthy pet nutrition.
We’ve got four simple yet effective tips to help you encourage healthy pet diets, no matter the client’s point of view.
#1: Identify the risks of unhealthy pet diets
Most unhealthy pet diets come from a place of misunderstanding, and often with the best intentions. Unfortunately, ignorance is not bliss—fad diets, like raw diets or home-cooked diets, can pose significant dangers to pet health.
The trick here is to inform clients without scaring them, or judging their efforts. After all, healthy nutrition isn’t about creating “skinny” pets; it’s about treating and preventing illness, injury and poor quality of life.
#2: Advocate “vetted” nutritional guidelines
If you’re going to nix a particular pet feeding habit, it can help to suggest a new set of guidelines to point a client in the right direction. Fad diets come and go, but nutritional guidelines established by trusted animal health experts are built on years of research and study.
It could be as simple as suggesting leafy greens over sugary carrots as a dietary staple for rabbits, or as detailed as a custom meal plan to help a senior corgi lose weight. Whatever the advice, try to book a follow-up to keep tabs on any progress.
Need a home for all your healthy pet diet recommendations? WebDVM websites make it easy to educate clients and promote your practice, leaving you more time to spend on the medicine.
#3: Advise against excessive treat-giving
Even the smallest changes can create a significant impact on pet health—especially when it comes to placing limits on treats. As they say, “everything in moderation!”
For pet owners who think their dog is forever a good boy, or their cat is just purrfect (read: all pet owners), try suggesting instead rewarding furry friends with affection, toys, playtime, and—most importantly—attention.
#4: Encourage healthy alternatives
A healthy diet for pets doesn’t have to mean no food-related treats whatsoever. Whether as a reward for their dog’s hard work after performing a trained behavior, or even just because their budgie really is that cute, do encourage a host of healthy treat alternatives.
You could offer do-it-yourself recipes at your practice, or post how-to videos on your veterinary social media. DIY isn’t for everyone, so consider offering healthy treat alternatives for sale at your practice too—a real win-win for everyone, especially pets!
Bonus tip: Recommend an active lifestyle
Just like us, healthy pets can’t thrive on good nutrition alone—so try to recommend a fun, active lifestyle as often as possible. When combined with healthy eating, exercise makes all the difference in the temperament and physical well-being of any pet, and it’s good for pet owners too!
Eager to encourage your clients to try healthy pet diets? Find out how the LifeLearn ECOsystem can boost your success!