They say, “Everything you need to know, you learn in kindergarten,” but when it comes to pet care, there’s always more knowledge to acquire. That’s what makes client education so challenging—where does your veterinary practice even start?
Neuroscience may have the answer. University of Oxford research shows that young people learn more easily than adults, due to different processes in cerebral nerve cell activity. As such, youth is prime time for teaching the importance of preventive care and pet welfare. Plus, the benefit of boosting compliance long-term is nothing to sneeze at.
To help tomorrow’s pet owners get an early start on pet care education, here are some practical youth outreach ideas to implement at your clinic:
Offer classroom visits
Let’s start by teaching the ABCs of client education—right in the classroom. Make connections with local schools to establish speaking sessions through which members of your veterinary team teach kids about animal welfare, proper pet care, and of course, safety.
Remember to have some fun! Keep your lessons engaging with interactive learning strategies like role-playing, games, and maybe even live demonstrations with a safe, lovable pup that’s suitable for groups visits.
Organize high school pet therapy initiatives
High school is tough, especially around exam time. According to this clinical study, “Teenagers are actually more susceptible to stress,” than adults, so students need all the help they can get to cope with the pressure.
Pet therapy is just what the doctor ordered. After all, what’s more calming than the purr of a friendly cat? Consider visiting a local high school with suitable cats and dogs in tow, to spread the joy of pets. Inviting students to interact with animals in this capacity is a fun and subtle way to teach proper pet handling and care.
As a bonus, you could even reach out to community shelters and combine efforts to help socialize homeless pets for adoption.
Host a family-friendly open house
Client education isn’t just for the school year, so hosting a family-friendly open house at your practice is perfect for encouraging preventive care year round. Depending on your resources, you can charge a nominal fee, or accept optional donations for a local charity.
The idea is to invite children to your clinic for fun tours, games, and other pet-related activities through which they can learn about responsible pet ownership.
Welcome youth volunteers at your clinic
For those who already know a great deal about pet care, volunteering at a veterinary practice ensures a path for continuing education. Most high school students are required to meet a set amount of volunteer hours and would benefit from the hands-on experience they’d learn with your team. Not to mention, having an extra set of hands to help around the clinic would be nice too!
Youth outreach initiatives like these aren’t just a great way to get a head start on client education, they also give your practice the opportunity to get involved in your community. So here’s to making a positive difference in the lives of local families—and ultimately, their pets.
Looking for an easy way to spread the word about outreach programs at your veterinary practice? WebDVM Social can help you engage pet owners of all ages—click here to learn more.
ClientEd, WebDVM, Pet Health