Reinforce the idea that the veterinarians and team members at your practice are clients' go-to group for health.
When we went to press with this issue, the top story on dvm360.com was"FDA Expands Recall List, Adds More Pet-Food Products." This time around, the risky ingredients are peanut derivatives that might cause Salmonella infection. To date, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn't received any reports of ill pets. But the news is enough to scare clients, and that's all that matters.
Kerry Hillard Johnson
When fear enters the picture, you must ensure that clients don't overreact. I'm not saying that this recall isn't important or that clients lack knowledge. What I'm saying is that when people are frightened for their loved ones, emotion often wins over logic.
When clients call with concerns, whether about recalled food or the funny snort a dog is making, acknowledge their worries. Then make sure they're working with the truth. Stay on top of the news—dvm360.com is a good place to start. And, most importantly, talk to your clients.
Discussing this recall—or the latest situation—provides a golden opportunity to educate them about the overall importance of pet care. By opening a dialogue, you reinforce the idea that the veterinarians and team members at your practice are the go-to group for pet health. When clients need answers, they should think of you first. (To learn how to become pet owners' No. 1 nutrition source, "Carry food to care for clients".)
I've caught wind of a story in the March issue of Consumer Reports that questions the value of high-cost pet foods. Regardless of what the story says about price, I hope it will suggest that pet owners talk to their veterinary teams about proper nutrition. But by the sound of it, the article won't do that. So it's up to you to spread the word.
Clients need to act as their pets' advocates. They should study food ingredients and labels, as the Consumer Reports article reportedly suggests. But what's critical is that they realize you're their pets' advocates, too. Keeping animals healthy requires a partnership between veterinary teams and pet owners. Seize every chance to make sure your clients know that. They'll feel better, and so will their pets.
Kerry Hillard Johnson, Editor