Pet store says what?

March 19, 2019

Veterinary managers and team members have heard some crazy stuff when it comes to things pet owners hear come out of the mouths of pet store owners and employees. Take a deep breath and wade in

Shocked dog is shocked by what pet parents are being told sometimes by pet-store employees. (Fabian Faber/ we asked dvm360 readers, “What's the best (or worst) advice a veterinary client told you they heard from a pet store employee?” we were horrified and amused-and also happy that some pet store employees seem to get it right. Here are notable answers from practice managers, veterinary technicians and receptionists. For ideas on educating local pet store team members and building better and more educational relationships with others in your community who serve your clients, you can read more in the coming weeks in our upcoming dvm360 Leadership Challenge: Retail Revolution that will be online and in the May 2019 issues of dvm360, Firstline and Vetted.

Thank you, pet store employees (Seriously!)

“We had an office next to a Petsmart, and a pet owner asked the dog trainer about vaccines because they thought their puppy might have parvo. (The puppy was in the shopping cart at the time.) The trainer walked the pet owner over to our hospital with the puppy in the cart. After we took the puppy in the back (parvo-positive), she asked us to Parvosol the cart before returning it. Sometimes people do everything right.”

“'I'm not familiar with your pet's issues. I would suggest a visit to your veterinarian.”

“'Take your pet to the vet.'”

Food foul-ups

“A pet didn't need a specific veterinary diet to treat a specific medical illness. An over-the-counter would be fine.”

“I heard that a pet store employee made a pet owner cry because they made her feel she was poisoning her pet by not feeding a particular type/brand of diet.”

“A woman was asking about senior diets for her 12-year-old cat. She told us that the local pet food store employee told her, ‘Cats aren't seniors until they're 18 years old.'"

“'Don't feed that Rx diet. It'll kill your pet. Here, feed this raw diet. It'll cure your pet's illness and extend its life.'”

“Grain free or raw diet is best, not diets that are tested and scientifically backed.”

“Rawhides are great for your pet!”


Product switches

“Usually [recommending] over-the-counter products as treatment as opposed to getting the correct diagnosis and medication from a veterinarian.”

“A pet store employee advised a pet owner not to buy any flea/tick prevention because ‘it's all a scam.'”

“The local pet food boutique offers anesthetic-free ‘dentals.'”

“They've directly contradicted the advice of a veterinarian and sold products for treatment based on an employee's advice in a pet store. It was not just unethical, it was extra-label and not approved for the species at all.”

“Our client thought the cat had dirty ears, so she went to a pet store to get ear cleaner. The store clerk told her to put rubbing alcohol in the ears.'”

“To discontinue a prescription liver-support diet in favor of a grain-free diet when the patient's ALT was through the roof and there was a whole host of other medical issues going on, including newly diagnosed heart disease. While I'm sure that the pet owner didn't give the store employee all the dirty details, pet stores should keep in mind that therapeutic diets are often recommended in support of a whole host of other treatments for chronic issues. In this case, the thought of spending less money gave the client false hope, and the patient's condition worsened while eating the OTC food.”

Crazy claims

“Goat milk can help cure cancer.”

“When a dog chews on a real animal bone, the muscle attached to the bone acts like dental floss.”

“Diabetic dogs can be cured with garlic!”

“You can just use olive oil in the ear to kill mites.”

I'm sorry, what?!

“'Why go to a vet clinic when you can get the same thing here for about half the price?'”

“Pet store employees were encouraged by their boss to look up information online rather than being trained about pets or products.”

“Pretty much any advice from mainstream pet stores regarding reptiles is misguided-from which substrate to use to lighting to food.”

“To feed canned pumpkin for every GI disturbance under the sun: diarrhea, constipation, you name it. They recommend it like it's a catch-all. Most of the times they're feeding less than 10% of the required amount to get any appreciable amount of fiber for the pumpkin anyway.  And don't me started on coconut oil … ”

“Pets don't need vaccines.”

 “Heartworm medications in the northeast are a waste of money. (Eeeeek!)”

“Flea and tick product to use on cats that was not safe to be used on cats.”

“Put Neosporin in a dog's eye for an eye infection.”

“Inject a cat with distilled water for dehydration.”

Have you heard your own crazy tale? Share in the comments below.