How to handle lost pet calls


Luckys on the lamb. Fluffys gone on walkabout. Sophies strayed. And youre on the clients speed dial. Heres how to respond when clients with lost pets call your veterinary practice.

Wouldn't it be great if all the wandering pooches and lost kitties miraculously showed up at your veterinary hospital's front door a millisecond before the pet owner made a frantic call to you? Unfortunately, it's never that simple. So here's help.

First, remind your team that clients who call about their lost pets are a great opportunity. It shows that clients trust you and connect your practice with their pets' wellbeing. Second, this is a great opportunity to strengthen that bond. If you can do or say anything to help the pet find its way back home, you'll be forever connected with that happy reunion in the pet owner's mind.

To make the most of the “lost pet” form (above, right), Dr. Jeremy Keen, an associate at the two-practice group of Jackson Animal Clinic and North Madison Animal Hospital in Jackson, Tennessee, suggests posting the handout near clinic phones as well as on your bulletin board. This way when clients call, your team can use the checklist as a quick guide to give pet owners constructive ideas to bring Fluffy and Baxter home again.

Dr. Keen also suggests sharing the form with local emergency clinics, who may also receive a high volume of these calls, as well as sharing with your entire team so everyone knows how to respond when pet owners reach out.

“We use social media for many articles, handouts and so on that pertain to how to avoid lost pets,” Dr. Keen says. “We really push microchips and we discuss how many success stories have come about through the use of them.”

Then remind pet owners of the dangers of having pets outside, especially during holidays such as 4th of July and New Year's Eve, when fireworks are common, or Halloween, a time that can be a peril for animals if they make it outdoors.

“We have a bulletin board in each clinic for clients to post ‘missing' signs, and we also try to place all of these on our Facebook page and website,” Dr. Keen says.

Get a copy of this handout here.

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