Why your food trumps pet stores'

Article

Here's your script for talking to clients about the importance of buying therapeutic pet food at your clinic-not a pet store.

Q. How do we explain to clients the importance of buying therapeutic pet food at practices—not pet stores?

Therapeutic diets are formulated for a specific disease or condition, so they're not sold as over-the-counter pet foods, says Dr. Joe Bartges, DACVIM, DACVN, professor of medicine and nutrition at the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine. Hypoallergenic diets are the only possible exception. Novel protein foods could be considered a type of over-the-counter therapuetic diet, Dr. Bartges says. It's debatable differences like this that often confuse clients.

Dr. Joe Bartges

But it's your job to set clients straight. Here's what you say: "Therapeutic diets aren't designed for the average healthy pet. The doctor needs to make sure it's right for your pet's situation. That's why you must purchase the diets through direct veterinary care, such as this practice."

Additional benefits to buying from a clinic: You can better educate clients about food and nutrition in general. For example, you'll follow up to see if the pet suffers a reaction. And many of the brands practices sell offer clients a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.

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