3 steps for pet nutrition home runs


Help Mr. Jones hit the ball out of the park by following your veterinary practice's recommendations for Smokey's nutrition.

Your team likely talks about good nutrition as an essential part of any pet's preventive care routine during every appointment. If we do our part right, pet owners will take home a supply of the therapeutic diet discussed that day. At this point, we've made it to the first base in ensuring our patients are getting the recommended diet. But how do we make each nutritional recommendation a home run?

First, make this your mantra: "We don't recommend it because we sell it. We sell it because we recommend it."

This phrase is essential to make sure we're following through with any recommendations the doctor made, including therapeutic diets. So how can we go the extra mile to make sure Smokey is eating his new diet—or that Mr. Jones is feeding it?

Get to second base

Use your practice management software to set up a follow up call to Mr. Jones about three days after the first food purchase. Ask if Smokey is welcoming the new food.

You: "Hi Mr. Jones, this is Jen calling from ABC Animal Hospital. I'm calling to see how Smokey is enjoying the new food Dr. Parker recommended when you were both here last. How's the transition coming along?"

At this point offer any tips or tricks you may have regarding "finicky felines" or "picky pooches," or you can congratulate Mr. Jones on doing a great job taking care of Smokey and reassure him he's doing what's best with the diet Dr. Parker recommended. Let Mr. Jones know you will be calling back in about two weeks to check on Smokey and his progress again. Schedule this next follow up call in your software.

Round in on third base

The next time you call, Mr. Jones will most likely need a refill. Tell him you would be happy to make sure you have a bag available before he runs out.

You: "We want to make sure we continue Smokey on the diet Dr. Parker recommended, especially after you did such a great job switching him to it. I will have a bag set aside specifically for Smokey and I will call you when it arrives."

Bring healthy habits home

When Mr. Jones picks up his new bag of food, make sure to congratulate him again. Also be sure to tell him about any manufacturer rebates or coupons—you can ask your representative or check on the company website—and always offer a new measuring cup or can lid. Also tell Mr. Jones that you will call him in about one month to see if it's time to order more. Set up this follow up call in your software. Mr. Jones has scored the first point in making sure Smokey lives a long, healthy and nutritious life.

Erika Ervin, MBA, CVT, is the hospital manager at VCA Twin Rivers Animal Hospital in East Windsor, N.J.

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